(Romans 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Faith comes once the gospel is heard. In Romans 10:14 Paul first asks three questions, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” The first two questions have a hidden assumption delivered in the last question: there must be someone to deliver the message. Without a messenger, no one will hear. Without hearing, there is no salvation.
Then the question I have to ask myself, and constantly do, is why would someone listen to me? Again – What reason is there that someone would pay attention to anything I would have to say about sin, salvation and eternal life? The root of it all really boils down to this – does my life match the message I am trying to deliver? I think all too often I am the one standing in the way of the message. Christians talk a lot about how hard it is to witness to people today. We live in a post-modern, post-Christian culture where beliefs are portrayed as relativistic without any absolutes. But what evidence is my life to the contrary? Am I living a life that demonstrates the power of an absolute Christ? Do I have a testimony that the gospel is powerful unto salvation and that salvation is translated into a living example of its source?
People listen to people when a hearing is earned. Credibility stands or falls on the life I live outwardly. I may have the utmost desire to live for Christ inwardly, but unless that desire becomes external reality, my words don’t carry any weight. At best, I become known as “that Christian.” At worst, I become known as “that hypocrite.” So, one goal in an intimate, daily relationship with Christ is to see my life conformed to His life – so it matches the good news I so desperately want to give to those around me. This is what it takes to earn a hearing.
Renewed Thought – The life I live today may be the last open door for someone around me to hear the gospel.