So whose job is it to convict? The Holy Spirit, and I can promise you from personal experience that he is extremely effective. (See John 16:8.)
Our role is to present truth and grace, in love, and trust the Holy Spirit to prick through the hardness of the human heart to bring people face to face with their own issues.
2. You’ll never convince people of the truth.
I believe we should be well-studied and prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us a reason concerning the hope inside us. (See 1 Peter 3:15.)
We should seek to be both winsome and persuasive while avoiding the temptation to become argumentative. But at the end of the day, I can’t ultimately convince someone to believe the good news about Jesus on my own.
It’s a work of the Holy Spirit. And again, he is trustworthy to do his word when we present the gospel.
I’ve sometimes been baffled by the hardness and stubbornness of the will of some non-believers, and equally as baffled when they suddenly bow their wills before the Father and place their faith in Christ.
I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to be a gospel salesman. When the fruit is ripe, you don’t have to yank it.
3. You’ll never convert people into disciples of Jesus.
As a pastor, I thrive on the stories of life change that emerge from our growing congregation. I love knowing that people are coming to faith and coming to life through our ministry.
I can point to examples of individuals who walked into our fellowship for the first time, lost and broken with their lives in shambles. And I’ve seen marriages healed and families put back together and addicts on the road to recovery.
But I don’t make it happen. I can’t possibly regenerate dead things into living things. I can’t make anyone a new creature. And neither can you.
Guess who can?
When the Holy Spirit applies the word to the human heart, he can convict of sin, convince of the truth and then convert a person from lost to saved, from dead to living. (See Titus 3:5.)
And here’s the beauty of all of this…the pressure is off!
You and I don’t have to make things happen. We should certainly work hard to become faithful leaders and shepherds, but the enormously impossible task of generating real spiritual change is left in the hands of the very capable Holy Spirit, for whom anything is possible.
Part of our work is creating space for the Holy Spirit to have his way, for Jesus to have the spotlight, and for the washing of the water of the word to take place before our very eyes.
This article originally appeared here.