Without the work of the Spirit, no argument—no matter how persuasive—will be effective. But neither will any act of love, or any simple presentation of the Gospel. Add the Spirit, though, and the equation changes dramatically.
Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works. But with God’s work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the Gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince.
God is happy to use each of these methods. Understanding this truth makes our job as ambassadors much easier. We can be confident that every time we engage, we have an ally. Our job is to communicate the Gospel as clearly, graciously, and persuasively as possible. God’s job is to take it from there. We may plant the seeds or water the saplings, but God causes whatever increase comes from our efforts.
We are not in this alone. Yes, each of us has an important role to play, but all the pressure is on the Lord. Sharing the Gospel is our task, but it’s God’s problem.
I like to call this principle “100% God and 100% man.” I am wholly responsible for my side of the ledger, and God is entirely responsible for His. I focus on being faithful, but I trust God to be effective. Some will respond and some will not. The results are His concern, not mine. This lifts a tremendous burden from my shoulders.