By Nicole George
My New Year’s resolution is to do something crazy every single week of 2017. I’ve gotten my first two done so far: purge my closet and delete Netflix from my computer. Yikes. It’s already been a whirlwind for this millennial.
I haven’t even come up with all 52 crazy things for my year yet, but I’m super excited for my list. And also kind of scared.
There are two friends of mine on my “52 weeks of crazy” list that work at the same company as me. They’re on my list because I really desire to share the Gospel with them and given their situations, that feels a little bit crazy.
But even as I think ahead and try to plan when I will share the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection with these two friends, I have been humbled to realize that I have very little to do with it. For me, this is both painful and joyous.
It’s painful for multiple reasons. To think that only the Holy Spirit can open someone’s eyes to the truth starkly points out my inadequacy to make someone see the Lord for who he is. As Relient K so poignantly sang in the early 2000s, “I know that pride and summertime come before fall.” So it hurts a little to fall whenever I start to think I have the ability to change someone's mind.
It’s also painful because a close friend and I have been wrestling with whether or not God chooses individuals to become Christians. Where is our will and our choice in the matter? It’s hard to read passages like Isaiah 44:18-20 and see that “They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.”
The joyous part of realizing I have very little to do with it comes from the pressure being removed from me. I can walk in the freedom of obeying God not out of pressure that someone’s salvation is on me, but instead, I can share the Gospel joyously with them in hopes that God will show up to do for them exactly what he has done for me!
Realizing my inability and turning to God’s strength and ability instead glorifies him and puts him exactly where he should be: my savior, ruler and the one who’s in control. This is what leads me to pray! I press on praying daily for these two friends because I truly believe in God’s power to change their hearts through his Holy Spirit! It’s what I cannot do on my own.
I love how passionate Janice Showalter is about praying. It’s a joy to commune with God and invite the Holy Spirit into our daily moments with coworkers, especially since he can do what no one else can do in their hearts!
In 2 Corinthians 3:14-18, we see the promise of who can unharden the mind and the heart, of who can unveil our faces! “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18, ESV)
Who is the active one here unveiling the mind when we turn to him? The Holy Spirit. He is the one who brings freedom and transforms us from one degree of glory to another.
R.A. Torrey writes in The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit that “It is our part to hold up Jesus Christ, and then look to the Holy Spirit to illumine His face or to take the truth about Him and make it clear to the hearts of our hearers and He will do it and men will see and believe.”
The Holy Spirit can do as he pleases and certainly acts outside of mankind. But the Father withholds no good thing from his children, so I press on praying that the Holy Spirit would do as Jesus has promised in John 16 and convict people of the sin of unbelief! (John 16:8-9) When the Holy Spirit shows up, he is the one who makes the truth of Jesus clear to people and convicts them of truth. I cannot convince my friends at work of their sin and of Jesus’s perfection, death and resurrection. That is literally impossible. But I know someone who can and who knows them and who desires to care for them perfectly. So that is why I pray and I pray persistently.