I had to learn this the hard way when I first got saved. When I first accepted the Lord in my life, I became so zealous for the things of God, that I was trying to lead everyone that I came in contact with to salvation, so that they could experience the love, joy, peace, forgiveness and overall goodness of the Lord just as I was experiencing for myself. However, I oftentimes found myself getting upset and confused when I would minister the gospel to the unsaved and pray for their salvation, but didn’t see any immediate changes, or fruit of repentance in their lives. I was wondering why was it that my ministering seemed to be ineffective. But then God lead me to 1 Corinthians 3:4-7:
“4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I am a follower of Apollos,” have you forgotten that you are merely human? 5 Who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only servants owned by God. He gave us gifts to preach His Word. And because of that, you put your trust in Christ. 6 I planted the seed in your heart. Apollos watered it, but it was God who kept it growing. 7 This shows that the one who plants or the one who waters is not the important one. God is the important One. He gives the increase. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters are equal and both work with the same purpose. Each one will receive his own reward for his toil.”
There’s an appointed time and season for everyone to come to know the Lord, just as there was an appointed time for me! I didn’t fully understand the gospel and get saved the first time someone told me about Jesus, so why should I expect someone else to get saved the first time I mention Jesus to them? Accepting Christ is a personal decision that a person must make on their own after they are enlightened to the truth by the Holy Spirit. Their conversion cannot be forced upon them, and their salvation is not solidified just by them repeating a prayer after you. They must be willing to repent from their sins, confess with their mouth and believe in their own hearts the gospel of Jesus Christ. And even when they do genuinely accept Christ and become born again, that doesn’t mean they are going to be perfect right away. Sanctification is a process, and every tree bears fruit differently than the other. So we cannot judge a tree before it’s time, just because it isn’t bearing fruit as fast as we are, or as much as we are.
I must remember that I am simply a messenger, who shares the word, but Jesus is the Word, aka the message Himself, and he is the one who will save that person’s soul by grace through faith! And no one can come to the Son unless God the Father via the Holy Spirit draws them!