Exodus 8:19 (ESV)
Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
What is your evangelistic methodology? Do you believe that, if your argument is convincing enough, people will come to faith? It won’t happen, not unless God has already changed the heart.
Take as an example the actions of Pharaoh above. He has already seen the clear power of God at work in Egypt. Here, his own best magicians are looking at him and telling him that the events they are witnessing are the “finger of God.” Men whose lives had been devoted to false gods in the land have admitted to the king that the real God is behind what is happening. But, because his heart was hard, Pharaoh does not believe.
Yes, we are called by God to be ready to answer anyone who would have questions for us about the hope in us (1 Peter 3:15). We are to speak graciously and be ready to answer the world around us (Colossians 4:5-6). But we are crazy if we think that our answers are the things that will bring people into the kingdom. Our answers matter, do not get me wrong, but our answers are only tools that God may choose to pick up or lay aside as he chooses to make alive a dead heart or not.
What should we learn then? God is in control. His power is sovereign. He is the only one who can break through a dead, hard heart. And so we give him all the glory at anyone’s salvation. We certainly learn to defend the faith and clearly present the gospel. We pray with all our hearts. Yet, we know that, in the end, God is the ultimate decision-maker.