PREPARING THE GROUND – Ray E Horton
“I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Paul understood that we all have a role to play in reaching the lost, but it is God who does the saving. However, there are some additional things we can do. As we read in the Parable of the Sower, there are hearts that are closed to the Gospel, and others get ripped off easily, but the Word planted in good soil bears much fruit (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-24).
Encouraging good soil
Our pre-evangelistic mission is to love and pray for the lost to help prepare the soil of their hearts
So, how do we encourage that good soil? I see that as our pre-evangelistic mission of loving and praying for the lost. Pray behind the scenes, and the love and acceptance of people as they are, opens hearts.
That’s why an important part of our ministry of reconciliation begins in the prayer closet and the secret place of our own hearts. That’s before we ever get to the streets or our places of influence. We seek to reconcile people to their God, whom they do not know.
Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
They need to know we care and are not just doing our Christian duty
If we are to be effective, before we ever share the Word in one-on-one situations, we need to know that they will receive from us. We must be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit to know how to act and what to say in each instance.
They need to know we care and are not just doing our Christian duty. Let the Lord’s love shine through you and let them see His light within you. As their heart softens toward you and they don’t feel threatened or defensive, the walls will usually come down. Then you can plant some scriptural truth and/or water what may have been planted before. Remember, you aren’t doing the saving, “it is the Lord who brings the increase.”
Faith works by love
We are told in 1 Timothy 2:1 first of all to pray for all men (and women), and not only those in authority. Let us do that. And remember, faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). Let us love our neighbor in the way they specifically need to be loved, as revealed by the Holy Spirit. I see that is the fertilizer that prepares and softens the ground of their hearts to receive Jesus.