Planting Seeds in Faith

Planting Seeds in Faith

by: Katie Davidson

 

“If I could just buy her the right Bible study, she would find Christ.”

“If he could just find the right mentor, his faith would finally grow deeper.”

“I haven’t prayed for her in a while. Somehow her lack of faith must be my fault.”


Have you ever had thoughts like these? In our desire to see our friends, loved ones, and even spouses saved, we can attempt to orchestrate their salvation. But then the pressure builds. We feel that if we do not say the right words, study the right book of the Bible, or get our friends to the right event, they may never know Christ. With good intentions, we place the burden of salvation on our own shoulders—believing we are the make-or-break factor in our friends’ faith. 

 

Yes, it is true that God uses our efforts to bring others to Himself. Teens are saved at a summer camp after being invited by a friend. Coworkers hear the gospel for the first time on a lunch break, where a faith-filled friend describes Jesus’s nearness to them in the midst of suffering. By God’s grace, the Lord does use our efforts—He allows us to participate in His plan to redeem the world! But no matter our efforts, we cannot turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh in our own strength. It is God alone who saves. 

We participate in God’s plan to redeem the world | TDGC


So how do we faithfully live in the tension of doing all that we can to bring others to Christ, while trusting in His time and provision for their salvation? Here are three truths to remember when praying for and introducing the gospel to friends and family:

 

We Plant—God Grows

 

In first Corinthians 3, Paul addresses division within the Corinthian church—some preferred Paul as a teacher, others preferred Apollos. As he encourages them toward unity, he shares this important truth in verse 6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” After Paul’s eighteen month stay in Corinth, God sent Apollos to Corinth to build upon Paul’s teaching. But neither Paul or Apollos are responsible for the faith of the Corinthians—God is. He alone gives growth. 

 

Only God Opens Hearts

 

Another way to understand God’s role in salvation is this: only God opens hearts. In Acts 16, Paul, Timothy, and Luke arrive in Philippi to share the gospel. On the Sabbath, they go to a nearby river to find a quiet place to pray. There, they meet a group of women whom they tell about Jesus. Scripture records that a woman named Lydia heard and “the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying” (Acts 16:14). Paul was faithful to share the gospel wherever he went, but it was the Lord who opened Lydia’s heart. 

 

Pray Constantly


Scripture is clear about the importance of prayer in our lives. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Ephesians 6:18 reads, “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Even more, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray constantly.” As we seek to lead our friends and family to Christ, knees bent in prayer is our most active stance—it is the best way we can love our neighbors. Prayer is another way God allows us to participate in His plan of redemption. God can sovereignly use our prayers to grow the faith of those we love. 

Knees bent in prayer is our most active stance | TDGC

 

We balance the tension between working heartily unto the Lord for our friend’s salvation by planting all the seeds we can—inviting friends to church, encouraging them in love, listening, and praying—while trusting in the Lord’s ability to grow their faith in His good timing. We can rest trusting that God’s plan will maximize His glory and our good. 

 

My friend Dave recounted a memory for me last weekend. In college, Dave took a leap of faith and shared the gospel with his roommate—who stared blankly back at him. He invited him to church over and over again. And each time, Dave was met with an excuse. Eventually, out of discouragement, he gave up. Over twenty years later, Dave received a letter in the mail unexpectedly. His former roommate wrote a letter of thanksgiving. He is now a pastor, and frequently looks back on their college days as the origin of his faith. He never told Dave, but each time he was invited caused him to consider Christ just a bit more. After college, he visited a church and eventually got saved.

 

We plant the seeds. God causes growth. 

 

We plant the seeds, God causes growth | TDGC

We may not see the fruit of our labor in our timing or on this side of heaven, but we can continue our efforts in both faith and rest, knowing that our efforts, when working unto the Lord, are never in vain.

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

Mentioned Products

Sharing Our Faith | Evangelism Resource

Better Together | Discipleship Guide

The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.