No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44 NIV)
Read that verse carefully. In it we see the operation of God in drawing men to Christ. This is important to realize because without the supernatural element of the Holy Spirit in the salvation process, men cannot be saved.
There is kind of a “fast food” mentality in Christianity today in which people believe (or are led to believe) that they can simply “sign up” for salvation. It’s been reduced down to a formula, i.e., raise your hand, say this prayer, sign a card and poof! – you’re in the club! Those acts, by themselves, do not bring salvation. In fact, you can jump through all the hoops that churches compel men to, or do any tribal dance that religion expects, and it does not bring salvation unless the Holy Spirit is actually drawing men to Christ.
The Parable of the Sower (Matt.13:3-23) illustrates this truth. A farmer planted seed (the Word) on four different types of soil, and only one patch of ground was fertile and became fruitful. In this parable Jesus explained that some people have HARD hearts, SHALLOW hearts, DISTRACTED hearts, and RECEPTIVE hearts. Some people are open to the gospel, and others are closed. Salvation formulas (propagated by churches) will NOT help the closed heart.
Spiritual receptivity comes and goes in people’s lives like an ocean tide. People are more open to spiritual truths at certain times than at other times. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS at work in the earth in drawing all men to Christ (John 12:32), but the individual is not always open to the dealings of God.
The most receptive people are those who are in TRANSISTION (major change like a new baby, new marriage, new home, new school) and are needing stability in their lives. Another group of people who are spiritually receptive are those under TENSION (such as emotional pain, divorce, death of the loved one, unemployment, financial problems, family trouble, loneliness, resentment, guilt, and other stresses) and are looking for something greater than themselves to ease the pain and fill the void they feel. Some people simply have an AWAKENING and hunger for spiritual truths.
A great benefit of focusing on receptive people is that you don’t have to pressure them to receive Christ. IF THE FRUIT IF RIPE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO YANK IT!
I have planted, Appolos water; but God gave the increase (I Corinthians 3:6)