“And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.”
Paul had a burning desire for the Jews to be saved. I believe that he understood how zealous these people were towards their false religion because he remembered how he was duped by works salvation before he got saved. Because of his burning desire to reach these people, he made a foolish vow to shave his head so that he could go to the feast that these people were going to in hopes that they would give him a listening of the Gospel.
However, a prophet took Paul’s girdle and prophesied that Paul would be taken to prison if he continued to go to the feast. This prophet was trying to warn Paul not to go to the feast. When the people in that assembly heard that message, they tried to convince Paul, but he would not listen. The wisest words mentioned about these people is found in the verse above when it says, “And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” In other words, they were saying that they would let the Holy Spirit do His job, and they would stay out of it. These people realized that the Holy Spirit could do a better job on Paul’s heart than they could.
Every believer should learn from the response of these people how that the Holy Spirit can do a better job on the heart of someone doing wrong much better than they can. You are not the Holy Spirit, and it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict people, not you. Yes, our job is to preach and teach God’s Word, but after we have done our job, we must let the Holy Spirit do His work in the hearts of people.
My friend, the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to notify you about what work He is doing in the heart of a person doing wrong. Just because you see nothing changing doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t convicting someone of sin. There are many times that people living in sin are under great conviction about what they are doing, but they are not going to tell everyone how miserable they are on the inside.
Moreover, don’t change doing right just to try to get the one who is doing wrong to change. Many people have changed and backslid themselves just to get the backslidden one to come back. Let me ask you, how is backsliding going to help anyone to come back? How is changing your stance on what is right and wrong going to help a backslidden person to come back to God? If anything, changing what you believe or backsliding yourself only compounds the problem. Compromising to try to bring someone back to God will not help anyone come back to God.
Furthermore, you must stop preaching at the one doing the wrong. I know you have a broken heart for the one who is in sin, but trying to be the Holy Spirit by continuously preaching at them every time you see them will only drive that person away. Don’t let your burden for that person to come back to God cause you to try to do the work of the Holy Spirit.
What are you to do when you face a situation like this? You are to let them know what God’s Word says and leave it there. Then, you are to commit their situation to God in prayer and trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in the heart of the one about whom you are burdened. Remember that the Holy Spirit will always do a better job than you can do on the heart of the backslidden and lost.