Tozer writes that you cannot help a chick get out of its egg. It will never develop properly unless it breaks the shell with its own beak and struggles its way through the ‘birthing’ process. It is the same with a butterfly. That struggle develops its wings and body for the life it will have.
Helping these creatures with their birth can be compared to an error made by Christians whose efforts to lead someone to Christ are untimely and unhelpful. Whether the ‘convert’ is a child eager to please or an adult who wants to be right with God, leading them through the sinner’s prayer does not necessarily mean that ‘convert’ is actually converted.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12–13)
For those who are genuinely reborn into God’s family, receiving Jesus and believing on His name go together. God gives His people a role in the process, a small role. We are told to ‘make disciples’ wherever we are. This is done by sharing the good news of the Gospel, baptizing those who believe and receive it, and teaching them whatever God has taught us.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20)
However, I cannot make anyone believe in Jesus. For a long time, I thought that if I told them all about Him and fed them some Bible verses they would, but that is not how it works. I read the Bible for seventeen years and it swished in one ear and out the other. I don’t remember anyone telling me the Gospel, although I realized later that they did. I just didn’t get it. I was not ready to hear it — and the Holy Spirit was not speaking to me.
Tozer gives a name to those who push for a ‘commitment’ too soon. He calls them “midwives in the henhouse” because their efforts are like trying to help a chick out of the egg. That chick might be joyful in what they think happened, but as he said, they are weak and walk with a stagger. They do not develop and their lives give no evidence of being reborn.
This produces a serious problem: that sort of ‘convert’ might assume that salvation has occurred and start to live with a false assurance. They think that because they have “prayed the prayer” or “accepted Christ” that they have eternal life, when God has not done anything in their hearts.
Tozer says that when the Holy Spirit brings a sinner to the new birth, “they bounce out into the world healthy and howling. Their sins are forgiven; their burdens have been lifted!” This is not always true (Paul was blinded for a time and not exactly bouncing), but when Christ comes in, sin should start falling out. Those whose lives are made new will begin to hate sin, love others, desire time with God, tell others they are followers of Jesus, and produce spiritual fruit that only comes from the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, I know people who think they are Christians. They are nice people and mean well, but they have not developed. Like the chick who is helped out of its shell, they are weak when it comes to resisting sin, and constantly stumbling instead of standing strong in faith. Some of this can be expected in a new babe in Christ, yet not for years and even decades. Without wasting time, You change lives. For me, grant me discernment and wisdom in my relationships with those who live with false assurance. Give me opportunities to share with those who base their salvation on what they did years ago instead of on You and what You have done and are still doing for them. Most of all, send Your Spirit to speak into their hearts that they hear and respond in genuine faith.