Good questions, Hana!
What does it really mean, "we can't believe in our own power"?
Jesus says, in John 6:44: "44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him
. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6: 64-65: " 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would [a]betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father
Matthew 11:27: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father
, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him
John 15:5: "5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing
Matthew 16:15–18: "He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven
It is God who begins His work of bringing the WILLING / not PERMANENTLY resistant person to faith - Philippians 1:6: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus
Philippians 2: "12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure
Hana: God guiding everyone with open and willing heart and mind - well, what is the difference between a person with and without open mind?
The difference is that, as God knows all future things, He knows what
He does, and when
, will EVENTUALLY effectively draw a person He also foreknows will not be PERMANENTLY resistant to Him - and so it is He that must open a person's eyes and mind to Himself. HOWEVER, He also foreknows that some people, no matter what He desires or does for them will ever change their mind to not be determined to permanently resist Him. His grace is effective upon the person who will eventually have a willing heart and mind per what He shows them. But there are many who, no matter what God shows and reveals to them, they will NEVER have faith or want God. Of course, having FAITH in Christ is different from merely having an intellectual belief He exists (see James 2:19).
There are different levels and things of understanding God must reveal to different individuals - in other words, the needs of each person is unique, as to what they need to come to faith. Remember "Doubting Thomas - he said he wouldn't believe Jesus was resurrected, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails." Thomas needed radical physical proof. Others don't - as Jesus noted the contrast between those needing radical proof like Thomas received, and those that don't require anywhere near that level of proof: "29 Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed
Another needing radical grace and proof: Jesus told the man with the ill son - John 4: "48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
And yet, Jesus notes that there is a such person for whom NO amount of miracles or insights will change their hard hearts toward the Lord. As in the parable He tells of the rich man and Lazarus, as the rich man mistakenly believes that ONLY a radical miracle or actual proof would convince his living relatives to have faith in God, so as to avoid his same faith: Luke 16:31: "He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead
.’” This tells us that some people, no matter how much information or proof they have about God, it will never be enough - because EVIDENCE ISN'T THEIR REAL PROBLEM! Their REAL problem is that they want to remain their own little gods, and so they deny and refuse the true God. Note the double meaning of "if someone should rise from the dead" - the immediate context is related to the parable - of the rich man asking that Lazarus be sent to "warn" his "five brothers." But also, when Jesus was resurrected, with so many eyewitnesses over 40 days - people still did not believe, thought "someone / Jesus" rose "from the dead."
It's not GOD'S fault some don't believe - as He has said He wants ALL men to come to repentance (note He DIED to save the world He did not come to condemn (John 3) and that He came to fulfill all of the words of the prophets - see Matthew 5:17-20:
1 Timothy 2:4 states that God "desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that ALL should reach repentance
So, why does Paul say people, even those without the Gospel, are without excuse before God for embracing Him BACK?
Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by THEIR unrighteousness suppress the truth
. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them
. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, EVER SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
,7 in the things that have been made. So they are WITHOUT EXCUSE
So, Paul tell us, ever since the world began
, God has made all people aware of Himself, but that in their desire to rebel, reject and disobey Him, "THEY" in "THEIR unrighteousness" have "suppressed the truth." So, those permanently
unwilling to believe have lied to themselves so long that they are no longer aware of God's existence or they simply deny or avoid Him. And thus, THEY have willfully blinded THEMSELVES!
As one simply cannot have what is necessary to faith - if they refuse what God has ALREADY and continues to show them about Himself and His existence that further
leads to what they need to understand and believe. As it is God that must lead them to it, but He won't force their upon them their desire to be led (thus, such determined / permanently resistant people), as God says in Scripture, "forever resist the Holy Spirit."
Hana: Because there were also many converts, first close minded about God, then something hard happened in their life, then they were open-minded and then believed. So, what is the difference between a person with closed mind without difficult situation and God's revelation in his life and a person with closed mind but then being revealed God by some hard situation?
The difference is in what they choose to believe or not believe, in response to
what God shows them - and that He wants to FURTHER show them (to see Christ / believe and have faith in Him), but per whatever their own desires are - some will never change their minds, ONLY because THEY don't want to!
Note that God shows each person enough about Himself to know of His existence (Romans 1), and for many, MUCH more - as vast billions also have access to the Gospel. But NO one will fail to be saved because God didn't provide them enough information
- He gives EVERYONE enough to know more, but most refuse what He's already
shown them - meaning, they reject even the truths about Himself He's already revealed to them. Lastly, many even die unsaved WITHOUT knowing the Gospel - one doesn't need to know about Jesus and the Gospel to reject God (as did many across the Old Testament - as many even who rejected Him sat at HIs feet Jesus did incredible miracles!).
Acts 7:51 gives the reason for unbelief and lack of faith: "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth
. Must YOU forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!
Notice, God's Spirit is reaching out to them, but these unsaved people resist Him!
Matthew 3:27 - note God is so willing, but people resist: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!"
Hana: And How God really woos someone without violating his free will?
As per Romans 1 and many other places, God gives each person whatever THEY personally need to reach back
to Him in faith - but He will NOT force Himself upon anyone - as forced love can never be true love from the one so forced.
Note, God told Adam: "You are free" (Genesis 2:16). But notice, in the Garden, Adam and Eve had a choice which they could and did freely exercise, as THEY chose to sin and rebel against God's command. God would not expect obedience to His word if we were not free and CAPABLE of choosing to obey it. Note that our sin is OUR sin, and that it's freely chosen. Humans were created in God's Image - and likewise, were created as creatures of free will. And if we could not choose to sin - we would not be free to make decisions, AND thus our sin would not be our own - as the only other alternative is that it would instead be God-caused, which we know is not the case (see James 1:13)! Across Scripture, God is angry at unbelievers who fail to repent and obey Him / they refuse to desire to have faith. So, why is God angry? Because while those permanently resistant to God COULD believe and have faith - and He certainly wants them to - He even commands it (that they turn to Him) - they refuse Him.
Summation: A) We cannot believe without Christ enabling it; B) God wants ALL to believe and have faith in Christ; C) God has ALWAYS known who would eventually listen to His prompting and wooing - and for all such people (those not PERMANENTLY resistant to His Spirit) - He will eventually open their eyes and minds to His truth; D) He gives US the choice - to respond to His wooing or to resist / deny / avoid it; E) He gives ALL persons what they need to believe (as opposed to what they THINK they need; F) He will not force anyone to love Him back; G) God has tied the decision we make about Him (whether to embrace or reject Him) to our eternal fate (Heaven or hell). H) There is no contradiction between us requiring God's enabling our belief AND our ability to choose to respond to Him
- He helps ALL who are willing to accept His prompting, wooing and help!