When we did visit them with our jars of holiday snack mix, all of the neighbors were delighted that someone had finally instigated “neighborhood.” Most notably, when they started visiting our home and sharing our dining room table, it became quickly apparent to us, “We’ve been spending way too much time with fellow Christians.” We were confronted with the mainstream culture head-on, not in a cable TV shout-show way, but just as people talking about things that people talk about.We heard with fresh ears just how easily unbelievers embrace things that we church folk won’t even go near, and how delicate is the task of discussing such things with people who don’t sing from the same hymnal as we do, indeed, who don’t sing from a hymnal at all.It is written, “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 12:7).Jason Meyer preached recently from 2 Corinthians –7:1, and as he compared and contrasted separation from and engagement with the world, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had an app that measured our engagement with unbelievers?The Bible is clear that Christians should not have close friendships with non-Christians.But what does the Bible teach about dating and marriage? Is it a sin for a Christian to date a non-Christian?The same can be said of the way we use the term “the lost.” Of course our hearts grieve for the millions who do not know Jesus, but we don’t know the millions personally. But find something that requires you to do it with other people.
Develop your “personal Great Commission number” as if it were something as routine to your daily life as church, work, fitness, and carting your kids around. You needn’t compromise your values, nor engage in any unbiblical activities to secure a coworker’s esteem or affection, but you do need to take an active interest in your coworkers as fellow human beings, not just the other spokes in a wheel you happen to share. A word of warning: don’t permit all of your kids’ activities to take place in Christian-only programs. Take up a new hobby, especially one shared in groups.Our neighbors left our home knowing that we were Christian people, that we respect the authority of the Bible and, most of all, that we love our neighbors.Within a couple weeks, one of them was serving in a local Christian ministry with us. It requires higher degrees of attentiveness and calculation than do conversations with our brother and sister evangelicals whose sentences we can all too easily finish.If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then 1 Corinthians 13 says that you truly have a loving relationship.If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then maybe you should discuss those issues with your boyfriend or girlfriend.