Here’s one from Lee. Enjoy! -anita
All of us have several friends, I’m sure. And, if you’ve been a Christian for very long, you probably have many Christian friends, no doubt. One thing I’ve observed in my life—and have heard this opined by several other Christians—is that, these days, most of my friends are Christians. It’s who I hang out with, who I seek to be with and spend time with. That can be a good and bad thing at the same time.
I enjoy and prefer being with Christian brothers and sisters—they likely reflect many of the same values, ideas, and lifestyle choices I make regularly. In fact, many non-believers say and believe things I find odious and unappealing. But there’s a danger that we become insulated from the world, safe within the walls of the “sanctuary” of friends we cultivate. Of course, the Bible teaches us to be in the world (clearly, that’s where we are right now) but not of the world. [Jn 15:19, 1 Jn 2:15] And if we are to be true to our calling of sharing the gospel we need to interact with the people who are in the world. [Is 12:4, Ps 105:1, Ez 3:17-19] So we need to seek a balance between spending time with other believers and with those who need to hear our testimony and the reasons for our love of Jesus. But that’s only part of the story.
I recently read an article on “Christian Friends,” written by Dr. James L. Harvey III, senior pastor of a church in Newark, Delaware. His point, in part, in this article is that, on the one hand, we can have many gratifying friendships with non-believers: “…there is a special joy in feeling that someone knows you, understands you, and enjoys your company.”
But, as he goes on to say, “… there is a unique spiritual basis for friendships between Christians that transcends what is possible with [non-Christians].” The essence of this, he says, is that “Christians don’t have some things in common; they have Someone in common.” I thought this was exceptionally well put.
One of the things that grabbed my attention hit me where I live sometimes. I’m a pretty gregarious guy and actually enjoy meeting and being with people, but there are times when I feel like I just don’t fit in with the people around me, and I feel isolated. According to Dr. Harvey, sometimes, even when Christians are together, the level of conversation doesn’t rise above that of discussing the weather, sports, or the latest news flash: “Sometimes Christians are lonely in the body of Christ because they have not taken the initiative to open their hearts to one another about their shared experience of Christ.” To me, this translates into failing to share with other believers how I came to know Jesus, what differences He’s made in my life, and what thoughts and ideas have been revealed to me daily from the work of the Spirit in my life.
When was the last time you were in the company of fellow Christians and talked from the heart about God’s work in your life. He IS at work in your life, you know. New things revealed; things God has done to help you, keep you safe, reassure you, comfort you in your hurts, show you His love. All of these things can be edifying to fellow believers. We all maybe need to open up more about the Jesus who died for us and works continually, even now, to love and intercede for us. Encountering Jesus isn’t a one-time event; it’s a lifetime engagement!