Crank Up the Contrast!

Unbelievers won't change if they can't see a difference in you.

A couple of years ago, my cell group celebrated Communion as we did on a bimonthly basis. It was usually a very meaningful time, but this evening was particularly awesome. The Holy Spirit showed up in a special way and we wept, confessed sin and communed with the Lord. Every member of the cell was present that night, along with one visitor, an unchurched Christian friend.

On the way home, our friend commented, "Tonight I saw how you all worshiped God and the relationship you have with Him. I thought I knew God, but now I know that I don't have the kind of relationship with God that you guys do. That's why I just passed the bread and the cup to the next person when it came my way."

What our friend saw plainly that night was contrast. She had surrendered her life at the altar in a Baptist church but had never learned to walk out her salvation. In time spent with my wife and me, she saw that we aim to live out God's convictions as new creatures in Christ. Her ideas about a relationship with God and our reality were very different. She grasped this by watching us worship and hearing us testify from our hearts of God's love.

As I think back on that experience, I realize I have developed a bad habit of turning down the contrast in my relationships with non-Christians. My conversations with Christians are completely different from those I have with unbelievers. When I talk with my cell buddies, I say things like "God is really stretching me" or "I heard from the Lord this week concerning the way I'm to serve others." But when talking with an unbeliever, I avoid these topics or restate them in words I think won't be foreign to them. I justify this by telling myself that I was making them comfortable with our relationship. The problem ...

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