Many college students experience this with a “potluck” roommate their first semester, but I knew my freshman roommate from my home church, so living with a “stranger” was a first for me this year.
It turned out that my new roommate is not a believer, but God has made it clear to me that He placed us in the same apartment for a specific reason. Jesus calls us to make disciples of all people wherever we go (Matthew 28:18-20), which includes the people we live with! I’d like to share some thoughts on what it looks like to share the love of Christ with your lost roommate.
Pray for Them
Although it may seem obvious, praying is the most important thing you can do for your roommate. Before you talk to your roommate about God, talk to God about your roommate. Pray that God will prepare their heart to receive truth, reveal himself to them, and give them faith to receive Him (Acts 26:18, 2 Timothy 2:25-26, Hebrews 4:2).
Pray that God will remove Satan’s blinders that keep them from seeing the Truth (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you with His Power and give you the words they need to hear and the boldness to speak them (Acts 4:29-31).
As you pray for your roommate, God will begin to soften your heart and fill you with a greater love for them than you could ever develop on your own. Remember, God works mighty things through prayer. One of my friends has found that “the days [my roommate] is most open are the days I deliberately fast and pray for her.”
Any time you live with someone else, it will be hard. Our human tendency is to want to relax at home, and we all become selfish to some degree. One thing I’ve experienced is the temptation to get annoyed or frustrated with my roommate or even judge the way he chooses to live his life, which distracts me from loving him.
To combat this mentality, look for ways to serve your roommate. Try cooking a meal for them, doing their dishes, or cleaning their bathroom. Going out of your way to do something selfless makes a big impact on your roommate and helps them see the love of Christ through you.
Spend Time With Them
Another temptation when you live with someone you don’t know well is to isolate yourself from them, living completely separate lives right next to each other. Break the relational ice by spending time with your roommate.
Talk to them every day. Ask them how their day is going. Find out more about their life, their family, their interests. Do things together. As you spend time with your roommate and they get to know you better, opportunities will come up to have spiritual conversations. Make the most of those opportunities (Colossians 4:5-6), and just be honest about the things that are most important to you.
Another of my friends told me, “My roommates who aren’t believers definitely know who I am in Christ, and therefore know where to turn their questions about God. There have been times where I’ve come home and [my roommate] has said ‘Oh, I wanted to ask you…’ and Bam! We’re having a spiritual conversation.”
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you are making a whole lot of progress in reaching out to your roommate. The first friend I mentioned told me that living with an unbeliever “has been a lot of trusting God even in the middle of my mistakes and imperfections. It’s easy to put weight on our shoulders that He doesn’t ask us to bear.”
Remember that God is the one who saves the lost. Our job is to faithfully share and demonstrate the Gospel with our words, actions, and attitudes and let Him do the rest.