Dec
25

Equally Yoked by Randy Rowley 12/25/08 ©

By

On a cold and bright morning on the first Saturday in January, nothing was moving on my lease near Georgetown.  No squirrels, no birds, and positively no deer.  Nothing.  It was one of those mornings that makes you question why you’re a hunter.  As I sat in my assigned stand, debating whether I was insane or just stupid for staying put, I saw movement to my left.  I expected to see cows, but to my surprise, it was two bucks, a little more than 100 yards away and moving slowly towards me.

One buck was a young, gnarly 6-pointer.  His companion was a classic 8-pointer.  He was no Muy Grande by any stretch, but seeing that this was the last weekend of the season and I had a buck tag left, I immediately decided to take him.

They were coming at me head-on, so my only shot was a neck shot.  After a few seconds, they stopped.  I lined my crosshairs on the middle of the 8-pointer’s neck and squeezed the trigger of my Remington Model 700.  The 120 grain Remington Core-Lokt pointed soft point .25-06 hit him like a sledgehammer.  He dropped like a rock and expired in short order.

The 6-pointer ran about 150 yards and stopped to the right of my stand, about 50 yards away.  He then snorted at me for about three minutes while I completed my tag.  It wasn’t until I exited the stand that he vamoosed.

In Biblical times, Oxen were the primary plowing animals (they still are in some places in the world).  They were usually harnessed together in a team of two by a wooden yoke.  As a team, they could pull twice as hard as a single ox.  However, if a bigger or stronger ox was yoked with a smaller or weaker one, instead of getting a straight row for planting, the row would curve to the stronger ox’s side.  Farmers learned early on that oxen that they yoked together had to be equals.

So it is with relationships.  2 Corinthians 6:14-16a (NKJV) says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”  “Belial” is another name for Satan, and “yoked” means partnered, joined, coupled, bonded, bound, or tied.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (HCSB) says, “But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.” Unbelievers can’t understand and discern the Holy Spirit’s teachings because he doesn’t dwell in them.  Unbelievers do not know what agape (selfless and without conditions) love is, much less practice it, and are incapable of giving Godly counsel.  Some will do everything in their power to cause Christians that are yoked with them to stumble and compromise their witness.

Unbelievers are the enemies of God.  Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “‘He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.’”  Unbelievers don’t have the same worldview as Christians.  They lie because their father, the devil, is the father of lies.  Jesus said to the Pharisees (Jewish sect members, who strictly observed the law), who challenged him in John 8:44, “‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’”

Rebellion (sin) is the nature of unbelievers.  They are slaves to sin, and their sin does not cause them any grief.  Those who are bothered by their sins are unsettled because the Holy Spirit is convicting them.

Christians who yoke themselves with unbelievers are destined for trouble and heartache.  How can a relationship between a believer and an unbeliever last?  One person’s allegiance is to God, and the other’s is to Satan.  You can’t get more opposed to each other than that.  One will handle every problem Biblically, while the other will try to resolve every challenge through the flesh.

Many Christians choose to ignore Paul’s appeal and Jesus’s proclamations.  A young woman marries an unbelieving man because she is in love and believes, “My love will change him.”  Yet two years later, she is in a living hell and sees divorce as her only way out.  A businessman goes into a partnership with a more experienced entrepreneur who is an unbeliever.  After he invests a lot of capital, he learns that his new partner has been deliberately breaking laws.  He must then choose whether to continue the partnership and be an accessory to a crime or terminate the partnership and lose his investment.

I have been a Christian since September 26, 1977.  The Lord made me a new creation.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  My old life was no more, and everything was new.  I didn’t have many friends before I became a Christian, as I was shy, but I witnessed to the two that I was yoked with, including one who had been my best friend for 11 years.  Both of them rejected Christ.  After a few days, I stopped spending time with them.  It was easier than it sounds, as I quickly became yoked with many new Christian friends.

It’s been many years since I made that decision and I remain not yoked to unbelievers.  Being yoked to unbelievers remains as appealing to me as dining with cannibals!

We must only be yoked with a Christian spouse, business partners, mentors, and friends.

For examples of who we should be yoked with, we can look at who Paul was yoked with, including:

  • Paul and Barnabas were mission partners. They taught Christians at Antioch together for a year (see Acts 11:25-26).  They were set aside by the Holy Spirit for the first missionary journey (see Acts 13:1-2) and saw the Lord work mightily through them in converting and teaching hundreds of people and establishing many churches.
  • Timothy and Titus were two of Paul’s disciples. He instructed them as a master teaches his students.  Certainly, he was fond of them, but it was primarily a mentor/mentee relationship.

Jesus said in his prayer to God in John 17:14, regarding his disciples, “‘I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.’”

Some Christians interpret this verse to mean that we shouldn’t associate with those who belong to the god of this world (unbelievers).  However, that interpretation is inconsistent with Jesus’s ministry.  Mark 2:16-17 says, “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Nor is it consistent with the Great Commission.  Matthew 28:18-20a says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’”

Although witnessing to total strangers sometimes was fruitful, many of the individual conversions found in the Bible resulted from a Christian establishing a relationship with an unbeliever first and then witnessing to him or her.  If we don’t associate with unbelievers, we won’t be able to fulfill the Great Commission.  We can associate with unbelievers and not be yoked with them.

If you’re yoked with an unbelieving spouse, you must not divorce him or her unless he or she is abusive or unfaithful.  Instead, you must witness to him or her and heed 1 Peter 3:1-2, which says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”  Although Peter was speaking to wives, the same principle applies to husbands.

If you’re yoked with an unbelieving business partner, witness to him or her.  If he or she doesn’t accept the Lord, then you must terminate the partnership or at least make it clear that you’ll run the business on Godly principles and won’t do anything illegal.

If you’re yoked with an unbelieving mentor, then witness to him.  If he doesn’t accept the Lord, you must stop being his mentee or obtain an additional mentor who is a mature Christian.

If you’re yoked with unbelieving friends, then witness to them.  If they don’t accept the Lord, you must terminate the relationships or make friends who are Christians.  If our only friends are unbelievers, who will we turn to when we are between a rock and a hard place?

And if being yoked with someone leads you towards destruction, I urge you to be like that 6-pointer on that cold January day and flee the danger while you still can.

Randy

Categories : Devotionals

Bible verse of the day

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him — his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/