If you’re a teen or young adult who has grown up in the church, you’ve probably been warned at some point not to get romantically involved with an unbeliever. A Bible teacher once illustrated such a mismatched union like this: “A believer is someone who has been brought back from the dead and born of the Holy Spirit. So for a Christian to be joined with someone with an unregenerated spirit, is like walking down to the local cemetery and looking for a date there.”*
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:14-16).
A Christian and non-Christian together in relationship aren’t simply two people operating in different belief systems (although that in itself is significant enough to create plenty of problems). Rather, they exist in two different realms. According to Scripture, one is of light, the other of darkness. One is of righteousness, the other of wickedness. One is a servant of Christ, the other of Satan; one is of life, the other of death.
In the western world, the focus is centered heavily on the physical, or outward appearance. A lot of homage is also paid to the intellectual. But spiritual realities are given far less attention, even among the Body of Christ. Yet Scripture talks about God preserving Christians blameless in spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23), in that order, signifying that the spirit is the most important. Being yoked equally in relationships with other believers is a vital part of preserving one’s spirit, soul, and body blameless.
Many people, teenagers and young adults especially, spend a lot of time in front of the mirror before going out the door, ensuring that their physical appearance is acceptable. But do we pay attention to how presentable our spirits are? Have we tuned them to heaven by spending time in worship and prayer and the Word before we go out in the world? Are we aware how potentially deadly it is to be yoked with an unbeliever?
What are some ways that being yoked to an unbeliever can make living for God difficult? Do you have the courage to end an unequal relationship?
*Pastor Allan Chambers is credited with this insight