I know, it's everyone’s favorite topic when you’re not in one, and the most dreaded when you are. Hang in there with me, and I'll try to make it worth your time.
Let's start with 2 Scriptures and 2 Biblical truths.
1) Mark 10:18- “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
Truth #1 Since no one apart from Christ can be truly good, then no RELATIONSHIP apart from Christ can be truly good.
2) 1John 4:16-17 “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.”
#2 So, since God alone is love, then no “love” apart from Christ is truly love. If we abide in God, we will then abide in love.
This was the topic for my message to some beautiful young girls at a conference this past week. My #1 prayer when touching on this "touchy" topic was for the Lord to help me appear GENUINE above all. Yes, I wanted to help them (and now, you) grow and make GOOD, no, GREAT decisions when it comes to relationships.. But I wanted them to also know they have someone new that has their back even when they make the not so good decisions. So please see that and feel that in my message you are reading now.
K, with that out of the way, let's dive in!
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”
With that in mind, We can pretty much divide humanity, probably even those reading this, into three categories:
1. Those who have no idea what i’m talking about. Currently googling, “What is a yoke?” Thinking to yourself, “Why is she talking about eggs?” (If that is you, that's totally okay. Go ahead and google, sister!)
2. The every-day christian who is currently having flashbacks to church camps where this passage was used to drive home one point, and one point only. Do. Not. Date. Unbelievers. You know, if you love Jesus and go to church, don’t date those that don’t love Jesus and don’t go to church. Easy enough, right? Totally doable.
3. Then there’s us. Those of us who have taken on the name of Jesus and aspire to live out Biblical holiness in all facets of our life. Probably 98% of you reading this blog. Those of us that have been taught if he hasn’t been baptized in Jesus name, doesn’t go to the altar each service, have the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues often, pay his tithes, give liberally in the offering, lead a Bible study, and sing in choir, don’t date him. WHEW. Sound familiar? Also, maybe, sound a bit extreme in comparison?
We will break this down and dig deeper shortly.
First, let’s talk about yokes and what the Bible has to say about about them. A yoke is defined as “a wooden bar or frame by which two animals are joined at the heads or necks for working together.” The two animals joined by the yoke were carefully chosen. The law prohibited a clean animal to be put with an unclean animal, such as a calf and donkey.. it was also inhumane to make these different animals pull the same load, because one would inevitably have to carry the majority of the weight. Imagine a calf trying to trudge along, with a donkey, who is pulling and twisting, and not to mention who is several inches shorter... this would cause unnecessary torture for the calf that is just trying to do what it is called to do.
So yes, God has a HIGH calling and expectation for His children, and yes He doesn’t want His clean, called children mixed with an unclean world, and maybe it sounds “extreme” to you right now, but there is also another reason behind it. He is saving us from a cruel and truly inhumane life... you and the unsaved young man that you are dating or are wanting to date are going very different directions in life, and in the afterlife. When the one you are dating is below you spiritually, pulling in different directions while wavering in their relationship with Jesus, you are bringing unnecessary, inhumane torture upon yourself by being physically or emotionally attached to him.
2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” The Lord Almighty longs to walk with you in this life, leading you and caring for you as a true father.
This. Changes. Everything. Suddenly, things are put in perspective. We aren’t talking about separating ourselves from the world and not dating people below what God has called for us because “Holiness is a roadblock from ever having fun..” (Yes, I know it seems like our "Holy motto" can be the word “no.”) We can now see this is only a plea to separate ourselves from anything that can hinder us from knowing, loving, and being truly known and loved by our Savior, our Heavenly Father!
I hear my husband say it often- We are called to separate so we can elevate. Elevate so we can seek to have the mind of Christ while we have an ariel view over each of our decisions on this earth. You and I are called to be set apart for an unrivaled privilege and adventure, with the greatest happy ending ever known! Knowing this, I can’t imagine wanting to compromise the freedom of my relationship with Jesus by being bound to someone who is not walking fully in His truth.
Would you? Think about it. Is this here and now with him, worth risking forever with Him?
The answer in your head could be a complicated mix up of yeses and noes... and I understand, I do. I know what it feels like to want to be with someone I know good and well the Lord does not want me to be with. Try to answer it this way.
Would you ever want to trade a clean heart that the Lord can comfortably dwell for a relationship that leaves you feeling constantly convicted every time you come into church? Is it worth trading a lifetime of heaven for a fleeting moment of completeness in his room when no one is home? Can the quick shallow excitement of satisfying his temporary desire with an inappropriate snapchat ever be worth the condemnation you feel while crying tears into your pillow because you know you are worth more?
The answer seems to come so much easier when put that way...
If you’re reading this, truly wondering if you are in a toxic relationship, or maybe you are attempting to mentally justify the one you are in because you can honestly say, “We haven’t had sex...” or, “but we go to the same church!” I am going to give you a check list. Make a mental note of how many you can check “yes” to.
*Do you feel guilty spending time with your family and friends instead of him?
*Do you feel uncomfortable discussing prayer, the Holy Ghost, or fasting with him?
*Do you find yourself feeling that the convictions you once held close have begun to feel unnecessary since dating him?
*Do you feel you have to hide your texts or messages with him from the ones who care most about you?
*Do you feel convicted on Sunday about whatever you did on Saturday evening with him?
*Do you ever feel you have to defend your church or pastor to him?
*Do you feel the Holy Spirit pricking your heart this very second?
If your mental check list has more than 5 yeses, it’s safe to say you are in one... and guess what! If your mental check list has even ONE checked yes, you are probably in one. Yep. I know. Ouch. Been there.
Now, I want to take a minute to speak to the girls who wish they hadn’t. You may be sitting in your room feeling empty, disappointed, used, or worthless- I want to remind you that you are none of these... they are lies from the pits of hell!
You are loved.
You are precious!
You are redeemed!
God is with you, wherever you are reading this, offering you a fresh start. Once you bring your thoughts under submission to Him and decide to choose obedience to His desire for your life, you are immediately allowing yourself to be submerged under His grace, and you can sleep tonight feeling pure and clean and whole!
Someone I look up to once told me when sad people date/marry sad people, sadness becomes their oxygen. The same could be said for lost people, broken people, sinful people, rebellious people... their oxygen is contaminated by sin. It’s like walking through a smoke filled building, suffocating and panicking attempting to find an exit, any exit, but you’re blindfolded ... And you are the one who put the blindfold on.
So when you, an apostolic young lady that has been blood bought, and is on fire, faithful, and passionate date/marry a young man who is also passionate and driven to live a holy life, HOLINESS will become your oxygen. You will no longer be suffocating. You will be breathing and LIVING like never before!
How can we do this?
1. First, tear down the wall that is separating you from your ultimate relationship with Jesus. Whether that is a desire for a relationship outside of His will, a current inappropriate relationship or attachment with someone, or a condemnation you feel about one in the past. Make up your mind, right now, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!
2. Once the wall separating us from Jesus has been torn down, we can then take control of the thoughts that the wall was protecting. Pray for your will to align with His will. Pray hard. Read the Bible. Fast.
3. Then, once we have done step 1 and 2, we must be intentional in our decision to stay pure and clean. Make sure your obedience is COMPLETE. Just as it is so tempting to pick and choose which scriptures best fit our need and to only obey the ones that feel convenient, it also comes natural for us to want to obey only to the extent that it doesn’t cause us pain or take us out of our comfort zone. It is tempting to only obey “mostly,” but we must pray for God to help us obey fully!
4. Surround yourself with encouragers, prayer partners, accountability partners. Stay plugged in at your church and pray for the Lord to make you who He would have you be as you pray for your future husband. Living out God's will is worth the wait. I promise.