Tag Archives: Marriage

The Peril of Being Unequally Yoked!

We should not deceive ourselves. Our existence is more likely to resemble that of Penelope Pit-stop who stumbled into peril after peril, if we are unequally yoked within ourselves (see Ready for Marriage – Are you equally yoked?) and become yoked with an unbeliever (see Unequally yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer!). Should we become unequally yoked, we find that we encounter the hooded claw of life’s dangers; it is only the mercy and grace of God that keeps us from disaster. Therefore, it is best to avoid testing God by choosing to be unequally yoked – both individually and corporately.

The peril of being unequally yoked in a relationship

Many a men have experimented with marrying unbelievers to disastrous ends. The first ones to try were the sons of God who took the daughters of men as their wives (see Genesis 6:2). By choosing not to yoke themselves with the daughters of God, but instead with those that were not being led by the Spirit of God, their hearts turned towards evil.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” – Romans 8:14

God was not well-pleased with man’s disobedient decision! Rather than strive with man, He first decided to shorten man’s life to 120 years and then proceeded to send a great flood to wipe man off the face of the earth – except for Noah and those housed in his ark! Hmm! All other men ultimately perished because godly men decided to become unequally yoked with ungodly women.

Note: While emphasis is being placed on men because the Word says that it is a man who finds a wife (see Proverbs 18:22), it goes without saying that women have to ensure they are marrying godly men as well.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  Our thoughts turn towards evil when we decide to yoke ourselves with ungodly partners. Eventually, those evil thoughts manifest into heavy burdens that lead us away from the victorious life God intended for us and potentially shorten our life-span.

Rather than learn from the earliest of warning against being unequally yoked and heeding the warnings of Moses and Joshua, King Solomon decided to marry ungodly women. As a result, he lost his kingdom which was split into two (Judah and Israel) and ushered in a period of prolonged idol worship (spanning many kings) that led previously loyal territories (such as Moab and Edom) to revolt.

If we choose not to learn from the Word, which is profitable to us for correction (see 2 Timothy 3:16) and choose to yoke ourselves with unbelievers, we have no one to blame for the unnecessary troubles (that God can fix) we heap on ourselves.

The peril of being unequally yoked with ourselves

When we do not bring our minds (soul) into full alignment with our spirit (which has been infiltrated by the Holy Spirit) via the transformation that comes from the perennial renewal of our minds with the Word of God, we find that we become double-minded. We find ourselves flip-flopping between being led by the Spirit and being led by our own fleshly desires. We yo-yo between fear and faith and so never gain a productive and full harvest, for we never fully nurture the seeds of faith we have been given with the water of the Word.

The mark of the unequally yoked believer is inaction, indecision, procrastination, timidity, vacillation, and an overall lack of boldness. Such a one is a good starter but a poor finisher – for sustained effort is hard to achieve without sustained faith.  If we are unequally yoked, we find that we make many plans and conquer many kingdoms with our mouths! Worse of all, we do not receive anything from God

“For let not that man (who doubts) suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” – James 1:7 – 8

How sad it is that we do not receive anything we ask for, simply because we will not allow our minds to be renewed by the Word.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We cannot just tick the box of reading the Word, but we have to prepare the soil of our hearts so that the Word can renew our minds and so transform us into who we truly are in Christ

Rather than yoke ourselves to our flesh, we are wise to yoke ourselves to the Spirit and join the winning team.

Food for Thought: No one who has ever yoked themselves to Christ has ever been defeated!

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Ready for marriage – Are you equally yoked?

The scriptures advice us not to be unequally yoked with any person with whom we are about to enter into a relationship. In Unequally yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer, I shared some insights on how to spot a true believer versus a potential counterfeit. Specifically, I explained why believing that Jesus is Lord, knowing the Word, preaching the Word, exhibiting spiritual gifts, and obedience is NOT enough to put a stamp of approval on someone as a believer (although true believers also exhibit these qualities) but rather it is their faith-walk. I explain why it is not just enough to have the Spirit, but that we have to be led by the Spirit.

Now, for two people to be equally yoked, they have to be compatible. Since humans are triune beings (for we are spirits who have a soul and live in a body), we have to be compatible in the spiritual realm, in the soul realm, and the physical realm in order to be truly compatible.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If two individuals are incompatible in either the spiritual realm, the soul realm, or the physical realm, they are unequally yoked.

In today’s world, most have shunned spiritual compatibility and navigated away from physical compatibility and have instead focused solely of soul compatibility (as evidenced by the popular use of the term soul-mates). As believers, we cannot drink the Kool-Aid of thinking we can be soul mates with someone with whom we are not spirit-mates. The only way a believer can have the same mind (be soul mates) with someone with whom we are not spirit-mates (having the same Spirit – that is the Spirit of God) is if that believer has strayed away from being spirit-led. Let me explain!

When we become born-again, we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts, to seal our spirit till the day of redemption (see Ephesians 4:30), and to make our spirit incorruptible (see 1 Peter 1:23). Since it is the sealing of our spirit with His Holy Spirit that makes us the righteousness of God in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21), it is clear that we cannot be spirit-mates with someone who has not received the Holy Spirit. Why? The incorruptible Spirit of God cannot agree with a corrupt and unsaved spirit for that would be communion between light and darkness. Simply put, the Holy Spirit in us will only agree with the Holy Spirit in someone else for the Holy Spirit can only agree with itself.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A born-again (saved) person is spiritually incompatible with a person who is not born again.

Yet, the soul of a born-again (saved) person must come into agreement and alignment with their born of God (born again) spirit. The only way this alignment happens is if the soul (mind) is transformed to reflect the spirit nature by allowing the word of God to renew it. The bible puts it this way:

“…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” – Romans 12:2

Note: This passage tells us that we can be transformed into the image of His Son; aligned with the Holy Spirit within us, by renewing our mind with the Word of God

“…The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul, and spirit, and of joints and marrow…” – Hebrews 4:12

Note: This passage tells us that the word of God is what blurs the lines and is the glue that joins together (aligns) and works in the realm of the spirit, soul, and body (joint and marrow).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we spend time in the word of God, our soul and our spirit become aligned and fall into agreement. Hence, it is impossible to be soul mates with a person with whom we are not spirit mates unless we have closed our minds to the Word (God). When we close our mind off to God, we cannot be led by Him.

When our own spirit and soul are equally yoked in Christ, we find that we only desire what God desires. Hence, we are more likely to yoke ourselves with those to whom we are physically compatible (just as a lock and key are compatible compared to a lock and a lock), and we find that we desire that compatibility to take place within the context of marriage.

If our own spirit and soul are not equally yoked in Christ, we find that we do not walk in agreement with ourselves (for the spirit of God cannot agree with our yet to be transformed soul). Hence, the extent to which we renew our minds determines the extent to which our soul and spirit agree. If we renew our minds regularly, we will be on fire for Christ. If we do not, we will blow hot and cold for Christ, be double-minded, and be more susceptible to sin (for we have not taken up our sword of the spirit).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: First, we have to make sure we are equally yoked with ourselves ( that our soul and spirit in Christ are agreed and aligned) before we try to be yoked to someone else.

Hence, the bible passage, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed” – Amos 3:3, applies to both the individual and the couple. An individual whose soul does not agree (via the renewal of the mind) with his spirit (which has been born again of the Spirit of God) is not ready to be yoked with anyone else. This person must first get the soul to spirit compatibility right before he/she is ready for marriage. Likewise, two people who are not agreed together in their spirit and soul are not ready to be yoked together and certainly should avoid being yoked physically.

To summarize, here is what it means to be equally yoked

  • Both you and your future partner have received the spirit (born-again) and so have a relationship with God
  • Both you and you future partner fellowship with God daily and so renew your minds and put on the mind of God constantly
  • Both you and your future partner walk in faith (rather than just have it)
  • Both you and your future partner are Spirit-led (not just Spirit-filled) and so exhibit the fruit of the spirit (see Galatians 5:22 – 23)
  • Both you and your future partner keep your eyes focused on God no matter what (rather than on each other or problems, thereby making them idols)

Food for Thought: I need to be made whole (equally yoked) before I yoke myself to others

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Unequally Yoked – So you think you are marrying a believer!

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” – Romans 8:14

Paul makes it clear that it is not enough to have the spirit of God, but that we have to be led by the Spirit. He further implores us not only to live in the spirit but to walk in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25) for it is those of us that walk in the Spirit that do not fulfill the desires of the flesh and are able to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

To be led, we have to hear from our leader (God). Now, it is impossible to be led without studying and meditating on the Word of God, for the bible tells us that hearing comes by the Word. Actually, the whole verse tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. Therefore, it is hearing that grants us faith (trust and belief) to obey (walk or be led) by the Spirit. Since it is simply not possible to be Holy Spirit led without having faith in God (Jesus Christ), we ought not to be mocked in the these two things:

  • It is only those who have faith in Jesus Christ that can receive and be led by the Holy Spirit (God)
  • It is our faith walk that makes us a child of God – it is what makes us a believer

The second bullet point elevates and challenges our thinking on what Paul means when he tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. He is telling us not to be married to someone who is not walking in faith. He puts it this way:

“And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever” – 2 Corinthians 6:15

When I first read this, I thought Paul was unnecessarily harsh or perhaps going off the deep-end a little. I thought to myself: Paul, you are comparing an unbeliever to Belial! Seriously!  Then it dawned on me that the only way to identify a true believer is a person’s faith walk. I stumbled upon this realization as I began to unravel what Belial (evil spirit/devil/demon) is able to do. Since no one would call Belial a believer, there must be something that separates believers from him. That something is faith! To bolster this assertion, here are some interesting facts about Belial.

Belial believes that Jesus is Lord

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!” – James 2:19

The devil and demons have no problem believing that Jesus is Lord (see Matthew 8:29) for they know it fully well. After all, they were cast away or separated from God because of rebellion. Satan was disobedient (rebelled) because he did not love God. How do we know he did not love God? We know because the scriptures tell us that those who love God keep and obey His commandments (see John 14:21). Since genuine faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6), we know the Satan and the rest of his rebellious crew (demons) also did not have faith! If demons had faith, they would not tremble (fear) at the name of Jesus, for there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). But they do not have faith or love, so they operate in fear.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A believer is not just someone who believes that Jesus is Lord but walks in faith and produces faith-based work. Since genuine faith grows out of love, the walk (life) and work (actions) of a true believer is steeped in love.

Belial knows the scriptures

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”” – Matthew 4:6

This is the devil quoting scripture to Jesus.What impudence! But it does show that the devil knows scripture and is able to quote it – probably better than we can and at will. Hence, the knowledge of scripture itself is not the mark of a believer. If it were, then we would be unable to distinguish a believer from the devil! Without the Holy Spirit to guide us and to lead us aright, we only apply the scripture erroneously and for our selfish gain –just like Satan tried with Jesus.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A person who is filled with the knowledge of the Word of God is nothing but an historian if that knowledge does not produce faith (which is only possible through the Holy Spirit).  The scripture to a person without faith is simply a history book. Hence the ability to quote and recall scripture does not prove a believer.

Belial can exhibit “spiritual” gifts

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour” – Acts 16:16 – 18

The slave girl had the gift to tell the future – a gift of prophesy so to speak! Yet it turns out that she was possessed with an evil spirit. It is also very interesting that although demon-possessed, she was helping to spread the gospel! It just goes to show that not everyone who is proclaiming the gospel is of God. This exemplifies why the bible warns us about false prophets and warns us in the last days not to be fooled by those that perform mighty works.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The ability to exhibit “spiritual” gifts does not prove the believer as the gift may be from ungodly spirits working in that individual.

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Matthew 7:22 – 23

Belial obeys God – but in fear

“And He said to them, “Go.” And when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine…” – Matthew 8:32

The demons obey the voice of God when He speaks to them. Hallelujah! The difference between the obedience of a believer and that of demons is this: The obedience of evil spirits does not come out of love (and hence faith) but instead comes out of fear. See, faith and fear are the polar opposites of each other, but both require that we believe something that is yet to be. Both faith and fear can produce obedience – fear produce obedience based on consequences; faith produces obedience based on love.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Faith released outside of the realm of love is fear in disguise.

Spot a Believer

So, if believing that Jesus is Lord, reading and knowing the scripture, preaching the Word, exhibiting spiritual gifts, and Pharisaical obedience to the law are not full proof ways to spot a believer, then how can we spot believers? How can we tell if someone is walking in faith?

The answer is simply this: By their fruits you shall know them (see Mathew 7:20). A person who walks in faith also walks in the Spirit for it is the Spirit of God that grows our faith as we spend time in His Word. Anyone who truly walks in the Spirit produces the spiritual fruit of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

No one can fake these fruits. An impatient person cannot simply become patient at will. A selfish person will not be joyful because selfishness produces dissatisfaction or perennial unhappiness. A person who cannot control their tongue will not all of a sudden be able to master their tongue. These fruits cannot be faked because what we produce comes from who we are and what is in our hearts rather than what we do (obey, preach the Word…).

A person who is truly in Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit along with the works (read the bible, preach the Word…)

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A true believer walks in faith and therefore produces spiritual fruit. If we do not see spiritual fruits, then we see a counterfeit believer. Whatever else they do should not impress us much!

Food for thought: We cannot believe in God and not produce love for He is love.

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