“He treats me better than Christian men I’ve dated.”
My heart squeezed when I heard her words. I sat there listening to her…the pain and hope deferred of something we all dream about: being wanted and chosen. Her story isn’t the first one that other women have shared with me. Their unasked questions hanging in the air.
When is he going to enter my life?
When will God finally grant me the desire of my heart?
But the answers don’t seem to come. Instead of being married straight out of college or once you’ve settled at a job, you find yourself doing the things you dreamt of doing with a husband all by yourself. In your heart, you were certain you’d get to experience buying a car or your first home with the right man. Instead, the months and years quickly roll on and the quiet desperation that you have for romance and love become louder and louder.
Then one day a man enters into your life and he’s very much into you. The problem is that he’s not saved. “But he likes me”, you’ve reasoned, “and he treats me so well. I’m sure he’ll see my love for God and he’ll become a Christian.” The Bible has a very specific term when it comes to situations like this: unequally yoked.
The Dangers To Being Unequally Yoked
There are real, spiritual dangers when it comes to being in an unequally yoked relationship.
The Message words it like this,
Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not a partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Why would we put ourselves in that kind of situation? 2 Corinthians 6:12 makes it clear: “You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.” Dig a little deeper and you’ll see what Paul is saying is that when we consciously and willing enter into a partnership between light and dark, we keep our hearts in a spiritually narrow, cramped space. He uses the same word “restriction” in 2 Corinthians 4:8 when he speaks about being hard-pressed on every side but not crushed and perplexed but not in despair. In that case, he’s pointing out how we’re overcomers through Christ but in an unequally yoked relationship we are crushing and distressing ourselves.
Maybe you’re currently dating someone who says he’s a Christian but…well not really. He goes to church on Sunday morning but he’s not opposed to unclothing you Sunday night. You’re at war because you love him but you know what you’re doing is not right in God’s eyes. This is also an unequally yoked relationship. If you’re going through the spiritual war described in 2 Corinthians, please know that you are not alone! I’ve been through it too and it is one of the worst pains I’ve felt. Having my heart and spirit continuously conflicting within me led to God finally giving me an ultimatum to either choose Him or the one I loved.
Doesn’t God know how much I want to be in a relationship?
He knows all too well how many tears you’ve cried and how many times you’ve prayed but can I be honest, friend? An unequally yoked relationship should not come at the cost of your salvation and your relationship with Him. The hard truth is this:
Exception To The Rule?
It’s foolishness to believe that God operates contrary to His word. We want to believe in our hearts that the man we’ve given our hearts (and possibly our bodies) will eventually become that man of God we’ve been longing for. But it is a rare case that we become exceptions to the rule. So many women take the chance with no guarantees that it will happen. Our hearts are too easily deceived into thinking things will work out in our favor when we take our love lives into our own hands rather than surrendering them. The Bible says our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) so why would we solely trust where it wants to lead us especially when it goes against the wisdom of God?
Unequally yoked relationships ultimately do one thing if we allow them to continue for a long period of time: compromise us emotionally, spiritually, and physically causing such guilt and shame that we distance ourselves from God.
A Hungry Heart
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while and haven’t felt led to release it. I didn’t know why until a short time ago. We all know that “the struggle is real” and for a single woman the struggle includes temptation (you can read more about it here). I recently found myself daydreaming about a seriously good looking guy who isn’t a believer. Feeling hopeless about finding a godly man, I wondered if I would go out with him given the chance. A big part of me wanted to go for it but in thinking about it the Lord brought the story of Jacob and Esau to mind.
Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with some of that red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore, his name was called Edom.
But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”
So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:28-35)
I can really relate to Esau in this story. I’ve found myself so weary from waiting that I want to feed the hunger in my heart to be loved. Jacob knew how tired Esau would be coming in from the field and used that knowledge to get his older brother’s birthright. Sweet friend, can I tell you that you have a born again birthright too? It’s a God-given one that the enemy wants you to sell. Just like he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, so will the enemy tempt you with the desires of your heart. But once we bow down…once we give in, we will continue to give in over and over again.
Esau filled his belly for an hour only to be hungry again. We can fill our hearts only to find we aren’t fully satisfied.
Jesus said the exact thing to the woman at the well who was gathering water. She would have to keep coming back to drink, never really quenching her thirst.It's only when we're satisfied in God that the appetites of our flesh will subside. Click To Tweet
Daughters of God, you are so precious in His sight. I lovingly warn you that the huge price you’ll pay from yoking yourself to an unbeliever or someone who is not seeking God’s presence is one that Jesus has already paid for and freed you from.
Wait on God.
Trust in Him.