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Don’t be unequally yoked

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What is the Bible is talking about when it says, “Don’t be unequally yoked”?  It conjures up the image of a big cow and a little cow yoked together but the big cow doing most of the work. I have often felt that way during my ministry career – it’s no way to run a partnership between two peo…
By Seth Barnes
weddingWhat is the Bible is talking about when it says, “Don’t be
unequally yoked”?  It conjures up the image of a big cow and a little cow yoked together but the big cow doing most of the work. I have often felt that way during my ministry career – it’s no way to run a partnership between two people.
 
The phrase is most frequently applied to marriage as in, “don’t marry nonChristians.”  But it has nuances that go far beyond that most basic of litmus tests. It has a lot to do with why you’re here on this earth and where you’re going with your life.  What do you believe about God and how important is that to you really?
 
If your values are kingdom values, that is, if you believe in
an open home, a faith-filled perspective, in covenantal friendships, and
in a lifestyle of worship and outreach, then you’ll want to find someone else who lives their life the same way. After all, if you’ve absorbed that way of living deeply
into your spirit, but you’re partnered with a mate who is resistant or
even indifferent, your relationship isn’t going to be a happy one.
 
Yesterday I blogged about Dennis and Zwakele, a couple who though they come from very different backgrounds, are equally yoked because of their kingdom perspective. Nationality is not a significant part of their value system, but citizenship, as in kingdom citizenship, is of essential importance.
 
Now that my kiddos have entered a season of extreme eligibility, we’ve been thinking a lot more about such matters.  This past weekend Estie just arrived in town to introduce us to a young man who seems to like her a lot.  You can bet that I asked him a lot about the kingdom and the things that are important enough to him that he’d die for them.  In Estie’s value system, thankfully, I get to help determine what “equally yoked” means.  Years ago she gave me a small key with a note attached to it explaining that she was giving me the key to her heart and that when at last she went to be married, I could then give the key to her future husband.
 

The biggest cross-cultural gap in marriage one can face is not people from two different countries.  Rather, it’s the gap between a
kingdom-minded believer and an agnostic or a “social Christian.” Inevitably the believer will
either convert the agnostic or be dumbed-down by him or her. There is
no middle ground for someone whose life and worldview has been
transformed by Jesus and his way of doing life.  Such a union would indeed define what it means to be unequally yoked.

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