What To Consider Before The Proposal.
What should we be focused on? What should our standard be? Before she says, “Yes!“; what should our relationship be founded on?
“14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:14-15)
In context, this passage is speaking to all situations where Christians are uniting with, or choosing to closely connect themselves with unbelievers. Considering that context, this passage definitely includes romantic relationships.
This includes dating, courtship, engagement, and of course, marriage.
1. Am I Unequally Yoked?
Let’s unpack this term, “yoked“. (We’re definitely not talking about eggs!)
In Biblical times and even today, in many areas of the world, a yoke is used to connect livestock together. Yoking up livestock was used to pull heavy objects, for transportation and farming, where human effort was not enough.
But for a moment, try to imagine connecting an ox with a donkey, and trying to get them to work together. (It’s not going to work!) This is a cultural metaphor.
Maybe you’ve grown up in the church? Maybe you’re thinking, I’ve heard all about this yoke talk before! Maybe you’re thinking, “I get it Jeremy. A Christian and an unbeliever are going in different directions, competing for different goals in life.“
Well that’s one part of the metaphor.
Remember that we need to look at the entirety of Scripture to get a fuller perspective. When we do, we see that Jesus talked about yokes as well. I believe the early church would have connected Paul’s yoke talk with Jesus teaching. Maybe we should too?
2. Have I Yoked Up With Jesus First?
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says,
“28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’“
In Biblical time and again, in many parts of the world today, when two oxen are placed together, this is how it works:
Often there’s an older ox that’s been wearing the yoke for a long time. It’s placed with a younger ox who needs to learn the ways of the yoke. Over a few weeks, the younger ox gets it. When the older ox dies, the owner can buy another ox and the cycle continues.
This is the metaphor when Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…“
3. Who or What Am I Yoked Up With Instead of Jesus?
Sometimes we place a relationship with an unbeliever in that spot, thinking that they will bring us happiness and fulfillment. But it’s as fleeting as money and pleasure.
We’ve still chosen to push Jesus aside and place them into Jesus’ spot in the yoke.
4. Am I Competing With Jesus?
Unknowingly a competition has begun. And this competition isn’t just about being yoked up with an unbeliever isn’t just about heading in different directions with different life-goals. The competition is also with Jesus.
Jesus wants that spot beside us. And we need Jesus in that spot beside us, if we want our relationships to succeed.
Moreover, when we choose a romantic relationship with someone who isn’t a Christian, our actions have sent them a message. As soon as we choose them over Jesus, we’ve communicated that we’re comfortable competing with Jesus for their love and devotion.
5. Does My Partner Love Jesus?
Perhaps, this is a better question: “Do they love me more than they love Jesus?“
You’ll know the answer before you even ask it. Because when we ask ourselves that question, “Do they love me more than Jesus?” the competition will hit us square in the face.
We’ll have to deal with the reality that they don’t know Jesus. That Jesus’ isn’t important to them. And that they’re okay being yoked up with someone else instead of Jesus.
After asking that question, we’ll have to deal with the reality that an earthly relationship with us, is more valuable and more desirable than an eternal relationship with Jesus.
Once we travel down the rabbit hole of that question, we should be deeply concerned for our earthly future and more concerned about their eternal future!
6. What Should My Standard Be?
For the dating or engaged ladies out there:
There is nothing more attractive to a Godly man than a woman who’s yoked up with Jesus. Physical beauty fades; spiritual beauty lasts. Don’t settled for less than what you deserve.
For the dating or engaged fellas out there:
If you have visions of a devoted wife and mother; watch your partner’s relationship with Jesus. If she’s more infatuated with you than the Saviour of the world; just end it before your pride gets too drawn in.