Can two walk together unless they are agreed?
Our beliefs are so important due to the fact that they shape our lives, values and priorities. In order for two people to be in a relationship, godly or ungodly, they should share similar beliefs. Christians believe in eternity whereas unbelievers believe that life ends here on earth. One partner cannot believe that there is no God and the other believes that there is a God, because at some point their views are likely to conflict.
Paul talks about being unequally yoked (the very famous verse – 2 Corinthians 6:14).
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?”
So what exactly is a yoke? I found the definition below so useful because it does not only explain what a yoke is but it also explains why an unequally yoked relationship won’t work.
“A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk in a slower manner than the taller and stronger ox, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another” (GotQuestions).
So, if he is a Christian, are we good to go?
I have always asked this as the unequally yoked verse was often overstated and there tends to be a lot that is written on not dating unbelievers; however there is hardly anything written on the Christian brothers or sisters we should date.
Some of my other questions were; “Is being a Christian a good enough reason to date someone?”, “He says he is a Christian but I can’t really tell..?” (lol it be like that sometimes), “He goes to church on Sundays and he really wants to live for God, at some point, but right now he feels like he is not in that place yet, is this okay?” As I drew closer to God, I found some of the answers to these questions in His word.
“He says he is a Christian but I can’t really tell…?” – If he is a Christian you wouldn’t have to question his Christianity, you would be able to tell by his fruits. The Bible further states: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit” (Mathew 12:33).
“He goes to church on Sundays and he really wants to live for God, at some point, but right now he feels like he is not in that place yet, is this okay?” – This means that he is being lukewarm, he hasn’t picked a side and this is how God feels about a lukewarm Christian: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16).
According to the dictionary, a Christian is someone who lives according to the teachings of Jesus. The problem is some of us believe in Jesus, but we haven’t surrendered our lives to him so we find it hard to live according to His word. There are even some people that are Christians by default; they were born into Christian homes, but they don’t have a personal relationship with God.
I don’t believe that a guy saying that he is a Christian should be enough for you to say yes. You have to ask more questions: Has he given his life and totally surrendered it to Christ? Can you see this in his behaviour and attitude? What are his life goals? Is it to live for Christ or to live for himself? The Bible asks us to use our discernment in all situations, “By all means use your judgement and hold on to whatever is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
PS. This is not a call for us to judge others but for us to know what is good for us and what is bad for us. Don’t forget to also ask yourself these questions and see if you have a similar character to one that you would like to see in your partner.
So, how should we discern?
We discern according to God’s word and not by our own standards or traditions; we discern by their actions. Mathew 7:16 states: “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles?” The Bible further states, in Galatians 5:19-21, that; “The acts of the flesh (when you follow your sinful desire instead of following the Holy spirit) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and corruption; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God”.
People that are still led by their sinful nature practicing these acts that the Bible does not condone. This does not mean that people that are led by Christ are completely sinless, however they feel convicted when they do these things and this causes them to want to change. However this is somewhat different from a person who does not want to live for Christ. For example, if you date a Christian guy who constantly has fits of rage and does not feel convicted to change, you are putting yourself in a dangerous situation. As we have understood from several stories in the past, the problem is likely going to escalate if he doesn’t change. We shouldn’t be comfortable in our sin; we should be convicted by them and pray for God to transform our hearts to be more like Him.
Our beliefs are very important, we should not only ensure that the person we want to date/marry shares our beliefs, but we should also make sure that we are both headed in the same direction. As Myles Munroe once said: ‘You need to take your time to know where he stands, in terms of his faith, worship and commitment to holy and righteous living. If you cannot agree at this spiritual level, then there will be problems ahead’.
PS. I keep on using ‘he’ because it is a man’s role in a relationship to lead and as a woman, you have to know where he is leading you to before you decide to ride or die.
Is he leading you towards Christ or away from Him?
Culled with permission from Dating with Godliness.