THE SEASON OF SINGLENESS – PART 5 – RED FLAGS BEFORE MARRIAGE
RED FLAG 3: SPIRITUAL INCOMPATIBILITY – UNEQUALLY YOKED.
After “Perd, the strange” guy said hey to me in library and left, I was left asking the Lord to remove the cup of temptation before me. I could not let any man jeopardize my faith in Christ, never again.
I would not anyone come in between me and Christ. No idol was I about to form in the name “boyfriend.” So I let it rest at that. Until one quiet evening, I had a strong push to go just have a quiet time with Christ. Christian Union’s service in campus was the place to be for me that evening.
I walked in, and sat at the back of the hall. Alas! There was the “Perd the strange man” on the dais, sited on the drum set, drumming so hard while his eyes were tightly closed in the presence of the Lord. Well, again, he was secondary, I had a goal. I just needed time with my Lord. So i shut my eyes and focused on the worship.
The service ended and I quickly rushed out of the hall. “Mary! Mary!” a voice called from behind me. I looked back, and there was “Perd the strange man” running so fast towards my direction. You are probably wondering why am calling him Perd? It’s because he told me that he was ‘Perd’ when he said hey to me for the first time.
He was panting so hard. As he was gasping for breath he said, “Mary, by the way, am John, I love the Lord. I saw you in the fellowship. It was nice to see you there.”
“Am Mary, of course you know my name, yeah, I needed some time with my Lord too, am going back to the hostel.”
“Can I escort you?” he said.
“Sure…so you play the drums? That’s interesting…and you are John? (laughs)”
That was the beginning of our conversation and yes I got to know his name that evening. He was John, not “Perd, the strange man.”
Mutual faith is non-negotiable. The bible tells us in 2nd Corinthians 6:14. that we should not be unequally yoked. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
Some have misinterpreted this to mean that you should never interact with the unbelievers. That you should bypass them, after all, they are the “perishing lot”. It’s a deception. As a matter of truth you should interact with them. How else will you share the Gospel of Christ? How will you be a light if you are hidden under the table? But then, the Lord cautions us about being unequally yoked – that’s where the cut is.
This reminds me of the Word of the Lord in Deuteronomy 22:10, Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
The law of God was perfectly clear to the children of Israel as to why the ox and the donkey were not to be put together. This was because it was such a counter measure to the goal one wanted to achieve in regards to tilling a furrow land. The ox would end up doing all the work, dragging the donkey around, while the donkey, would probably be making “hee-haw” sounds every time the ox pulled it.
Hope the analogy helps, but this is what the Lord had in mind. It was not about interacting with unbelievers, but making them compromise your faith. Being of the same faith is very important when considering a person as a choice of a spouse to be. You cannot and shouldn’t ever compromise on that based on “how good they are.”
In my course of interaction with people and observation, I have always seen people who are stronger in faith being dragged out of the presence of GOD. 1st Corinthians 15:33 says, Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals. Its highly delusional to think that you will not be affected by anything that battles Christ and your convictions towards Him. One struggles with both the relationship and God since both are on two opposing sides. Only a very insignificant percentage are pulled to the way of the Lord – but that is the exception, not the rule.
The reality is that the unbeliever will jeopardize the believer’s faith, lowers his or her zeal for Christ and never has the same convictions as the believer. Purity might not be on their list, bible study and serving the Lord might be too inconsequential and there will always be potential spots for arguments in a relationship.
I mean, “Why do you have to go to church every Sunday?” “Why do you have to go for bible study?” “Why does fasting mean so much to you?” “Why shouldn’t we have sex, after all, all my friends know I love you?” Such questions will always pressure you into “wanting to make them happy.”
Truthfully speaking, if you are attracted to or dating a believer and you on the other hand do not believe in Christ, consider that it’s their faith that makes them so appealing to you since there is the Lord who perfects him or her every day.
If you are attracted to or dating an unbeliever and you are a believer, you should well consider who do you want to please first? The Lord or yourself. The Lord or your feelings? Genuine faith is what guides a believer and above all things, your faith should be guarded with all due diligence.
“But he is good guy/lady, and the last guy/lady I dated pretended to be a Christian and he/she was not!” – We have a tendency of comparing the previous relationship to the current one, based on the statistics we have at hand and what would favor us, and that is a potential pitfall. Who tells you that they won’t change after marriage? Who will show him/her the way when your foundations are shaken? Who will they run to if they can’t run to Christ?
Consider this, why does your relationship mean so much than your obedience to Christ? If your preference is your relationship and not what God says about NOT compromising your faith over anything, then you are actually practicing idolatry.
You are worshiping a relationship more than God. You are worshiping the creation more than the creator and anything that comes in between the Creator and the creation is an idol. It will perish.
So do not awaken those feelings. Do not pursue that relationship. Do not defraud yourself in matters of salvation. Proverbs 14:12 says, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. You may think it’s right, but it’s not. Worldly standards are not Godly standards.
Miss, you need to be sure that the man who pursues you, loves Christ with all of him. He should be ready to serve Christ first, then you. You are his second love. His first love should be Christ. Nothing short of that. Mr., make sure the lady you pursue loves the Lord with all her heart. She should be ready to die for her faith rather than compromise on anything to keep the relationship.
“But am preaching to them, they look like they will be saved soon. They said they would consider salvation after marriage.” Yes, by all means we have been called to be the LIGHT of the world. The SALT of the earth. Your life should carry the flavor of Christ. That everywhere you go, people are drawn to the cross because of you. You should evangelize to them but you shouldn’t do evangelism dating. That is, dating them in order to evangelize.
Chances are that your candle will blow out even before you begin. Respect them by all means, but you cannot convict them into salvation. That works belongs to the Holy Spirit. Urge them into salvation, point them to Christ, preach the Word to them, but do not be unequally yoked. There is too much stacked against you if you proceed to date someone who doesn’t share in your beliefs. You cannot have God and them competing for supremacy. One will have to dominate.
“But they go to church, they listen to the Word, they are spiritual”. Today I was reading the word in Galatians 6. I love how verse 1 says. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
The Bible says that ye which are spiritual –meaning, who are responsive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit)! So being spiritual is not about sitting down in church from 6am till 6pm. Otherwise we will be Pharisaical Christians, justifying our righteousness with our little piety acts and religious shenanigans.
Being Spiritual is being attuned to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That you sit when He says sit, stand when He says stand, and walk when He says walk. It’s being in tandem with His leading. This is not limited to church, but your whole life – your dating life is in His territorial claim.
Going to church is not an evidence of salvation. This is what Christ was us cautioning against. “Putting” up acts to justify our-righteousness. There is the righteousness of self and the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of self is like filthy rags – Isaiah 64:6, but the righteousness of Christ is imputed in us through believing and confessing that Christ is Lord and was raised from the grave through the power of the Holy Spirit. The righteousness of Christ comes by faith. Believing in Christ and the Holy Trinity. Romans 5:17
“We respect each other’s religion, they can worship their God, and i mine”. Well, do you want a peace treaty or marriage that turns your children into disciples of Christ? That is the purpose of marriage. To build the kingdom by giving love to your imperfect spouse, through all seasons of plenty and lack, and when God gifts you with children, to turn them into disciples of Christ.
Marriage is about showing a fore-taste of heaven.
The more you draw closer to Christ, the more His relationship to you, His love to you means more than any other thing that would come to act a competition or a substitute.
If you are dating them already, you should know that your relationship puts your salvation in jeopardy. If indeed you love them, you should let them first find Christ before yoking onto you. You should be concerned about where they might go if they fail to wake up today. So by all means, you should let that relationship go, both for your sake and their sake – otherwise, they will get saved “because you want”, not because Christ has convicted them, and you will be walking in disobedience.
Another point of caution lies even more so to the believers. People whom you in the same fold, dining at table of the Lord together. Are you dating someone with the same set of “mythos” as you? Do they believe in going to Church on Sunday or Saturday? Do they have reservations on how they dress? Do they believe in baptism or not?
Do they believe in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or not? Do they believe in speaking in tongues or not? Do they find some churches too dramatic and why? Do they believe in the authority God sets in a home? Do they find worship songs boring or do the songs minister to them? Do they believe in making a joyful noise to the Lord or do they find the noise too clamorous?
Do they believe in overnight prayers or do they prefer to stay home? Such are the questions you need to consider before rushing to say “Yes we can date” only for you to realize that he or she hates it when you say, “I need to be in bible study in 20 minutes.”
Kari Jobe, a famous worship singer, talks about how she had to obey the Lord by calling her 6-year relationship off, since her mission in the Gospel and his mission –the man she was dating then – in ministry were not aligned. Yes, the man she was dating was born again, full of the Holy Spirit, a worship lead singer too. But the relationship had to end. The ministry, the purpose God had for Kari Jobe needed to be aligned to God’s purpose, THROUGH BEING FOUND BY HER RIGHT FIT.
So she obeyed. How many of us can let such a relationship go?
I can imagine the heartache. After 6 years, of holding on, fighting to stay afloat, the Lord says, “No more fighting with me, let go!” A year later, she met Cody, their ministries and purpose aligned. They walked down the aisle 2 years later and are now blessed with two children, worshiping along each other and spreading the Gospel of Christ through worship. God has blossomed their ministry and their love! They glow with the radiance of Christ.
How beautiful is the purpose of Christ when we let the Lord direct our steps and are not rigid in letting go our plans for His?
There is always a certain peace that washes over your spirit when your purposes align. I can attest to that.
Do not dismiss the power of spiritual unity. It helped us navigate through the hardest part of our marriage and still does. When we were both at two opposing ends with my husband, Christ was the only source of comfort and His Word, was great rebuke to our hard stances.
Am glad He taught us that we can either decide to be right, or we can decide to be great in our marriage. To be great, we had serve, for the one who desires greatness, has to be servant first (Matthew 20:26). So we chose to be great in our marriage and that involved serving like Christ!
How can you do that if both of you are not submitted to Christ FIRST?
I love serving with my husband in the Lord’s vineyard. We served in worship ministry together in church. We served in missions together. He is strong prayer warrior and calls down the presence of the Lord when he begins to speak the Word. I love seeing him preach. I love seeing him articulate God’s wisdom with preciseness that only Christ can bring. He give me so much wisdom. He corrects me with grace when i am at fault. He ministers to me and our daughter in our living room.
He prays for us, and stands in the gap when I feel weary.
I love serving with him in this singleness and marriage ministry. He has his way of expression, I have mine, but we have one common goal. To build the Kingdom of Christ through pointing all relationships in singleness or in marriage, to Christ.
Do not be unequally yoked.
Singleness in Christ…