Today in my quiet time, I read from 2 Corinthians chapter 6. There is a section that we famously know (verse 14).
2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (NKJV)
It says to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. A yoke is a wooden beam that holds the necks of two cows together. This yoke enables them to move in unity to plough the land or pull a carriage. The yoke requires the cattle to be of the same build and strength to handle the task ahead of them. When one is not equally yoked, it is akin to having a cow and a donkey yoked together. They will most probably hurt one another and not make any progress.
The instruction here is clear; that intimate relationships with people who don’t share your faith is not a good idea. When I thought about this truth, such relationships came to mind: marriage partners, accountability partners, best-friends and prayer partners. If we yoke ourselves with unbelievers in such relationships, we deprive ourselves of a deep intimacy in those very relationships that can only be attained by mutual spirituality. Of course, this does not mean that a Christian can never befriend an unbeliever. Of course they can. Only by believers interacting with unbelievers can we have an impact for them. Paul calls from separation from unbelievers not isolation from them. When Paul talks of being unequally yoked, he is stating that there are depths of relationships that can only and should only be graced by fellow believers.
However, as I kept reading I realised something I had never noticed in the text. After giving a couple of reasons why having intimate relationships with unbelievers is not wise, Paul the Apostle gives another reason why we should take this command to heart. This is what he says in verse 18.
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (NKJV)
When we pursue intimate relationships with unbelievers, we deprive ourselves of intimacy with God. There is a side of God that we can never fathom if our deepest relationships are not with those of His children. We miss out on the fatherhood of God. We fall short of knowing him.
The enemy is committed to making believers disunited. God calls us to unity (John 17:21). When we reject intimate relationships with fellow believers, we tacitly endorse the enemy’s agenda. And the enemy will always be keen to give you reasons not to obey the Lord.
It is also worth noting that infrequent contact with believers will often make you spiritually wither. God created the faith to function in fellowships. May you not deprive yourself this year.