Years ago I dated a young man who was not a follower of Jesus Christ. He was very clear with me that he did not believe in God and that he didn’t want a relationship with Jesus. I had people tell me that I shouldn’t be in a relationship with him because I was “unequally yoked.” I continued a relationship with him because I really liked him, and I thought that maybe things would change.
To Be Unequally Yoked
Before we move on, you may not understand what I mean to be “unequally yoked.” Let’s look at that thought for a moment.
To be “unequally yoked” means that we are in a relationship with someone who believes differently than we do. We hear throughout Scripture God tell his people to not marry those from other nations. Many people have interpreted these verses to mean that we should not marry people of other races. God’s concern was not that His people would have an interracial marriage.
There are several examples of how God desired for “sojourners” or people who were not from Israel to be included in His blessing of His people. Look at Rahab or Ruth. Rahab was a Canaanite who lived in Jericho when the Israelite spies came to reclaim the city. She eventually married an Israelite and would become the mother of Boaz. Ruth was a Moabite who was the widow of one of Naomi and Elimelech’s sons. After the death of her husband, she sojourned to the land of Judah with her mother-in-law, Ruth. She eventually married Boaz and would become the great-grandmother to King David of whom the Messiah would be a descendant.
God told His people not to intermarry with other nations because those other nations did not worship Him as the one, true God. Those other nations worshiped other gods, and God desires for His people to worship Him alone. It is written that both Rahab and Ruth believed in God.
God desires for us to worship Him as the one, true God. He told the Israelites this when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The first of the Ten Commandments is:
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
– Exodus 20:3
God desires for us to be in a covenant marriage relationship with someone who believes in and worships God as the one, true God.
I was in a relationship with a young man who did not. I was unequally yoked.
Are you unequally yoked in your relationship?
3 Tips for Sharing Your Faith When You’re Unequally Yoked
Some of you may find yourself in a relationship like I did. Maybe you are Christian who married an unbeliever. Maybe when you married you were both unbelievers, and there came a point where God drew you into a relationship with Him where you now follow Him, but your spouse does not. There is hope. God can use you to draw your spouse into a relationship with Him by sharing your faith with your spouse. Here are 4 tips for sharing your faith when you’re unequally yoked:
1. Pray for your spouse. God has put you in a unique position to be an intercessor for your spouse. Prayer should not be a last resort for you and your marriage. You will need to spend time daily praying for God to soften the heart of your spouse. You will also need to pray that God will give you opportunities to share your faith with your spouse.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions,
that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
– 1 Timothy 2:1-4
2. Be the testimony. God has put you in a unique position to be the testimony for your spouse. Your spouse needs to see the difference that a relationship with God can make in your life. Here are two ways to be the testimony:
– Live out what it means to be a follower of Christ. Do your best to walk in the ways of God like Paul talks about in Ephesians 4. Consider how you are the fragrant aroma of Christ in how you act and in how you speak to your spouse. When you make mistakes, admit them, and ask forgiveness of your spouse. Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you to show your spouse God’s love.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you
to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
– Ephesians 4:1-3
– Speak about your relationship with God with gentleness and humility. When God opens the door for you to speak to your spouse of your love for God and how He has changed your life, choose to humbly share who God is and what He has done. Approach your spouse with a gentle heart and tongue so that your spouse can receive what is being said.
3. Remember that God is the one who will draw your spouse into a relationship with Him. God has put you in a unique position to sow the seeds of faith in the life of your spouse. Remember that God is not asking you to be the Holy Spirit for them. God will grow the seeds that have been planted. You are not responsible for the harvest.
I dated that young man for almost a year, and we continued to be friends for a few years after our break up. I’ll never forget him telling me that I was the only Christian he would listen to about God. When I think about what he said, it makes me wonder what made the difference for him. I planted the seeds. Maybe someday I will know the answer.
What tips could you share?
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photo by Charlie Foster