November 1

It’s Because God is There

II Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

The scripture above has been used (rightly) to keep Christians from marrying unbelievers, and prevent ungodly alliances in the business world. The usual teaching associated with this admonition involves the effect on the people directly and indirectly involved.

For instance, a Christian and an unbeliever can’t “walk together [spiritually) unless they are agreed” (Amos 3:3). In a marriage, there are obvious future problems regarding the most important issues in this life, and the effects on the children are often devastating. While such a marriage can “work” in a shallow sense depending on the people involved, it can never have the spiritual unity and power it would have if both people involved were believers.

For business partnerships, the usual message is that it is dangerous for Christians to hand over control—over the believers themselves or the business endeavor in which they are engaged—to people who don’t belong to Christ. This is Paul’s New Testament interpretation of being “unequally yoked,” which harkens back to agriculture, plowing, and oxen. The usual warning is not to allow an unbeliever to have significant influence over the direction and outcome in relationships and partnerships. The reason generally given is that this will put the believer in many an awkward position when it comes to the moral side of future business decisions. This can lead to both personal hardship and business stress, if not outright failure.

But the deepest reason has everything to do with God, not us. After asking many questions relating to the incompatibility of darkness with light, etc. (see above), Paul comes to the real issue. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. God’s desire and promise is to “dwell in [us] and walk among [us]”. Yes, it creates untold problems if we marry an unbeliever or if we make a business partnership with an unbeliever. But the more critical reason for not doing so is because we belong to Him, and He is our God. He has purposed to be deeply involved in the lives, thoughts, and actions of His people (“I will dwell in them and walk among them”). If we partner with someone who is not the temple of God, this is an affront to God and an obstacle to His dwelling and walking with us.

Yes, it’s smart and right and good of us to obey God. Obedience to God is rewarded many times over. But the ultimate reason stated here is for His benefit, glory and pleasure, not ours.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You give us warnings to protect and bless us. Give me eyes to see, though, when the primary reason Your Word states something is for Your benefit and glory. May I make the kind of decisions that allow You to dwell in me and walk with me freely.

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