Choose Your Friends Wisely
Being unequally yoked ... You’ve probably heard this term or read it somewhere. But, have you ever stopped and thought about what it really means? Have you thought about how it applies to you? You might be surprised how much it really makes a difference in your life, both being yoked equally and being yoked unequally.
Before we dig deeper, let’s look at the phrase itself.
First of all, what is a yoke? A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two animals together so that they can work together to pull a load, like a wagon. An unequally yoked team will consist of animals that are different in some way that causes them to pull the load unevenly.
Let’s use oxen as an example. One ox might be stronger than the other, or taller than the other, or walk more slowly than the other. All of these differences cause problems, making it difficult for them to pull the load. In fact, many times, these differences will cause the oxen to pull the load in circles.
Even if both animals are well trained to pull a load, they won't be able to pull the load correctly because of their differences. In order to be able to pull the load, each ox will need to be paired with another ox that has the same characteristics – the same height, the same strength and the same speed.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony does Messiah have with Belial (the devil)? Or what part does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 TLV
So, what does this mean for you and me?
People who are not committed to having a relationship with God won’t think the same as someone who puts God first and wants to follow the commands that God has given. They will be willing to do things that are sins without even giving it a second thought. After all, everyone else is doing it. They may think differently than you about whether God even exists, which god is the true God, having sex with others outside of marriage, keeping the Sabbath, celebrating certain holidays or not celebrating certain holidays, eating non-kosher foods, etc. You get the picture.
It’s okay to be friends with people who believe differently than you; however, you may not want to have deep relationships with them, putting yourself in situations that can be difficult. After all, we cannot be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14) and witness to others if we don't interact with them. You must be careful, however, and not open yourself up to sin and temptation.
Let’s look at a couple examples.
Let's say ... you’ve become really good friends with an unbeliever. In fact, they’ve become your best friend. You both want to spend time together and do everything together.
Their parents have planned a big party to celebrate their upcoming birthday. Your friend is really excited and can’t wait to spend the day celebrating with you. They’ve scheduled the party on the Day of Atonement, a day you would normally fast and pray. It’s on the beach, and they'll be having a shrimp and crab boil. They will also be having a ceremony and saying prayers to the god they serve. What do you do? Your friend will be devastated if you don’t attend. In fact, it could end your friendship with them. You’ve gotten yourself into a very difficult situation. How likely would this have happened if you had gone out and made friends with kids who have the same beliefs as you?
What if you have a crush on your friend's sister/brother and you know she/he will be there? It will be the perfect opportunity to get to know them better and to have them notice you, but if you don't go to the party, it's likely they'll never talk to you again. Makes things even harder, doesn't it?
Let’s look at another example.
You’re at a party with some of your nonbelieving friends. Any number of scenarios can play out at this party. Maybe someone brings out drugs and they’re pressuring you to use them. Or, perhaps lots of people start making out and someone is coming on to you. You feel uncomfortable, but you want to fit in. What do you do? You may want to leave, but the party is way out in the country somewhere, and you didn’t drive. So, now you’re stuck.
Or, what if that someone who is coming on to you is someone that you like? They've never shown you much attention, but suddenly they are at this party. Now, what do you do?
How likely would this have happened if you had gone out with kids who had the same beliefs as you?
It's amazing how Satan knows just where and how to attack us, isn't it? And sometimes our decisions make it so easy .... placing ourselves in situations and with people who don't believe the same as we do.
These situations could have been avoided by choosing to have a relationship with someone who has the same beliefs as you, in other words, if you had been equally yoked.
It’s okay to be friends with someone who has different beliefs than you. It’s best, however, not to develop deep relationships with them. Those relationships can make your life more difficult than it needs to be. Even worse, those relationships can lead to situations that may tempt you to do things you would not otherwise consider.
Therefore submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8a
Have you ever experienced difficult situations because you had a relationship with someone who had different beliefs than you?
Please share your experiences in the comments if you had problems with this issue. What happened and how did you solve any problems you experienced?
Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.
You become like the people with which you surround yourself. Therefore, whether you are choosing friends or choosing someone to date, it’s important to choose wisely. Ask yourself, will they help you grow in your walk with God? Will they hurt your walk with God? Will you end up walking in circles if you become yoked with them instead of walking a straight and righteous path?
Heavenly Father, I pray that you will guide me to choose the friends that you have chosen for me, friends that I will be equally yoked with. Help me to surround myself with people who will make me a better person. Help me to be a good friend and a good influence on others. Guard my path so that I do not choose the path you do not want me to take. May my path be straight and not walking in circles.
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© 2020 Cindy Murdoch