Yoked

Day 255

Prayer for the day

Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me . . . Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful.

Scripture for the day

Proverbs 16-18, 2 Corinthians 6

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” These words of Paul have caused much consternation among those who have spent any amount of time in the “world.” How are we supposed to spend time caring for the people God cares about, how are we supposed to do ministry, if we are unable to be with unbelievers?

The key to Paul’s argument is not that we’re not supposed to hang out with unbelievers, but that we’re not supposed to be yoked together. In fact, he says it’s impossible to be yoked together. Being yoked draws from the life of agriculture, where two animals are yoked together in order to accomplish a task more quickly and efficiently. Two beasts of burden are connected by a yoke in order to be able to guide them together. If you put two animals together and they have a different goal, it will be nearly impossible to get anything done. One will go one way, and the other will go the other.

This disunity creates a fundamental problem by separating the two parties. Nothing gets done, and nothing gets done well.

The writer of the Proverbs has a similar concern for the learner. He constantly contrasts the life of righteousness and the life of wickedness in order to precent the yoking together that will destroy the life of righteousness.

Neither is convincing us that we should not be together with people of the world for the purpose of loving them, caring for them, and passing on the love of god to them. Rather, we should not join together with them in assuming we have the same purpose and goal. We should not assume they are “for” the kingdom of God when they are not. We need to ensure that the life we are living is not compromised by an imperfect yoking.

Let us be careful and well-defined in our purposes.

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