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Unequally Yoked with Another

Unequally Yoked with Another

 

Once we truly set out to seek God with all our heart, mind and soul we start to change. We are drawing ever close to the presence of God. More of who God is, is filling our lives. His Spirit is working and molding us inside out. 2 Corinthians 3:18

One area this transformation in our souls becomes apparent is with relationships with non-believers. When we are truly born of God and growing in our new life in Him, these relationships change. It’s more than engaging in different behaviors. It’s more than having a different focus, direction, and mind-set. It’s more than having different values, though all these come into play. There is a divergence occurring on the deepest level of our being.

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?

At the core, believers and non-believers are dwelling in different places; one in Christ the other not. One is growing in truth and love, the other is not. Only from God comes truth and love. Only by being connected to Him can we truly know these. One is an eternal living being and the other is not.

Though a believer’s love for non-believers grows as they draw near to God, the ability to deeply connect begins to wane. A true believer and a non-believer can’t be truly yoked. Being yoked is connecting to others on a deep level within our souls. We connect when we are in a similar place internally. When we connect at this level, there is a powerful depth and intimacy that is shared. There is a special connection that is made and each life is greatly influenced by the other. Yoking is what we desire in our marriages and our closest friendships. It’s a deep connection between two souls.

Recently, I learned a great lesson in unequal yoking. I have a friend from my days prior to having a relationship with God. I called myself a Christian. I presumed I was saved, but I didn’t seek God. I didn’t walk with Him. During that time in my life though she was a non-believer, we were in a similar place internally and our souls became yoked.

As I started to seek God and His ways, a gap between her and I started to form. Our relationship became strained because I was no longer where I used to be – in that internal place where we so strongly connected. The spiritual battle in our relationship grew. You could feel the underlining tension as the gap widened. My love for her didn’t fade, but my ability to connect with her as I once had did.

For months, I didn’t understand what was happening. I prayed for our friendship. I tried to nurture our connection. I thought it was a phase. Then one day as I was praying for counsel in this relationship, the Holy Spirit cut through the whirlwind in my head as I tried to get my mind around what was happening and impressed upon me the verse above. We were unequally yoked. I can’t be how I once was with her. The love remains, but our deeper connection is gone.

The Holy Spirit simply told me what had already happened and what I knew deep down – our connection as it once existed was gone – the yoke was broken. I needed to accept it for what it was and let go.

The connection between a true believer and non-believer is limited. They are simply in two different places spiritually. It doesn’t mean we can’t have relationships with non-believers. It means that it will only be at a certain level, and should be at a certain level. We shouldn’t be trying to form a “yoke”. We can be very blessed by relationships with all kinds of people of all walks of life. However, when it comes down to connecting with others at the depth of our soul, being yoked, we are to focus on connections with believers. With non-believers we can only connect so much, there will always be a gap as there is between life and death. And what communion has light with darkness?

For your relationships with non-believers, seek God’s will for you and them. Sometimes we have to let go. Sometimes we have to embrace the limitations. Sometimes we have to reconnect at a different level.


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Insight into Old Testament Laws PART 3

Insight into Old Testament Laws

PART 3

 

Continuance from previous posts

This entry is the last one of three on seeking understanding of the Old Testament Laws  …  Again, I’m addressing these because we know God doesn’t change, and when we read these “nonsensical” laws it can be confusing to why He did what He did. Learning about God is an on-going search and discovery. It’s a process, and in that process of seeking Him we are changed.

Specifications on trimming men’s hair Lev. 19:27

This rule reminded the Israelites that they belonged to God. The Israelites were different and to be set apart from other nations.  Their appearance was a reminder to them and other nations that they were special. We do the same today in that we dress to associate ourselves within certain groups of people. It was an outward symbol that others could see to know what group they belonged.

God’s people are to be separate from the world. We are to in the world but not of it. True separation starts in the heart.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev. 15:19-24

Menstrual flow is symbolic of blood covering death for there to be life again. It’s a reminder/ symbol of God’s design, that when there is death, blood is needed as a covering for there to be life.  The un-cleanliness of a woman was due to the death of the seed in her.  This rule is similar to the one in which someone was considered unclean if he touched a dead person. Physical death teaches us about spiritual death. A woman was unclean because death (spiritual) isn’t good. It’s contrary to God, who is life. In Jesus Christ spiritual death was destroyed, as signified by His resurrection. When we are in Him, we overcome spiritual death.

The uncleanliness of death is to teach us spiritual death isn’t good and the blood to remind us that blood (blood of Christ) when it covers us brings life.

Punishment of death for Adultery Lev 24:14

Over and over in the Bible, adultery is used to illustrate what we are doing spiritually when we have idols or put our trust in other things other than God. If we commit spiritual adultery, we will face spiritual death. However, in Christ we are forgiven and thus delievered from spiritual death.

Spiritual adultery is a VERY serious matter. Therefore, physical adultery was very serious; the physical points to the spiritual. When we have this kind illustration, we gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of spiritual adultery, a seriousness we have lost today.

Homosexuality

As for Homosexuality, the original issue brought up along with these other laws, is also not allowed in the New Testament – therefore it still stands. Romans 1:27 The other laws Christ altered with His fulfillment of the law and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the Bible marriage and the relations between a man and a woman are symbolic of our relationship with God. Sexual laws are ones that point to spiritual purity. One man (who represents Christ) is to be united to one woman (who represents the church). Not man to man or woman to woman.  As woman is united to one man, we each are to be united to only One, Christ, in purity and holiness.

Further Reading … Man of Love, Man of War

We need to have the humility and understanding that we aren’t God and seek truth and understanding from Him as to His ways. His ways are so far above ours that we won’t ever fully understand for we don’t have His mind, but if we seek then God promises to enlighten us as best as we can understand at the time.


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Learning from Old Testament Laws PART 2…

Learning from Old Testament Laws

PART 2

 

Continuance from previous post

Penalty of death for breaking the Sabbath Exodus 35:2

Because most of us struggle with sanctification without works, God designed a potent instruction tool, the Sabbath. God established the law of the Sabbath as a picture and foreshadowing of entering into His ultimate rest in Christ.  On the Sabbath His people were ordered not to do any work. The consequences of not honoring this day were severe. In Numbers 15:32-36, on the Sabbath, a man was gathering sticks in the wilderness; a seemingly low effort and harmless task. His penalty? Death. The Sabbath law was not to be taken lightly. Exodus 31:14

The day was established to remind us that God sanctifies us and not our efforts. Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. (Ezekiel 20:12) If we try even with the smallest effort, like picking up sticks, we are going against the will of God. Christ fulfilled the entire law including the Sabbath. The requirement of rest pointed to Christ who would be our eternal rest and free us from having to earn our righteousness by obeying the law. He became our rest and we became holy. We are no longer bound to any law because He perfectly filled each one. There is nothing we add to it and it is to our determent if we try to. We are to accept what He has done and rest in grace. We all fall into the performance trap, but the question is in what race are we trying to run, of works or grace?

Galatians 3:24-25, Colossians 2:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

From the severity of the consequences of the Sabbath Law, we can see how important learning and abiding by this truth is to God. It’s critical to our spiritual survival to rest from attempting to earn our righteousness. If we try to live by the law then that is how we will be judged. If we break one iota then we have broken it altogether and we are accountable. The man who picked up sticks that one afternoon was put to death. It is all or nothing. And no one can fulfill the whole law. We are human and we will fall short. This path, which the majority of the world attempts to walk, has one end, death. Conversely, if we live by grace then we are judged by grace, and we abide in freedom and perfect assurance of our salvation and sanctification.

Ezekiel 33:13, Romans 4:4-5

Christ saves and sanctifies. Most of us trust Him with saving our souls but when it comes to sanctification we intervene. If the core motivation to give to the poor, tithe, go to church, say a prayer, go to a Bible study, work for a ministry, and help with the homeless is to earn a high ranking in His kingdom or make us more worthy then our trust is in the wrong place. It’s clear by the consequences of breaking the law that God doesn’t tolerate us attempting to sanctify ourselves. It’s critical that we know this truth deep in our souls. Resting means we trust God to sanctify us alone. A good way to test if you are resting in Him is to stop doing those things for awhile and see what you feel in your soul. If you feel guilt, you are trusting in the wrong thing.

Galatians 5:4-5

Restrictions on eating certain foods Lev. 11:10

Eating represented eternalizing certain spiritual doctrines. Foods were symbolic of what was unclean, the philosophies contrary to God’s truth and ways and the ones those other beliefs come from. The restrictions on food were a constant reminder that what we take in (other philosophies) affects our bodies, minds, and spirits. If it is tainted then we are tainted.

The Israelites were commanded not to mingle with other nations because their philosophies and beliefs would influence them and lead them astray from God, which they did. Abstaining from certain foods was a constant reminder of this truth.

At the coming of Christ, life was able to go to all men so that all could enter God’s presence not just the Israelites. Anyone God purifies is pure. Acts 10:12-16 There are no more divisions in Christ, all can come to God through Christ. However, it is still critical for us not to mingle the truth of God with other philosophies. Matthew 16:6, 12.

 

Touching unclean animals Lev 11:8

Again this addresses staying away from other philosophies that aren’t of God because of our ability to be influenced by them. Without the Holy Spirit people had to stay completely separate from these other nations and ideas. They lacked discernment, wisdom and counsel. They easily gave into those ideas. The restrictions on animals represented that separation and served as a constant reminder.

To be continued …


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Eternal Truths of those CRAZY Old Testament Laws

Eternal Truths of those

CRAZY Old Testament Laws

An email was forwarded to me from a man who listed several points about the Word of God in a response to the claim by Dr. Laura that homosexuality is an abomination according to the Word of God. He addressed issues regarding the laws of the OT (Old Testament), in which he thought they were nonsensical. His point was to show the laws were absurd and therefore dismiss anything it may say about homosexuality. Many stumble at these issues so I felt it was important to talk about them. Here I address each of the topics he mentioned. I hope this brings some light though I realize there is much to learn.

Seeking with a mindset to truly know and not to lift ourselves above God allows us to be open to learn from Him. If we seek to know God as He is, then we will start to see the perfection in all His ways, and how all works together to teach us and instruct us. God is love. All He does is in love. As we seek to understand His truths with this mindset and trust the Holy Spirit to teach us, we see that is the case.

Before we get started a couple of points. The Word is written layer upon layer so that each passage holds layers of truth. It’s incredibly rich and deep, which makes seeking and learning an on going process. Second, those of the OT didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide and to teach them, therefore they needed numerous external rules to live by. Third, the stories and events of the OT point to spiritual truths, eternal truths. The laws are symbolic and reminders of God’s truth. Each one pointed to a deeper spiritual truth, and those truths endure though many of the rules do not – as they were no longer need with the coming of Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

God is God and we are not. We see a sliver. He sees eternity. He knows how all works together. We think we know better and we know best, we don’t. God knows our nature better than we do. He understood that the Israelites needed boundaries, rules, reminders of His truths to be constantly before them. He understood if you give people an inch they take a mile. God knows the human nature better than any. All the “rules” were for the Israelites protection and continuance of a nation. He needed to protect them because from that lineage Christ would come. At the manifestation of Jesus Christ not only was He the perfect fulfillment of the law but we are now able to receive the Holy Spirit to guide us so we didn’t need all those outward reminders. Further, God was building illustrations that taught eternal truths and many pointing to Christ. On with the issues …

Slavery Leviticus 25:44, Exodus 21:7

God allowed slavery for a reason to serve certain purposes. It caused history to play out in a certain way. We can’t understand the beginning from the end or the full purpose of its existence, because all we’ve know is history with it. Like today, our systems serve certain purposes though far from perfect. Some systems seem unfair, but that is our estimation. We aren’t qualified to judge, because we see only a sliver of time. We think we know what fair is. We haven’t a clue. We don’t see the beginning and the end. We don’t understand the fullness of our purpose here on earth. Ecc 3:11 We are trying to play God when we think we do.

In addition, the way the world is at any one time is to teach us spiritual truths and the “negative” teaches just as much as the positive, if not more so. Slavery in the physical taught us about slavery in the spiritual. If there was no slavery we would lack understanding. We can’t see the spiritual so the physical is there to teach us about it in a way we can understand.

The more important truth is we are all slaves either to God or to “Satan”. It’s the spiritual life that matters much more than the physical. The physical life is but a nit; the spiritual for eternity. We put far too much weight on the physical and not enough on the spiritual life. Many people today are slaves to greed, lust, and a whole host of things that are far worse than physical slavery. And it this internal slavery that Christ came to free us from. Freedom is an illusion to those who are slaves to this world.

Matthew 10:28 , 1 John 5:19, Titus 2:9, James 4:14

Animal sacrificesLev 1:9

Animal sacrifices pointed to Christ. God designed this world that life is to be given for life for there to be forgiveness; blood for blood. The sacrifice of the animals was to teach us about the seriousness of our sin – how it separates us from God and what is required for us to be reunited to Him – the life of another. For the Israelites, it was a constant reminder of their need for forgiveness and that it’s only life that can pay the price for sin.

With Christ, the eternal sacrifice, an animal sacrifice and having to do it over and over is no longer needed.

Further reading – Lesson in Sacrifice

To be continued ….