What it Means to be Equally Yoked

Being equally yoked begins and ends with how much a couple shares the same faith and dreams. Here is a glimpse of what being equally yoked means. 

The term “equally yoked” is often related to marriages and relationships. This term might be familiar in a biblical sense, but it transcends beyond that. 

What does it truly mean to be equally yoked? Why does it even matter? 

What Does It Mean to be Equally Yoked?

The Bible clearly states in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to “not be equally yoked” with unbelievers. But, what does this mean? 

In a literal sense, being equally yoked means being “joined with the same.” To be equally yoked means moving in the same direction. In Amos 3:3, one can’t walk together with someone unless they both agree. There must be an agreement between two people. Moving in the same direction means they have the same goal or objective. They need to share the same beliefs, values, and morals as well.

Being equally yoked can mean marrying someone with the same beliefs and religion. But it can also extend beyond that. All relationships should be purposeful and glorify God, and not just in marriage. 

What is a Yoke?

To better understand the context of being equally yoked, it’s best to delve into agricultural terms.

In farming, a yoke joins two oxen together to accomplish the goal of tilling the land. There is a wooden harness tied around the two oxen’s necks that bound them to each other. This process allows the two oxen to work together and move in the same direction. It’s also essential for the two oxen to be the same. If one ox is shorter or weaker than the other, the workload will become harder. 

When animals aren’t equally yoked, they don’t work together to complete the objective; instead, they work against each other. Another biblical reference that exhibits God’s warning about being unequally yoked is in Deuteronomy 22:10. The Bible verse states to not yoke two entirely different animals to plow. 

What Does the Bible Say About Being Equally Yoked?

Context of 2 Corinthians 6:14

Paul urges believers in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to not form partnerships with unbelievers because this might weaken their Christian commitment, integrity, or standards. It would be a mismatch.

The notion of being unequally yoked with someone started with Deuteronomy 22:10. This Bible verse shows that God prohibits the yoking of two different animals together. This principle applies to human relationships as well. But, how can we become unequally yoked with unbelievers? 

One of the most common ways to do this is by marrying an unbeliever. If one wants a successful and happy marriage, they need to be equally yoked with their partner. They’ll be working against each other in their marriage if they don’t share the same beliefs, values, or even morals.

However, Paul means something more than only marrying an unbeliever. It indicates the environment we allow to influence our minds and beliefs. It is also a warning about idolatry. God demands us to never conform to the patterns of this world. If you constantly immerse yourself in ungodly ways, you will slowly assimilate evil practices. That’s why God wants lesser association with unbelievers as much as possible. You need to create an appropriate distance with unbelievers, so they can never influence you negatively. 

Other Bible Verses that Refer to Being Equally Yoked

You will be influenced by the people you choose to associate with frequently. As the saying goes, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” You develop the same habits from the people you’re close with as you spend more time together. (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Choose your friends wisely. If you’re already a believer, stick with godly friends that will pray for you and help you. (Proverbs 13:20)

The term “equally yoked” is based on this verse. God commanded the people of Israel to avoid yoking two different animals. If they do, it would be ineffective in plowing and the animals would be at odds with each other. (Deuteronomy 22:10)

When you are not equally yoked, you will be working against each other. You need to be going in the same direction to walk together peacefully. You both need to be going in the same direction. (Amos 3:3)

A follower of Jesus has godly ambitions and focuses on the Kingdom agenda. But, ungodly people chase selfish ambitions and satisfy their worldly desires. 

Why is Being Equally Yoked Important?

Obedience to God

In John 14:15, Jesus said that “If you truly love Me, you will keep my commandments.” 1 Samuel 15:22 states that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” 

Being equally yoked is not just a suggestion, but it is also a command. The motive behind obedience should be the passionate love for God. He desires obedience more than sacrifices. When we obey God, we please Him. It’s easy to obey someone you love. 

Spiritual Unity

It’s highly essential to possess spiritual unity as a believer. There will be less discord because your set of values won’t misalign. Spiritual unity will strengthen your bond because it’s a higher level of intimacy with your partner. 

Our Bodies are the Temples of the living God

Our body is the temple of the living God, so we need to use it to honor Him. Immoral behaviors should be out of the picture. Vices and bad practices are discouraged. Abusing our body will not bring honor to God at all. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

So, believers shouldn’t associate themselves with people who practice ungodly ways for they will learn and assimilate their bad habits as they spend more time with them. 

What Areas Should We Strive to be Equally Yoked?

Marriage

It is of paramount importance to be equally yoked in marriage. Your marriage partner will be your lifelong partner through thick and thin. The most important decision to make in life is to choose the right marriage partner. 

If a couple doesn’t share the same goals, more conflicts and frustration arise because their values and beliefs are not aligned. It does not mean you have to be in perfect harmony at all times and agree on everything. There are differences you need to work and manage together. However, you must agree on the most important aspects of life like faith, family, and finances.

Being unequally yoked can ruin the marriage. If you’re constantly at odds with each other, you won’t cultivate love and peace. Instead, you will always sow conflict and division. 

An example of being unequally yoked is when you would want to go to church on Sunday, but your spouse just wants to stay at home or hang out with friends. 

Dating

Dating is the stage where you get to know more about your partner before marriage. It’s the phase where you decide whether both of you are willing for a lifelong commitment. 

Being equally yoked in dating is also important as marriage. You wouldn’t want to waste your emotions and time, right? Don’t invest so much in a relationship that’s not equally yoked. If you invest too much, it might leave you emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. 

If you’re already unequally yoked in dating, how much more in marriage? Think and choose wisely. Dating is not just for fun but a stage to help you discern the right partner. 

Work

How can you be equally yoked at work? It means working in a company that’s in line with your professional goals and vision. You must support the vision and direction of the company for you to be equally yoked. You must agree with how the company operates and manages its people. 

Colossians 3:23 states that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” When you don’t agree with the fundamental direction that the organization you work for is taking, it’s tough to work for the Lord. 

Church

Being equally yoked at church is quite similar to how it is at work. It means that you need to agree with the direction of the church. 

Friendships

The people you hang out with most of the time will influence you massively. You are a reflection of your closest friends. Yoking is something you choose to do, not compelled to do. Choose friends that can help bring out the best in you and influence you positively. 

Signs You are in an Equally Yoked Relationship

You both believe in God and share the same faith

Sharing the same faith plays a pivotal role in your relationship. As the Bible says, righteousness and unrighteousness have nothing in common. Even God Himself separated light and darkness in the days of creation.

Being unequally yoked can harm your relationship. Although there might be some differences that both of you need to understand, your faith should be the same. Just like Joshua, he wanted his whole household to serve God. It will be difficult to serve God when your partner persecutes you and is against your beliefs. 

You share the same goal in serving God

Your relationship should be purposeful. The purpose should be to glorify and please God. When you come together in a relationship, it must be because of God. Not merely for your selfish desires, but because God ordained it. 

In marriage, your goal should be to find a helper in doing the Kingdom agenda. God presented Eve to Adam to be his helper. Eve became Adam’s wife and helped him take care of God’s creation. 

You share the same godly beliefs and values

Both of you should share the same godly beliefs and values. You should set standards that are godly and biblical. As a believer, you can’t be equally yoked if your partner has traits that are against the scripture. 

You share the same outlook on life

Being equally yoked means sharing the same outlook in life. You both need to be optimistic and hopeful of God’s promises in your lives. It’s hard to stay positive when your partner is always cynical about everything. Especially when doing the ministry, it won’t be easy having a partner constricting and persecuting you consistently. 

Benefits of Being Equally Yoked

Blessing from God

God detests unrighteousness and sin. He warns godly people about unbelievers because He doesn’t want them to follow their examples. When you yoke yourself with believers, God’s wrath will not fall upon you. Instead, it will delight Him and bless you abundantly. There are blessings in obeying God and pursuing righteousness. 

Spiritual unity

Being equally yoked means being spiritually united. It transcends physical intimacy and goes to another level of being intimate. You both agree on your set of values and beliefs. It entails spiritual connection and oneness. 

Less conflict

Since there is mutual support and agreement, there will be less conflict. You won’t have to argue about the big things. You both already understand why you’re walking together and what direction to take.  

Serving God together

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls, one can help the other up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) It is more effective doing the ministry when the couple shares the same faith. 

Values Incorporated in an Equally Yoked Relationship

Devotion

You and your partner must love and care for one another deeply. You devote yourself to your partner at all times. There is mutual support for your partner.

Commitment

Commitment means dedication. It means loving and staying with your partner in highs and lows. No matter what happens, you won’t give up on each other. 

Respect

Without respect, there is no love. You won’t harm each other physically or emotionally. You trust each other because both of you are transparent and honest. You don’t invalidate your partner’s feelings and try to empathize with them at all times.

Maturity

You understand and accept each other regardless of your flaws. When your partner disappoints you, you don’t punish them by refusing to love them. You both communicate and talk to each other effectively. You can manage conflict and solve problems by acting matured. You both seek assistance when you need it.

Security

You feel safe and secure in your relationship. You both work on the relationship by talking about how to make it mutually satisfying.

Achievement

There is a shared perspective of what success looks like in life. You both endeavor to attain it individually and also as a couple. Both of you have the same ambitions and strive to achieve them together. 

The Dangers of Being Unequally Yoked

To yoke yourself with someone is a choice. However, whatever you decide to do, there will always be consequences. When you obey God, you receive His blessing. When you disobey Him, you suffer the consequences. Remember, God wants the best for everyone. He wants everyone to obey Him because He knows the best path for us. 

Being unequally yoked with someone is dangerous. It might cost you your inner peace and emotional well-being. When you are constantly working against your partner, it will only bring frustration and conflict. It might then lead to anxiety and depression. Not only that, but it will also displease God substantially. 

In Summary

Being equally yoked with someone is always a decision. However, you must exercise caution when executing your freedom to choose. Who you spend time with the most will influence you immensely. Those people can be a good influence or a bad influence. So, choose who to yoke with wisely. 

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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