Have you ever tried to paddle a canoe or a boat with someone who just doesn't know what they are doing or is trying to go somewhere different than you? Nothing is more frustrating, is it? You both work furiously, but only go in circles in the water. You may actually tip over.
This is the idea the Bible had in mind when it says to Christians to not be unequally yoked. I get a lot of teens who ask me, What's the big deal about dating an unbeliever?
Well it is a big deal and I'll tell you why.
The Bible says that we shouldn't be "Unequally yoked" with an unbeliever. Now that is kind of confusing for the 21st century. Is the Bible talking about egg yokes or what?
Actually Paul, when writing this to the Corinthian church, had the idea of a team of animals pulling a plow. Now to plow a field effectively, you want the same kind of animals "yoked up" together. A yoke is what binds them to each other and to the plow.
You would never yoke a pony and an ox, would you? Of course not. You'd probably have circular rows instead of straight ones.
As a teen, wanting a girlfriend or a boyfriend isn't a bad thing. Especially as you get close to the end of your high-school career. But if you want God's best for your life and if you really want to experience the greatest joys in a relationship and eventually a marriage, you should follow God's advice. After all, he's the creator of guys and girls and relationships.
If you are "yoked" with someone who doesn't share your value system and your beliefs, then you're in for a rough ride. And don't just settle for any old Christian just because their a Christian. Ask yourself, before considering a relationship, Are they sold out for God? Are they on the same page as me when it comes to life? Do they have a desire to live their lives based on God's Word?
Those are tough questions, but important ones. Save yourself some heartache. Don't give your heart away to someone who doesn't share your faith.
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.