From the time I was little until now they have been an integral part of my life. They have kept me from drowning, they have danced with me, sang with me, and even yelled at me. I have chosen them or have been chosen by them, they have kept me on the right path and at times led me astray. I have been enriched by knowing them and saddened at where they ended. I am talking about partners.
From swimming partners at camp to my marriage partner I have experienced the joys and frustrations that come with trying to work together with another person. Sometimes partnerships are with one person other times they are with groups, but whatever the number they have common characteristics.
One writer describes a healthy relational partnership as being mature, honest, respectful, empathetic, affectionate, and humorous. The bottom line about any partnership are three things: 1. You agree on the goal, 2. You have common beliefs, and 3. You have each other's back. It is important that we pick our partners carefully. Often we enter a partnership with different goals or beliefs and the outcome is always disastrous.
I had a simple partnership one day. Our common goal was to change the theatre stage light bulbs. Our common belief was that the best way to achieve it was to use an extended "A" frame ladder, and of course, the trust of the climber that the holder would not let go. I was the one who climbed the twenty five feet in the air to reach and change the light bulbs. All was well until a young lady strolled across the stage and engaged my partner in a conversation distracting him from our partnership. He no longer had my back, and when the ladder began rolling toward the edge of the stage I was quick to remind him of his obligation. All turned out well, but my trust in this partner was shaken.
Partners in marriage, partners in money, and partners in life are important to chose wisely. The Apostle Paul had just talked about the children of disobedience. Their behavior was bringing about the wrath of God. He wanted the Ephesians to chose carefully and warned them not to partner with them. It is easy to succumb to the belief that you can work with someone with differing goals and beliefs and remain unstained by their corrupt behavior. The bible says that a little leaven leavens the whole batch, and it doesn't take much dirt to ruin clean water.
We are told not be unequally yoked and the passage isn't referring to only marriage. What does light have to do with darkness, want does sin have to do with righteousness, and what does God have to do with demons? The answer is nothing. Then why do we partner with them?
This doesn't mean we shouldn't have non believing friends. If we didn't who would share the gospel with them, but it does mean that our close relationships should be with people who are of like mind and faith.
The Apostle was extolling the Ephesians to maintain the high call of unity, but it doesn't happen in an environment of conflicting beliefs and goals. With our foundation built solidly on the gospel of Christ, the teachings of the Apostles and prophets, and the filling of the Holy Spirit we can partner together to, not only maintain unity, but build the kingdom of God.
Who have you partnered with today? I'm just saying...
Ephesians 5:7,8 "Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."