Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What Makes a Compatible Marriage?

 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” - 2 Corinthians 6:14

Even if you’re not a basketball fan, you probably know who Shaquille O’Neal is. Shaq was one of the most dominant NBA centers of all time, helping to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to three NBA championships. He’s in the Hall of Fame. But have you ever seen a picture of Shaq standing next to his girlfriend? She’s a lovely woman—but Shaq looks like a giant standing next to her. The top of her head is barely higher than the crook of his elbow! I guess when you’re 7-foot-1, it’s hard to find a girl your height.

Have you ever looked at a couple and thought, “They just look mismatched?” You might see a woman who’s much taller than the man she’s with … or who’s so stunningly gorgeous that you might be tempted to say, “She’s way out of his league!”

My point is this: There are certain couples that we look at and say, “They’re just not compatible.” Sometimes we’re proven right when they have a bitter breakup six months later. At other times, we find ourselves 10 years down the road say, “Huh! I never thought that relationship would work, but I guess I was wrong. They’re still together and they seem happy enough.” Of course, we’re not the best judges of anyone else’s relationship—or even our own. So, let’s take a close look at what God’s Word teaches us about compatibility.

When we talk about compatibility in Christian circles, we usually quote 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”  When the apostle Paul wrote these words, he was speaking to Corinthian Christians who had allowed false teachers to come into their church and persuade them to water down their teaching. So, first and foremost, he was warning the Christians not to get so chummy with false teachers who could lead them away from Christ. However, this verse provides a timeless principle that applies to every relationship Christians are in—including business partnerships, dating relationships and marriage.

So, let’s take a closer look at the term “equally yoked.” When Paul used the term, he was referring back to Deuteronomy 22:10, where God gives the Jewish people the law, “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” You might wonder, “What the heck kind of a law is that?” But as any farmer who doesn’t own a tractor can tell you, teaming up an ox and a donkey is a really bad idea. The average donkey weighs about 500 pounds. The average ox weighs about 2,000 pounds. How can you plow a straight furrow if you’ve got an animal on one side of the yoke that is four times heavier than the animal on the other side? You can’t. God knew they could not work together in harmony. So, He said, “Don’t yoke them together. You’re asking for trouble.”

Interestingly, there was one other problem with yoking an ox and a donkey together. According to Jewish dietary laws, an ox was a “clean” animal. The Jews were allowed to eat it. But they weren’t allowed to eat a donkey. It was an “unclean” animal. So, this obscure law about being unequally yoked wasn’t just for farmers.  It provided this timeless principle for all God’s followers: Those who are “clean” should never be yoked together in close relationships with those who are “unclean.” Or, to say it more simply, those who LOVE God should never enter partnerships with those who DON’T LOVE God.

When a believer marries an unbeliever, a game of spiritual tug of war begins, because they are unequally yoked. And guess who wins the game nine times out of 10? The unbeliever. Why? Because it’s the path of least resistance. It’s just easier for the believer to cave. It’s like the Old Sunday school illustration. One child stands on top of a chair while the other one stands on the floor. They join hands and start pulling. Who almost always wins? The child who’s pulling the other one down. What’s true of kids on chairs is equally true of Christians in marriages that are unequally yoked. The believer has already compromised by choosing a spouse who turned their back on God. So, it’s pretty easy for that believer to compromise a bit more by turning his or her own back on God. Remember, it’s always easier to pull someone down than to pull someone up.

There is no doubt that when it comes to choosing a spouse, God commands us in Scripture to choose a fellow believer. Now, if you are already in an unequally yoked marriage, you’re probably wondering what God wants you to do. If you were a Christian on your wedding day and you knew your fiancĂ© wasn’t a Christian, you need to humbly admit to God that you sinned and ask Him to forgive you. And regardless of whether you were a Christian on your wedding day or became a Christian at some later date, you need to follow what God tells you to do in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. Long story short: Don’t divorce your unbelieving spouse. Husbands, pray for your wife’s salvation. Wives, pray for your husband’s salvation. And ask God to open opportunities for you to lead your spouse to Christ so that you CAN be equally yoked.

Ultimately, a marriage is most compatible when we follow the principles established by God—the Creator of marriage. According to God’s Word, compatibility boils down to three things: values, beliefs and goals. The most successful, happy Christian marriages are those where a husband and wife are on the same page with their values, beliefs and goals. That’s what it truly means to be equally yoked.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

God’s Blueprint for Marriage

 “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
- Genesis 2:18

You’ve probably seen the classic animated Disney movie, “The Little Mermaid.” Early in the film, Ariel shows her sea gull friend Scuttle one of the treasures that she found at the bottom of the ocean: a fork. She asks him, “What is it?” Scuttle makes up a quick answer: “It’s a dinglehopper!” And he shows her the way humans use it … to straighten their hair out.

A little bit later in the movie, Ariel is all dressed up at the dinner table inside Prince Eric’s palace. She looks down at the table and sees one—a dinglehopper!—and she’s so excited. She picks it up and proudly combs her hair with it in front of the prince. Ariel makes a fool of herself.

Now, where did Ariel go wrong? Even a 4-year-old can answer that question. If she wanted to know what a fork was, she should have asked a human, because humans invented forks and humans use forks. But instead of asking a human, Ariel asked a dumb bird.

We Americans are more like Ariel than we like to admit. God is the Creator of marriage. He is the Grand Architect who dreamed up marriage and brought it into being. In the second chapter of Genesis, God shows us His blueprint for marriage. He tells us plainly what marriage looks like and why He created it in the first place. But most Americans today completely ignore what the creator of marriage says about marriage. Instead, they trust the warped opinions of “dumb birds” who pretend to be experts on the subject—our celebrities, political activists and social media influencers.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2001, 35% of Americans supported same-sex marriage. In the 21 years since then, that level of support has almost doubled, to around 62% of Americans. According to the Barna Trends 2017 report, 65% of American adults say that living together without being married is a good idea. But God Almighty, the Creator of marriage, makes it very clear in Genesis 2 that marriage is between one man and one woman. And He makes it clear what the order of events should be: Marriage comes first. Then comes sex. Then come children. And according to God’s Word, changing the order of these three things is not only a really bad idea, it’s sin.

I hope you agree that it’s foolish to ignore what God says about marriage. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Grand Architect’s plan for marriage in the Bible. God’s blueprint outlines three purposes for marriage:

#1: To provide a lifelong helper who is just right for you. Genesis 2:7 tells us that God created Adam before Eve. Then God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (v. 18), but although the garden was filled with living creatures, “for Adam no suitable helper was found” (v. 20.) And so Eve was custom-made by God to be a helper suitable for Adam. This term “helper suitable” literally means “corresponding face-to-face.” It does not in any way indicate that Adam’s wife was inferior to him. Even Adam’s surgery, as God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, demonstrates this. 18th Century Bible commentator Matthew Henry says it so well: “She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

#2: To provide unashamed sexual intimacy that will lead to bearing children. Genesis 2:25 tells us, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” When a husband and wife are face-to-face, naked without shame, they become one flesh as their parts fit together like a perfect puzzle. And this physical intimacy between a husband and his wife is “just right” for bringing a new human life into the world. So we read in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”

#3: To provide a living illustration of Christ’s sacrificial love for the Church. The Apostle Paul points out this third God-given purpose for marriage in Ephesians 5:25-33. This profound passage tells husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (vs. 25). And it ends with the verse, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (v. 33). This model of marriage provides us with a beautiful, powerful, God-given opportunity to display the gospel of love and grace to a world that doesn’t want to HEAR Christians—but is always WATCHING Christians.

If you do a Google search on the definition of marriage, this is what you’ll find: “the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).” I hope that you’ll agree that this is a pitiful, watered-down definition of marriage. It’s a slap in God’s face.

God’s word has equipped us to offer this much more accurate and beautiful definition of marriage. Marriage is a life-long, covenant relationship between one man and one woman. God created marriage for the purposes of close companionship, physical intimacy, bearing and rearing children, and demonstrating Christ’s unconditional love to a watching world. Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is marriage.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Soul-Winning Isn’t a Spectator Sport

 “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others."
– 2 Corinthians 5:11

When I was a student at Pacific Christian College in the mid-’90s, Steven was a student at the university across the street: Cal State Fullerton. But he wasn’t your average underclassman. For starters, Steven had a very interesting sense of style—rumpled clothing, scruffy hair, and thick eyeglasses that he repaired with duct tape when the frames broke. But there was something else unique about Steven. He was 40 years old and had been enrolled as a student at Cal State for more than 11 years, taking just one class a semester. Steven stretched out his time in college as long as possible—because he wasn’t there to get a degree. He was there to tell students about Jesus.

Every Friday at lunchtime, Steven wheeled a small portable grill onto the campus quad, where he grilled free hamburgers for students. He just had one rule: No burgers to go. If you took a free burger, you had to sit down and join him for lunch. And once you did, he’d tell you about Jesus.

I saw that Steven had a burden for lost souls, so I joined him one Friday and gave him a hand. And it took all of about 20 minutes for me to start criticizing his technique. His mannerisms were awkward. He came across a little pushy. And Stephen seemed ill-prepared to respond to students’ intellectual arguments against Christianity. I almost quit. He just wasn’t doing it right! But then I sensed the still, small voice of God speaking to my heart: “Dane, he is doing more to lead people to Me than you’ve EVER done. Shut up and help him.”

One of the greatest evangelists in American history was D.L. Moody. In the 1800s, he shared the gospel (in person or in writing) with at least one hundred million people. A man came up to Moody once and criticized him for the way he went about winning souls. Moody listened politely and then asked the man, “How would you do it?” The man struggled to answer Moody’s question … then admitted that he didn’t do it. Moody’s response was brilliant: “Well, I prefer the way I do it to the way you DON’T do it.”

Steven taught me a lot about being a soul winner for Jesus Christ. He taught me that it’s not about having the perfect words and methods, or even about having an ounce of fashion sense. It’s about having #1: A love for Jesus. #2: A heart for the lost, and #3: A willingness to obediently go and be used by God.

Some Christians may wonder why God doesn’t just take us up to heaven once we’ve made the saving decision to follow Jesus Christ. The answer is simple: We’ve got work to do! As the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5, we “would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (v.8). But God says, “No. Not…yet.” So, what do we do in the meantime? Paul answers in verse 9: “We make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” And according to verse 11, we please Him by trying to persuade others to accept Christ—to turn from death to life. If you love Jesus and you know that He loves the spiritually lost and dying people around you, His love compels you to act: “For Christ’s love compels us” (v. 14).

And if you love Jesus, certainly at some point you’ve desired to be a part of an important ministry for Jesus. Congratulations! You’ve been given one: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v.18). It’s the ministry of bringing people with no purpose to the One who gives their life purpose. Bringing those who have no peace to the Prince of Peace. And bringing individuals who have no hope to the God of all hope: Jesus Christ.

Don’t buy into the lie from Satan that sharing your faith and leading those around you to Christ is some OTHER Christian’s business. It’s not. It’s YOUR business. Soulwinning isn’t a spectator sport. You can’t just be an enthusiastic cheerleader. Christ’s love compels you, it constrains you, it moves you to be His witness to the people around you.

I know that for many Christians, this seems SO daunting. So intimidating! So scary! “I’m an introvert. I’m not GOOD at striking up conversations with people. I don’t know what to say. What if I say something stupid? What if I mess it up and scare people away from Christ? What if my coworkers or neighbors laugh at me and I make a fool of myself?” Believe me, I get it. Like you, sometimes it scares me to share my faith. Sometimes, like you, I worry about saying something wrong. But then the Spirit of God speaks to my heart and asks, “What will happen if you DON’T tell them about Christ?” That’s a sobering thought. The consequences of NOT telling people about Jesus are far greater that the consequences of telling them and somehow failing.

You can’t just hope the people around you will come to Christ. You have to go tell them. You have to go invite them. As you’re living your life and going from place to place, you have to get out of your comfort zone and be used by God wherever you’re going. Like Isaiah, we must say to God: “Here I am! Send me!” 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 2, 2023

How to Obey Jesus’ Marching Orders

 Go and make disciples of all nations.” – Matthew 28:19

Recently I ran across this observation from one of my favorite Bible scholars, Warren Wiersbe: “In most churches, the congregation pays the pastor to preach, win the lost, and build up the saved—while the church members function as cheerleaders (if they are enthusiastic) or spectators. The ‘converts’ are won, baptized, and given the right hand of fellowship, then they join the other spectators.”

Is he right? When it comes to sharing the gospel message, are most Christians just spectators or, at best, cheerleaders? Yes! Why is that? Well, it’s not because it’s SUPPOSED to be that way. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ—aka, a “Christian”—God has called you to share the Gospel.

In Matthew 28, Jesus delivered one of the most important teachings in the Bible … and it’s one of the teachings most often ignored by Christians. He delivered this message after His resurrection, as part of His final marching orders to His followers. This vital teaching of Jesus is usually referred to as The Great Commission.

Jesus spoke to them on a mountain in Galilee, where He had spent most of his time during his three-year public ministry. But as the 11 apostles saw Him in the distance walking toward them, some were uncertain it was Jesus: “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted” (v. 17). It may seem strange that any of the apostles would doubt Jesus at this point, since He had already appeared to them several times since His resurrection. But the Greek word that is translated here as “doubted” doesn’t refer to a fixed, lasting unbelief. Instead, it refers to a state of uncertainty and hesitation. At first some weren’t sure it was Him. But within a matter of minutes, their doubts were removed.

Now, think about your own family and friends. Some are a little slow to accept the truth about Jesus—but they’re not necessarily fixed and unmovable in their unbelief. They’re just uncertain and hesitant. Be patient with them, and keep trying to lead them to Jesus.

That’s what Jesus told them to do as he delivered the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). That’s quite a list of instructions, but in the original Greek, the active command is to MAKE DISCIPLES. Here’s a more literal translation: “As you are going, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Notice that Jesus doesn’t command us to “Go!” He assumes we’re already going. Jesus doesn’t say, “Carve out a day and time once or twice a year to leave the church building to tell people about Me.” He doesn’t say, “On Christmas and Easter make sure you invite someone to church.” And Jesus doesn’t say, “Every once in a while, flip your mental switch and start caring about the spiritually lost people around you.”

Jesus isn’t talking about squeezing something into your busy schedule. In fact, He hates it when you compartmentalize your Christianity and shove Him into a little box on Sunday mornings, or on Christmas or Easter. Jesus is talking about a way of life. AS you are going to work. AS you are going to WalMart. AS you are going out to eat. Wherever you are going, on whatever day you are going there … Make disciples of all nations. 

A disciple is defined as “a student; a learner; a follower.” Jesus isn’t interested in converts—that is to say, people who convert to Christianity just to grab some quick fire insurance to stay out of hell. Jesus isn’t interested in men and women who just give Him lip service. He’s interested in true, born-again disciples—men and women who have truly repented of their sin, gotten baptized and are learning to obey ALL of Jesus’ commands. Jesus isn’t just their Savior. He is truly their Lord.

Jesus commands us to make disciples. So, let me ask you: Are YOU making disciples? As you’re going about your daily routine, are you leading people to Jesus? Are you actively sharing your Christian faith with the people around you? Are you helping at all with new believers’ baptisms? Are you helping to teach Jesus’ commands to new Christians? If you’re not, you are being disobedient to your Lord. You are disobeying one of the most important commands He ever gave you.

Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Christianity is a missionary faith. The very nature of God demands this, for God is love, and God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord’s death on the cross was for the whole world. If we are the children of God and share His nature, then we will want to tell the good news to the lost world.”

Please, when it comes to winning souls for Christ, don’t just be a spectator. Don’t even settle for being an enthusiastic cheerleader. Be an obedient witness for Jesus Christ.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit