A daily devotion written by Dean Collins, President of Point University. He not only brings a fresh insight to the Scriptures, but also he shares personally how God has been leading him throughout his life from a youth in a church youth group to the presidency of a Christian university
We’ve all seen that reality not just in a grade school science experiment, we’ve seen it play out over and over in life. This is one of the reasons so many organizations are focused on the 3 C’s in their hiring practices; Culture, Character, and Competence. Without all 3 you end up with oil and water in your business or organization. Hiring for both character and competence allows an organization to create the right culture. And the reason goes back to our old science experiment.
Oil and water do not mix because oil molecules are hydrophobic, they are not attracted to water. But water molecules are attracted to each other. You can drop some oil in a glass of water and stir and stir but when you stop and let it sit it will pull away from the other water molecules. It simply can’t and won’t join the water.
The apostle Paul speaks to an aspect in his second letter to the Corinthians. The often quoted and misapplied verse says this; “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? “. And the most common application I’ve heard for decades suggests that believers and unbelievers shouldn’t marry each other. There may be some truth to that advice but the apostle Paul wasn’t thinking about marriage when he offered these words.
Paul loved the church in Corinth. He spent much time and effort writing and teaching the believers there. He was open and transparent about his own background and about their need (our need as well) to follow Jesus completely. Paul explained the great ministry of reconciliation and how Jesus reconciles us to God by his death on the cross. Paul continues to explain how once we become saved by Jesus we are called to a ministry of reconciliation.
Take in this powerful truth;
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV).
As Paul continues his teaching he informs us that we must not live like we used to before we came to know Christ. And he urges the church to not mix oil and water in the church. Paul is not saying we should stop building relationships or sharing the love of Christ. Of course we must do that if God is to use us in the ministry of reconciliation. But we cannot run the church properly with practices of the world as our guide. Yes there are some ideas that overlap but the leadership cannot. You either are a believer and live as a new creation or you don’t. Paul explains that light and darkness can’t exist together. Neither can righteousness and unrighteousness.
As christian leaders we must make sure that those we lead are daily seeking to walk in the light. Some Christ followers are leading in secular environments. And there is nothing wrong with that. What we can’t do is compromise who we are anywhere that we lead.
Paul’s advice is intended for the church, for Christ followers. But this idea of partnerships with dissimilar people is true in any environment. If character matters then even the secular audience must hire for character and not just look the other way because someone has a technical skill that is needed. If we don’t focus on our character and our values then eventually there will be a breakdown somewhere in the future.
I will confess that sometimes I’ve thought I got it right because someone could answer all the right questions and say all the right things and maybe even behave properly when there was visibility by others. But character is a 24 hour a day requirement and not just an 8 hour option.
Paul tells us that our bodies are the very temple of a holy God. God lives in us by his spirit. We are promised by God that he will be in us and work through us as we spread his love and help others become reconciled to God. Who we choose to partner with matters because there is a risk that if they do not possess the spirit of God then we may be lured to follow ways that do not align with being vessels of a holy God.
Love everyone. Share Christ’s grace and truth as you do. But be cautious about who you choose to associate with an any meaningful enterprise in life and business.
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV).
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV).