In my mid 20s the words I suck would run through my head when something went wrong. I would literally say the words “I suck!” Whether this was because of work, play, or relationships it was there. I was agreeing with the enemy.
Last week I asked us to consider that the enemy cares about our singleness. Now we are no more or less under attack than a married person, but just like a lot of things it plays out in certain ways within our particular context. So today I want to talk a little about what that looks like and how to see it.
The first place we can see spiritual attack is against our identity.
It’s important to distinguish between voices here. Remember we can hear from God, our flesh, and from the enemy. For example when we do something wrong, God speaks in a convicting way – it’s direct and at the wrong action. Our flesh usually focusses on guilt. The enemy focusses on condemnation – in other words – he comes at our identity.
This is where my “I suck” stuff came in. Now what happens is that the enemy throws us the thought and then we begin to agree with it. This is one way we can let the enemy have a foothold. Once we agree with it then he can run with it. Condemnation does not come from God. God is not saying, “You Suck”, “You’re Worthless,” “You’re ugly,” “You’re stupid”, “You’ve messed it all up, there’s not hope”, “You’re disqualified.”
If these are not from God then we need to disagree with them. If we don’t they severely affect how we view ourselves and they can become the identity we live out of. This is not good because our identity should be in Jesus. Hence “spiritual battle”. Knowing the truth doesn’t mean much if we are going to live out of the lies.
This is critical as a single person because in our context we are often our own mirror. It’s why it’s important to have people in your life who can also be a mirror. The more free I am from this, the more I’m free to discern my calling, love others, and frankly the more free I am to pursue or be pursued by someone.
Here are some other places the enemy will attack.
He will try to get you to agree with things about God. “God is holding out on you,” “If God loved you he’d send you someone,” “God doesn’t care that you don’t have a spouse,” “It’s all God’s fault,” and so on. Anything that can drive a wedge between you and God, the enemy will try to exploit it. And you’d better believe he will exploit our singleness.
He will plant thoughts about other people as well. “She would never like me,” “He’s married now so he’s probably too busy,” “They just don’t understand,” “You’re All Alone”.
The enemy also attacks our sexuality. The temptation level is high to begin with because of our own sin and fleshly desires. But you can bet that the enemy wants to turn this up. This can come in the form of straight up temptation to sex or other sexual outlets – i.e. porn, strip club etc. But he can also steal our sexuality. We can be led to kill our desire or try to cover it.
Another big battle is over who you date. Think about this. A person decides to follow Jesus. The enemy is pissed and has already lost the major battle. Now If I’m him, what is my strategy? How about having them date, or better yet, marry someone that pulls them away from following Jesus. Satan knows the next closest thing to a relationship with God is a relationship with another person. The enemy is not stupid. Who you date, or if you date, matters and he knows it.
How about fear? Fear of commitment, fear of choosing wrong, fear of being alone, fear of failing at a relationship, fear of intimacy. The fear list could go forever. Fear is never from God.
These are just a few examples. Look, I’m not saying there is a demon behind every rock, trying to mess with your single life. But what I am saying is that we are in a war and just like any war there are tendencies that the enemy has and our flesh just plays right into it. We need to fight back.
If there really is a spiritual battle then you’d better believe part of that battle is over how you view yourself, God and others, over your sexuality, and over who you date or marry or for that matter whether you date or marry.
Looking at your singleness – where do you see the battle? What lies have you believed?
Lies I have believed: 1)God gives good gifts (marriage &kids) to other people but not you because he’s withholding or you’ve done something wrong.2) don’t get close to someone because you’ll just get hurt so its better to stay isolated than to risk pain. 3)you are not worth waiting for so its foolish and unrealistic to except anyone to wait for you.
Had men tell me number three.
It may be true. I never was a prize even at eighteen. Had lots of guys and women assure me of how ugly and awkward I was in my teens.
Number one is not true since I see a lot of unhappy marriages even at church.
Number two is not true. But I have sworn off dating forever since the Change. Why bother? I never measured up anyhow even in my prime. Plenty of men are desperate enough to use any hag like a wad of cheap toilet paper. No thanks.
Read Ruth. Naomi didn’t get Boaz. She was the old woman who tagged along. But at least she had a daughter in law. I don’t even have that.
I can no longer stand children and avoid the ones at church. Every assumes I am a selfish, grouchy, bitter old woman who hates kids. Why should I disappoint them? Lol
My acidic wit keeps people from being too nasty. And when some loser tries a “neg” he soon regrets it. I can figure out his weaknesses and punch where it counts. Don’t mess with this cat lady.
Rachel – this isn’t directed just at you; but, at others who have posted here.
First, let me say to everyone who has been hurt: I am genuinely sorry. I am glad I did not (in your case) have to endure being made fun of the way you were by men.
Having said that – I think many people who post here do a lot of venting. While that is understandable, I believe people post here because they are chained to bitterness and possibly hate. This is no way to live as it is a poison for your soul. Forgive for you so that God’s love lives through you despite how you have been wronged. I have also been wronged in ways people here can’t imagine – I can tell you working through these chains no
matter how impossible it seems – it is worth it!
Thank you Terminator.
God bless you. May we both leave the garbage from our pasts behind.
I am in my mid-20s and this lie is the one that has tripped me up for years, kept me isolated from other believers, and kept me from communicating with God: No point in contacting God today, you’ve ruined your morning by watching porn. He’ll know the only reason you’d want to come to Him is to ask Him for forgiveness so you can be absolved and free of the torment of shame. You’re suppose to be loving Him with everything you have but you don’t. You don’t love God. All you want from Him is forgiveness. God knows you’re using Him. You should wait and contact Him when you’re really doing it because you want to. But you never want to do you? You dread it because you can never get past asking for forgiveness. You’re a failure. You’ll never learn. You’ll never change. God doesn’t want a backsliding, two-faced, failure.
I introduced myself to porn when I started my freshman year in college. I was single and terribly lonely, so I was susceptible to the temptation of an instant stress reliever. I knew it was wrong but I kept on. I knew I was addicted but there was no turning back. I knew I needed help but I kept silent. I would half-heartedly ask God to help me stop but it wasn’t until it was consuming me, affecting my grades, altering my personality, making me a liar to my parent, etc . . ., that I became desperate to be free of it.
When I was new to this battle it was so hard. I would cry out to God to be delivered and crumble into a ball of despair when nothing happened. This was because I was not replacing the porn with God. It’s like throwing up your dinner and expecting that you’ll never be hungry again. Of course I went back to porn after such tearful prayer sessions, and that made it all the worse. Satan would lie to me in my wretched state, telling me God couldn’t help me and I would always be a slave to my fingers, and I believed him and just accepted my fate. But being a Christian, I have the Spirit, and His convictions couldn’t be ignored forever.
I was still silent towards God, angry and doubtful that He could not help me, but I began to read the Word. I would still fail and go on porn binges, Satan would riddle me with guilt, and I would stop reading the Bible, but the Spirit would never be silent, so I would start over. It was exhausting and I was miserable. I would be in this cycle for years until I finally gave in and began to pray again. My prayers were accusatory and full of hateful questions so naturally I fell back into the cycle. But through the power of the Word and fellowship, I began to understand God, His desire, my purpose. I began to pray for His will to be done in me, truthfully I wanted His will to be my will. We both want me to be free from sin, free from my inner man, totally free from the old Adam so I can be entirely gained by God. Knowing this, wanting this, my prayers became sincere. I stripped myself bare to God telling Him of my lustful desires but wanting Him too.
Romans 7 has never been more real to me, nor more encouraging. I use to look down on David but his story gives me the most hope when it comes to my relationship with God. I used to read the Bible like it was unflavored collard greens. But now I feel uneasy if I do not.
From His words I hold fast to the knowledge that God’s love is unfailing Eph3:16-21, He wants us to be transformed 2Cor3:18, and He will never give up on us Phil 1:6. It does not matter if we fail, as long as we turn to Him, as long as we continue to open ourselves up to Him, coming boldly before Him, at the slightest turn God will come rushing in and He will work it out.
I’m still not entirely free of this particular sin but I now have weapons to fight off the enemy. I don’t wade in despair and feel helpless anymore, believing the liar. I know I will be free of it one day. My hope is stayed on the Lord. I know how to keep it at bay and counter it by prayer and feeding on the Word. I wait on the Lord until I am utterly transformed. Praise the Lord!
Well Done – keep up the good work!
I’ve believed many lies, but the one I have the most struggle with not believing is “you’ve messed it all up,” “there is no hope for you.” I’ve believed that so many times when I think about how I have many relationship issues, and how I keep finding and falling for the wrong person. I get very discouraged and feel as if I should avoid dating altogether.