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?