One of the greatest deceptions circulating around the Internet, in books, in sermons, in tweets and conversations, is that once you get married, that's when all of the real hard work begins and the life-changing sanctification finally commences. The current carrying these types of conversations don't all possess ill intent or impure motives, however, to the single listening in that already feels excluded, the waves can come crashing down and lead one to feel as if what they experience in singleness, is no more valid than that of their married constituents.
While it is very true that Satan despises marriage and basically anything God has joined together for His will and purposes, the reality is that it is also very true, that Satan despises singleness just as much. And I would beg to argue, that if not more, he hates singleness too, because every single day of his existence, he is faced with this truth: not only will he be cast into the lake of fire forever and ever (Rev. 20:10), but he will do so alone, apart from the true community and love, God intends and secures for all of those who belong to Him in Christ Jesus...singles included.
Satan hates singles devoted to and united with Christ. It is something he will never experience and he would love nothing more as our enemy, to promote godless living and discontentment, based on a false premise, that singles are both (a) missing out on something where God has them and (b) that God Himself, isn't enough.
IS ONLY MARRIAGE "HARD WORK"?
It's no secret. Two sinful human beings uniting together in earthly covenant with each other before God, will bring work that isn't always easy between both parties. Meshing finances, different backgrounds and upbringings, sometimes two completely different cultures, baggage from past relationships and the like, can call for major hardships in a marriage. Whether married for 2 months or 20 years, there will always be rough patches in life. But, we must reject the perpetuation or even temptation, to paint marriage as the "hardest" level of the Christian life, while disregarding the realities of hard work and great difficulty, singles too face in their singleness.
Let's think about it. Every single human being will be single at some point in their life, but not every single human being will be married at some point in their life. And because this is true, we all can share in together, whether single, married or widowed, in the suffering and hard days that we experience during those times.
As a single Christian, who is seeking to live in light of the holiness they've been both gifted and called to by God, it can get pretty hard at times and feel almost as if one is working the hardest 12 hour shift of their life, every single day. Fighting the urge to watch porn, clinging to last season's absolute bliss and contentment in Christ while you watch all of your close friends get into relationships, being faithful with the money in your bank account although you are kinda sorta free to spend it without worrying about the other person on your non-existent joint account, all the while seeking to remain faithful to God and His Scriptures, is hard work.
Saying "no" to the passes you get from that unsaved co-worker at your job although you know that no one would know if you entertained the thought of being with an unbeliever, is a very real thing. Fighting to kill sin in your life daily, even though you know that there isn't any prospect in sight to motivate you to do so, is a very real struggle. And no more than when you went to sleep last night and woke up this morning, did your single status, become any less easier to navigate through, although sometimes, the freedom you have that Paul speaks of, seems more increasingly unrealistic in light of your struggles.
I want to challenge the married folk (coming from a newly engaged woman who loves singleness a WHOLE lot), to reconsider the way that you share your struggles with your single friends and how you seek to encourage them where they are, as a whole. The reality is, that no matter the amount of children you have, bills and debt you and your spouse are trying to conquer, temptations you experience to fight the wandering eyes syndrome and lack of sleep you may receive from performing various tasks as a wife or husband, remember that your single Sisters and Brothers, too share in the same "hard work", just in a different context.
We all have something in common and that is we are redeemed sinners, living in a fallen world, with a real flesh, that wars against The Spirit and to put the cherry on top, we have a real, crusty Enemy, who is after our faith and trust and hope in The One Who raised us from the dead. If anything, we must spur one another along to the good works we've been called to (Eph. 2:10) and not seek to throw pity parties, crying woe is me, when the reality of sin and sanctification hits us hard. No matter what we file our taxes as, God has united us all together. And He too promises to sanctify us all in whatever measure of hard work we have, irregardless of what it is or does feel like, in our various "lots" we've been given.
F.O.M.O (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)
If we take a quick journey back to the beginning of our Bibles, in Genesis Chapter 3, we'll see something rather interesting happen in the dialogue between The Devil and Eve. He tries to convince her of a lie, by influencing her to believe that in God's will for her and Adam, she is missing out on something that she was deceived into believing was good, even though God had prohibited it.
What is so interesting about this exchange, is that this same lie that Eve bought into believing, is the same lie that so many singles buy into believing: that in what God has willed for us today, we are missing out on something greater. You see, Adam and Eve had God. They had all that they needed, they had land to cultivate, food provided and clearly they had enough resources as we can see, when they found some natural materials to make mankind's first Fruit of The Loom organic and all natural design, as they clothed their nakedness.
When our adversary in his real, yet limited power, can convince us that God is withholding something greater on the other side of whatever, we can in response become lax, discontent and so antsy about being married or doing this or doing that, but not realizing the unique grace and providence of God, in today. Knowing that God is sovereign and that He withholds no good thing from those who do what is right, if we are single today or for the next 5 years, we cannot be convinced of twisted lies, that paint us lacking when we have all that we need in Christ.
The only thing that singles are missing out on today, is the beauty that we fail to examine and cherish, when we look to other gifts as if they are greater. Only one thing is greater, and that is a life lived in submission to Christ. Only one thing is more fulfilling, and it isn't being able to strut around with our ring fingers blinging, but being known by The God who knows the exact numbers of hair we have on our heads at any given moment (even when it sheds). Single men and women don't have to experience high volumes of F.O.M.O when they are assured through yielding themselves to the Truths of Scripture, that anything God has restricted or simply not given me today, is simply good enough for me.
All of the other trees God gave Adam and Eve were good enough for them, even though one was off limits. Likewise, all that God has given YOU for today is good enough for you, even though what you may desire most, isn't currently in view.
A REAL ENEMY
1 Peter 5:8 tells us that we ALL have a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. Notice that The Scriptures don't distinguish whether or not the one he seeks to devour is single or married or widowed. The Scriptures simply say that he is looking for someone.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you are taken, making yourself available for cuffing season, in between "boo's" or single as a church pew with one person on it. Our adversary is looking for Believers, to attack and confuse and discourage and influence to believe the lie that God isn't enough. He is after the faith of those who belong to God and he wants nothing more, than for us all, to disregard the limited, yet real impact he has on this earth and the powerful influence he has over the "sons of disobedience".
Whether we are single or married, divorced or widowed, satisfied or discontent, vigilant or distracted, God has called us all, to journey together, encouraging one another in the faith, despite our many unique differences. God equally loves us all and He gives good gifts, even if we can't seem to find the goodness in them. Adam and Eve had a good gift right in front of them, even though what God had said no to, seemed to be better. And as we consistently yield ourselves to the will of God, submitting even when we don't understand and asking for help even when it seems easier to mope and quit, we will see and experience God's faithfulness in ways we could've never imagined.
So, yes. Satan hates marriage. He hates singleness. And most importantly, he hates anyone who has been transferred from the domain of darkness and brought into God's marvelous light. And instead of balance-beam measuring who has it "worse", may we all, seek to live in light of The Cross, serve God where He has us today, and rejoice in the hope and reality, that one day, the hard work and very real struggles we have now, will melt away, in the sight of Christ returning to come get us, His eternally covenanted Bride.