After nearly 15 years of being off the air, the television show “To Tell the Truth” reappeared in 2016. Dating back to 1956, this game show has now aired a new episode in seven consecutive decades. The program features four celebrity panelists whose task is to identify the one contestant who is telling the truth, while the other two contestants creatively lie to shift focus from the central character.
Properly identifying the real pig farmer turned best-selling romance novelist can actually be quite hard, as is differentiating Taylor Swift’s high school sweetheart from the fakes. The deceptive decoys are convincing, often fooling the panel to guess the wrong person.
In similar fashion, we find ourselves believing lies, only we’re not starring in a popular game show; we’re living real lives in the real world. Far more than harmless entertainment, the lies we believe have dangerous consequences that affect our faith, sense of identity, and relationships with others — even God himself.
From the Beginning
In John 8:44, Jesus starkly and accurately describes the devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Satan was an impostor “from the beginning.”
Over the course of thousands and thousands of years, he has been observing humankind and has thus gleaned enough insight to effectively target our weaknesses through deceit.
These lies cripple our faith, rob us of joy, and limit our ability to trust God.
Satan is no novice when it comes to truth-twisting. He is the “father of lies,” the patriarch, the originator of falsehood. He is constantly and cleverly trying to get us to reject the truths of God’s Word. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Lies We Believe As Singles
Whether we realize it or not, we all face a daily barrage of lies. Some lies plague all humans indiscriminately, while others are seemingly cherry-picked based on a person’s stage of life, experiences, temptations, fears or weaknesses. With this in mind, I think there are lies that single adults are uniquely in danger of believing and even becoming enslaved by. Here are five lies I struggled with when I was single.
1) Life will be more satisfying if I get married.
This was a great lie the enemy (and even some of my Christian friends) often hurled my direction. I eventually learned that if I didn’t have purpose and joy in life as a single person, marriage would be no different. In fact, tying the knot would be a huge letdown if I were to look to a person for what only the Lord could offer.
The reality is that no relationship on this earth will ever truly satisfy. It certainly didn’t take my wife long after we were married for her to realize I wasn’t always that charming, hopeless romantic she fell in love with while we were dating (close proximity and bodily functions have a way of ruining things). C.S. Lewis summed it up well: “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there.”
2) God cannot use me unless I’m married.
When I was single, I attended a men’s leadership retreat at my church. Of the nearly 50 men who were there that weekend, I was literally the only person who wasn’t married. I felt very out of place and questioned if God could really use me. But then I was reminded of single men (and women) in the Bible who had tremendous impact on others: Joseph, Ruth, Nehemiah, John the Baptist, Martha, Paul… and Jesus. God will use you when you’re married, and He’ll use you now while you’re single — often in unique ways that won’t be available to you after marriage.
3) God is holding out on me because I’m still single.
For the longest time, I didn’t realize that singleness can actually be a gift. I had the tendency to observe my married friends and think of the amazing lives they led. They always had a companion by their side, they seemed to have more friends and financial success, and of course, had a healthy outlet for sex (which no single person ever thinks about, right?!). How could being single possibly be a good thing?
I eventually got to the place where I saw how God was blessing my life. My perspective changed when I starting being thankful in everything as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 encourages us to do.
I had an amazing church family, close friends, a steady job, my health. As I began to get my attention off of what it was I didn’t have, the Lord reminded me of what I did have, even giving me a more eternal perspective.
4) I must achieve some status of maturity before God will bless me with a spouse.
It’s easy to get caught up in the lie that says God will bless us (by giving us what we want) if we perform for Him. Our flesh often gravitates towards a works-based Christianity or a form of the prosperity “gospel” where we earn God’s favor through our obedience. This belief is far from the truth, as it robs God of His mercy and grace.
The lies often look like this: If we are pure, God will bless us with a spouse. If we have more faith, He will reward us. If we are perfectly content, God will bring “the one” into our life. All lies! Immature people get married every day. Conversely, mature singles are living full lives while still desiring marriage. Christian maturity is not measured by marital status but by a life that is humbly surrendered to the Lord.
5) I will fail as a Christian if I never have children.
I grew up believing that one of God’s purposes for all of us was to “be fruitful and multiply,” releasing godly “arrows” to influence an ungodly world. My impact for the kingdom would go on for generations, as my surname would live on. This lie was realized as I observed men and women in my church who did not have children and yet they were making a huge impact for the Lord.
God’s plan for many is to bless them with children. I now have two little ones, and it is wonderful. But what I often failed to realize when I was single was that His plan for one person, no matter how different it might look, is no less important than His plan for another.
Bearing fruit is far more than procreation. The “fruit” that God desires in all of our lives is measured by how faithfully we are loving Him by serving others. I have a friend who is developing a written language in a Muslim country so that more people can read the Bible. Another friend is using his optometry degree to serve those who cannot afford eye care. Neither friend has children, and yet both are making their lives count.
Will the Real Person Please Stand Up?
At the conclusion of each episode of “To Tell the Truth,” the contestant who is telling the truth is asked to stand, revealing their identity. The perceptive person will usually pick out the genuine article from the impostors. What about us? Are we processing information in a way that discerns the truth from a lie?
Combating lies involves submission (James 4:7) to the Lord through immersing ourselves in His Word, regular prayer, staying connected to godly community and following through in steps of obedience. The next time you find yourself believing one of these lies, remember it is all part of the enemy’s ploy to pull you away from experiencing joy and freedom as a single adult.
This post was originally featured in Boundless Magazine.