Satan can’t make you do anything and he cannot overrule God’s will for your life. But Satan can tempt us and when we give into these temptations, we can block ourselves from the clarity God wanted to give us.
So here are 4 signs Satan’s temptations are being used to keep you in relationship limbo.
1. You Could Be in Relationship Limbo if Satan Is Tempting You to Wait for Someone God Is Not Telling You to Wait for
When I use this phrase “relationship limbo,” I’m referring to a season where you feel stuck between two viable options when it comes to relationships. Does God want you single or married? Does God want you to just wait for a spouse or to try online dating? Does God want you to keep just being friends with someone or to try to be something more with this person?
One of the easiest ways to get stuck in relationship limbo is to wait longer than you should for a relationship that you really want. Satan knows that one of the best ways to keep us from what God wants for us is to tempt us to hold onto things God does not want for us.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) is referring to greater things than relationships. But the principle of letting go of the old to receive something new can be seen very clearly in this passage. It states: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Satan wants you to “not perceive it” when God is telling you to let go of that old relationship. If God is leading you to move on, do it. You cannot receive something new until you let go of the old.
(For more on this, you can watch this playlist of videos: Is God Telling You to Wait for that Person or to Move On?)
2. You Could Be in Relationship Limbo if Satan Is Tempting You to Use a Legalistic Approach to Pursuing Marriage
Pursuing marriage as a Christian single person can be very confusing because the Bible does not give us a rigid formula that all people must follow if they want to meet the person God has for them.
Some people meet their godly spouse through online dating. Some people end up marrying a childhood friend. Some people meet at church, have a long season of friendship, start courting, and then get married. Some people meet at church, instantly start dating, and then get married. And guess what? God is fine with all of these paths as long as no sin is occurring.
If God wanted everyone to meet their spouse in the exact same way, he would have made that clear by giving us a rigid, step-by-step approach for the pre-marriage process. But God didn’t do that because God doesn’t want that. God does have rules he wants his people to follow. He does have standards we must not break if we hope to honor him in relationships. But there is not one rigid formula you must follow to meet the person he wants for you.
It’s safe to say that Satan wants you to be a legalistic person. You will get stuck in limbo if you are falling for the lie that meeting your spouse has to happen in one rigidly religious way or else your relationship will be worldly. Satan wants us to be defined by the words of Isaiah, which Jesus quoted in Matthew 15:8-9, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
Of course you must obey the Bible. But don’t blindly obey man-made ideas and rules that are not actually in the Bible.
3. You Could Be in Relationship Limbo if You Want a Christian Marriage But Satan Is Tempting You to Disobey Christ
One of the most common reasons many Christian singles end up single for longer than they want is that they are living a double life. On one hand, they are dating unbelievers, living amongst people who don’t know God, and are basically living a worldly life. But on the other hand, in their hearts they want to obey God, they know what they are doing is wrong, and they want God’s best.
So when this plays out in relationships, it goes something like this: You date someone who is not living for Christ, you get attached to this person, but since you know you really want to marry a godly spouse, you end up breaking up with this person or waiting to marry them until they transform into the Christian spouse you are waiting for (which rarely happens in situations likes this). On the other hand, since you know you are living a worldly life, you also refuse to date other people who are actually following Jesus because you are afraid that you are not good enough for them. Therefore, you are dating people you will never marry and you are not dating people you would marry.
Satan loves this endless cycle because it keeps you in relationship limbo, constantly getting connected to people you won’t marry and constantly avoiding the people you would marry. Therefore, if you want to marry a Christian spouse for the glory of God, you first need to fully dedicate yourself to Christ.
As Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
4. You Could Be in Relationship Limbo If You Have Good Biblical Knowledge But Satan Is Tempting You to Live Unwisely
Knowledge is about what you know. Wisdom, however, is about applying what you know in the way you live your life.
You can know you are not to be unequally yoked, but if you are unwise and always believe everyone who claims to be a Christian even though they have no fruit in their life, you will keep getting into an unequally yoked relationship anyways. You can know premarital sex is a sin. But if you don’t wisely avoid people who are causing sexual temptation, you will keep having premarital sex. You can know God is sovereign, but if you don’t actually trust him you will remain paralyzed in fear.
When you read through the book of James, you will see a theme arising about living wisely. But notice what is says about mere knowledge in James 2:19 (NIV), “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” This is why in James 2:17 (NIV) it states, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Satan is not scared by your knowledge. He is fine with you learning as long as it does not affect the way you live your life. In all areas of life, even when it comes to relationships, God wants you to apply your biblical knowledge so you are actually taking meaningful actions that will lead to you following his will (James 1:22-25).
Knowledge without wisdom leads to passivity. And when you are overly passive in relationships, it leads to getting stuck in limbo.