4 Ways to Overcome a Relationship Idol in Your Heart

relationship idol

1 John 5:21

Are you a Christian single person who wants to be married one day but right now you are trying to focus more on God, become a more mature Christian who is ready for a relationship, and overcome a relationship idol in your heart?

If so, here are 4 ways to help you grow in your season of Christian singleness and overcome a relationship idol in your heart.  

Repentance Through a Relationship Fast Can Help You Overcome a Relationship Idol

A relationship fast is just like a fast from food but instead you are giving up relationships for a specific time so you can focus more intently on God. Fasting from food is something that is done for a specific season of time. Rather than eating you are using that time for prayer and seeking God. It is a reminder that God alone can truly satisfy you.

A relationship fast can have the same benefits. If you are struggling with a relationship idol, repentance is the obvious answer. But how can you repent? Repenting is when you turn the other direction from the sin and towards God. Throughout the Bible, fasting is often used as a way of helping people repent. As Joel 2:12-13 explains:

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love . . . .”

The way to repent from a relationship idol is to turn away from the lie that a relationship is the most important thing in life and you turn towards God to seek your total satisfaction in him first and foremost. By giving up relationships for a period of time, this can help you turn away from idols and towards God.

This should not be a lifelong thing. Just like giving up food, you should give up relationships for a specific time period so you can intentionally focus on God more during this season. Each person should do what they feel led to do, but if you are an adult and you want to be married one day, I would not fast for more than 3 to 6 months from relationships. That is usually enough time for most Christians to get realigned with the Lord. But again, you have to do what you feel led to do. I just encourage you to commit to a specific time at the beginning that is not too long and then stick with it rather than heading into a fast with no direction or real commitment.

(For more on this, read/watch 3 Signs You Should Fast from Relationships.)

Praying More About Your Relationship with God and Less About the Romantic Relationship You Desire Can Help You Overcome a Relationship Idol

One question that often comes when people are trying to overcome a relationship idol is, “Should I keep praying about my desire to be married?” I certainly do not want to give a “right or wrong” answer on this question because I believe each person will need to follow what God is leading them to do.

Throughout Scripture we are told pray about everything, to pray without ceasing, and to cast all our anxieties onto God. So if you feel led to pray about relationships, there is nothing wrong with that. However, I do also believe there are times where God will lead some people to stop praying about relationships so they can focus more on him.

Certainly God will not lead you to stop praying, but I do believe there comes a time where we can hold onto our desires so tightly that our prayer requests can become more like ransom demands. Sometimes we only pray about one thing and we won’t let it go until God gives us what we want.

If you know you have a relationship idol, therefore, I do think it can be healthy to stop focusing so much on your relationship desires and focus more on your desire for God. Praying about other things can help you loosen a death grip on your relationship desires. Additionally, taking a season of praying less about relationships can actually make your relationship prayers in the future more powerful.

James 4:3 states, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” When you ask God to give you an idol, you will not get this prayer request answered. God cannot bless you with an idol. If a relationship would draw you away from God and not help your relationship with God, he will not answer that type of prayer the way you want.

Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts About a Certain Person Who You Wish You Were With Will Help You Overcome a Relationship Idol

Another key area to focus on if you desire to overcome a relationship idol is your thoughts. What you think about the most is your god. If God is not ruling your mind then something else will be. Often times relationship desires control our thoughts. As Christians we are called to bring every thought under submission to God, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

How can you stop thinking about relationships or someone you wish you were with? The key is to replace unwanted thought with God-honoring thoughts. For as Romans 13:14 (NLT) states, “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

The way we can overcome thoughts about a relationship is by seeking the presence of Christ more than anything else in our lives.

Stop Thinking So Much and Start Serving People in Need More in Tangible Ways

Finally, if you really want to overcome a relationship idol in your life, you have to not only turn away from this sin, you also have turn towards God’s purpose for you. You can’t just focus on “not sinning.” Rather, you have to live a life of purpose if you want to stop serving idols.

So what does God want us to do? We each have a unique call, but ultimately our love for God should be expressed in our service of other people. Therefore one way to overcome an idol is by replacing the time and energy you used to use on this idol with serving people in need and in tangible ways.

Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Galatians 5:13-14 states, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

When you stop thinking so much about relationships and you spend more time serving people in need, you will overcome these idols as you tangibly serve the one true God.