". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


The Devil Loves to Capitalize on Loneliness. But the Lord Said, ‘Fear Not, for I Am with You’

March 24, 2024

Have you ever felt lonely? Or do you know someone who is? It can be a rather miserable state of mind, often leaving us feeling hopeless, depressed, isolated, and yearning for something more. The way I see it, isolation and loneliness are not quite the same. However, they do often go hand-in-hand and have one primary element in common, namely, that the enemy loves to capitalize on both.

As pastor and author Josh Buice once wrote, “As we consider the Christian life, we must be reminded that isolation is the key strategy for the devil.” And this can also be attributed to the conversation of loneliness. But what is it about isolation and loneliness that makes us so vulnerable to attack? However, before addressing that, I find it particularly interesting that loneliness is a prominent area of study for health experts. According to them, it’s a crisis, this loneliness we see in the world.

In 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory published a study called “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” While it detailed many aspects that play a role in the “epidemic” as it were, the report emphasized some of the effects of prolonged loneliness and isolation including “a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death,” as well as a decline in cognitive function and increased chances of suicide and self-harm. And even more recently, a study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that loneliness “is worse for older people than alcoholism, obesity, and smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

In a medical sense, isolation and loneliness are to be taken very seriously.

And so, if it’s taken very seriously by the medical and psychological experts concerning the average person, it makes me wonder: What about the Christian? In addition to the physical and mental harms, what are the spiritual dangers that we should be aware of that are caused by loneliness? And how do we manage the spiritual crisis isolation and loneliness can cause for the believer? I was pondering how to approach this discussion, and I’ve chosen to start with my personal experience.

While none of us share the exact same story, I know what it’s like to feel lonely. Growing up in a military family, no community was permanent, but rather changed frequently. But nonetheless, I enjoyed my upbringing, and the constant fluctuation didn’t seem to bother me until around high school (which also happens to be when emotions are often difficult to handle anyway).

Sparing some of the tedious details, I had many waves of loneliness between high school and the end of my undergrad. There are a lot of factors spanning that timeframe for why I wrestled with this, but when I analyze that period of my life, I noticed that feeling lonely caused me to isolate myself. And it was in my isolation that the enemy attacked.

He told me that no one cared about me, and that there was no point in trying to reach out to a community. I can still recall vividly all the times I believed the devil when he whispered into my ear, “There’s just no point.” And the more I believed him, the less I prayed, read my Bible, and sought after the truth. Isolation, in my case, was the purest form of loneliness because I would often shut out everything that would have proven I wasn’t actually alone. And I truly wish I could bring to light all the ways loneliness can be a plague to our walk with Christ, but, unfortunately, I don’t have the space. But from my experiences, I know that the ultimate plague of loneliness is that it can easily allow us to direct our gaze anywhere but on Christ.

However, if I learned anything from being lonely, it’s that we simply aren’t ever truly alone. You see, the Bible makes it clear that God is always by our side. And this truth became undoubtably evident to me when I went to Bible college and was in an environment where everything pointed back to Christ. That isn’t to say I ceased wrestling with all forms of loneliness, but it did reveal to me that, even if we do lack friends, family, or a strong community, we have God — a fact the devil wants us to forget in our loneliness and isolation. But now I know, particularly from my time at Bible college, that the solution to all of life’s trials is to turn to Christ first and to turn to Him quickly.

As Buice also wrote, “Isolation is the devil’s oldest trick in his black book of sinful temptations. … If Satan can lure a person off into an isolated wilderness, he will likely do much damage to that individual before the person can escape. This happens in a person’s thought life, a person’s relationships, a person’s finances, and on the Internet in the dark hours of the night. Beware — Satan’s goal is to destroy you (1 Pet. 5:8).”

The reason medical and psychological experts are concerned about loneliness is, in part, because of how deceptive it is. Loneliness and isolation are ammunition for believing lies, because when lonely and isolated, stuck in our own thoughts, we’re relatively free from accountability, also often lacking the discipline to hold ourselves accountable. And don’t you see? This is all music to the enemy’s ears.

But beloved, the reason I write this is not to give the enemy any sense of power over the lonely. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I write this to bring light to just how much the devil loves capitalizing on loneliness and isolation so then I can shed even more light on the fact that he is still utterly powerless against the truth of God.

And what is the truth of God?

  • Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
  • Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Psalm 94:14, “For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.”
  • Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

I hope that clears the air. Because, if not, I’m sure there are hundreds of other Bible verses that declare the exact same message that Jesus will never abandon you. And when loneliness tries to convince us otherwise, we turn away from ourselves and from the enemy’s lies, and we turn to our Heavenly Father. The same God who loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us.

Got Questions Ministries summarized it well when they wrote:

“Whatever the cause of loneliness, for the Christian the cure is always the same — the comforting fellowship of Christ. That loving relationship with our Master has reassured and encouraged countless thousands who languished in prisons and even went to their deaths for His sake. He is the friend who ‘sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24), who lays down His life for His friends (John 15:13-15), and who has promised never to leave us or forsake us but to be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). We can take comfort in the words of the old hymn that says it best: ‘Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He is with me to the end. Hallelujah, what a Savior!’”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.