Jesus warned Peter and the disciples, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31
This is challenging. This reminds us that there is only one super power, only one ultimate power; GOD! Satan has to ask permission, just like he had to do with Job. This raises the natural question, Why does God say "yes" to Satan? Why does God tolerate Satan, his plans and activities in this world? Why does God allow Satan to wreak havoc on Christians and this world?
The gift of sifting.
Sifting is painful, hard, and everyone wants to avoid it. Satan's request is the picture of a farmer taking wheat and beating it onto the meshing floor. Satan wants to beat the faith out of Peter, the disciples and all Christians through trials, temptations and suffering. Why is this a gift?
- It is a gift that causes Jesus to pray for us.
- It is a gift that produces refining of our faith and character.
- It is a gift that strengthens us so that we can strengthen others.
How precious are Jesus' words, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail."
I need to be reminded of this great reality and gift of Jesus. Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25, 1 John 2:1 powerfully communicates that Jesus is sitting at the most powerful position in the universe interceding for us. I need Jesus' prayers. You need Jesus' prayers.
How painful is the reality of refining? Peter needed it. Look at his arrogance and self-reliance. Peter replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” His response is dripping with pride. Pride is a sin that opens the door to Satan in our lives. This sifting broke Peter's pride and self-reliance. Reading Peter's epistle, we can see Peter's humility dripping from the pages. What a beautiful and strong servant leader Jesus refined in Peter.
What a gift Peter was to the other disciples after this sifting. God used Peter to strengthen the others and us still today.
Sifting is a gift.
Jesus is always praying for you.
Jesus sends other Christians into your life to strengthen you.
Jesus has strengthened you so you can be a gift to others.
Grateful for The Only Ultimate Power to allow a much smaller power to sift,