“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.” (Lk 22:31, 32)
After 11 weeks of not being able to attend church services, today I came back to the fellowship of the saints. I told them that my accident was an evil attack. God permitted it for His glory and for my good. The devil could only break my leg but he could not break my spirit, our marriage or our ministry. Glory to God! I publicly declare the devil is a liar and a loser! I told the brethren: ‘I am back to strengthen you, children of God! Holy Spirit, help us!’
What happens to Peter is similar to what happened to Job. Satan requested from God for the permission to attack Job, a righteous man. Interestingly, his desire was granted. Satan attacked his family, his property and his health. But thru it all, Job held to the integrity of his faith in God. This faithfulness in times of trouble defined his character. What are the lessons? God permits His children to be attacked by the devil, for a season. Satan is real and he has some power. But his power is limited and controlled by God, who has the ultimate sovereign power! “God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God” (Ps 62:11)
Many believers struggle with this question: Why does God allow satan to attack His children? The answer is this: for God’s glory and for their good! Something supernaturally wonderful happens when we enter the sufferings of Christ, when we share in His pain! When the Bride suffers together with her Bridegroom they shall both rise to a higher level of intimacy unknown in times of prosperity! Together they arrive to a greater unity of the Spirit! They suffer together and they shall rejoice together! They share together in their reward which is always greater than past their sufferings! “If we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with Him” (2Tim 2:12)
God is glorified by using the weakness of men to defeat satan. At the Cross of Calvary, satan was totally defeated. The Cross is God’s weakness which is stronger than the power of men (1Cor 1:24, 25). We preach that Cross! We carry that Cross! God allows us to be weak and ‘defeated’ for a season, so that satan will foolishly attack us. We are ‘bait’ for satan! Oh… the unsearchable wisdom of God! What is the good that comes out of these peculiar afflictions? Passing thru fire, our faith increases and becomes purified! This is great gain! Faith is more precious than silver and gold. Like in the case of Job, God will reward patient humble faithfulness with many blessings! If you want to be a man of God, a woman of God, your faith must be tested, for you to be approved for ministry!
In the scripture above Jesus describes satan as a farmer who uses a sifter to sift wheat. He violently shakes the grains up and down and right to left. The intent is to separate the grains from the chaff, which is the cover of the seeds. If he succeeds, the ‘naked’ grains are smaller in size, pass thru the holes of the sifter and they fall into his lap. But the grain covered with the chaff is too big to pass thru. Spiritually, we are the seeds. The chaff is a symbol of the shield of faith, our spiritual covering. The sifting of satan’s is intended to separate us from our faith.
This is the lesson: If we hold on to our faith, we are ‘too big’ for satan! We shall survive the fire! This tested faith is great victory! (1Jn 5:4). This is a great encouragement that even when our faith shakes, we are sur that it will not be destroyed. Peter’s faith failed him temporarily but not completely. What is the secret of this faithfulness? The prayers of Jesus! He is our Great High Priest who prays for us! God the Father and God the Son are not passive during your trials! They are actively interested in your condition, especially in the status of your faith! God allows you to pass thru trials so that at last, He can use you to strengthen others. Dear brethren! For better for worse, we are in it together! We shall rejoice together! Glory to God! Be encouraged today! Be strong in your faith today! In Jesus name, amen!