Satan seeks to sift us.

In Luke 22:31 Jesus utters these chilling words: “Simon, Simon, Satan seeks to sift you like wheat”. Chilling? Yes because it brings home the reality we face in this world that, although Jesus has overcome Satan on the cross, the battle still rages as the wounded foe seeks to derail the great plan of salvation. The interesting and encouraging thing to note is that Satan, just as he did in Job, has to come to Jesus for permission.

This has come home to me on two levels in the last few days. The bizarre attack from my neighbour has escalated. A completely unreasonable, unprovoked attack, launched for a second time trying to hide behind my daughter Leslie while I have been out playing golf. Having been exposed to bullying at school I recognize that this is exactly what she is trying to do to me. I spent a sleepless night with my mind swinging between feelings of indignation, retaliation etc with wild conversations running through my head. The clear light of day brought me feelings of some calm and a decision not to fight and raise the heat of the conflict, but rather to ignore as one does with a typical bully.

Of course in the forefront of my mind is the knowledge and expectation that I have experienced before, when I have been actively preparing for and preaching or otherwise involved on the Christian frontier, that Satan tries to throw me off balance through various avenues of attack, direct or indirect. The passage from Luke however did prepare me, especially with the thought of, 1. the identity of the real foe and 2. that he would only be allowed to operate as far as Jesus allows.

This morning God seemed to say to me: “Ian I have shown you in so many ways that I am with you – Psalm 23, Romans 8:32 and many others – I have invited you to come to Me with your burdens and promised you My peace – peace in Me – not as the world gives. Now the onus is on you to believe – actively throw your burdens onto me 1 Peter 5:7. Toss them off yourself onto Me – I have given you the task of ministering to the church at Kilberry and will protect you and give you wisdom – you just need to fix your thoughts on things above”.

In addition to this He gave me several scriptures which I will not type out completely but which were totally relevant: 1 Peter 5:10, II Chronicles 20:15, and II Corinthians 10:4.5.

Now to today’s reading; Luke 22:47-62.

The verse 53b gives the backdrop to the events. “But this is your hour – when darkness reigns”. Addressed to the chief priests and the elders, but actually addressed to Satan.

Here we have two types of betrayal: firstly there is Judas. One of the inner circle, where Luke describes who is behind him in 22:3:- “Satan entered Judas” and at the last supper “but the hand of the one who is going to betray me is with mine on the table” (so close, part of the inner fellowship). This was the ultimate betrayal, nevertheless part of God’s plan as we see in Acts 2:23, so therefore allowed by Him as being the way to the ultimate victory on the cross for all mankind.

Secondly there is the betrayal by all the other disciples. Peter’s betrayal is well-known and predicted by Jesus, yet Jesus completely restores him and he even starts his prediction of that betrayal with the words in vs 32 “and when you have turned, strengthen your brothers”. Of course Jesus warned them of the fact that they would be tempted, in the garden, tempted to leave Him, so they needed to be alert and pray. Despite the many sermons preached against Peter he, at least, still hung around, the rest all run away back to Galilee.

This betrayal and desertion must have been one of the most painful things for Jesus to bear, yet Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the perfect high priest: “Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted”. Some of the most hurtful times in my life have been when I have been betrayed or deserted by someone close to me and I am sure most of you can relate to that as well. The comforting knowledge is that Jesus knows, experientially what that is like and can therefore comfort us at such times.

For me today as I listen to Jesus: I realize I am involved in this kingdom battle – but the battle is the Lord’s (2 Chron) – My part? I must believe and trust and in His power to be obedient – casting all my burdens on Him and taking every thought captive – How? in His strength and wisdom. And show my dependence by actively continuing to pray for deliverance from temptation.

4 Replies to “Satan seeks to sift us.”

  1. Our Lord continued saying to Peter “behold, but i have prayed for you, that your f a i t.h may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen.your brothers. ” Luke 22 31 32. We can be sure, the Lord is our intercessior. Only important is , that our faith may not fail. Our security is forever in our Holy Lord. Let us therefore draw near to our Lord in trust and praise Him with our whole heart. All glory and power be to our Holy Lord forever and ever. Amen.

  2. I was hesitating, but listening to the voice in my heart I am now convinced that I am to add Philippans 3 18 20 as a strong warning for our times ” For many walk who are enemies of the cross of Messiah i have often told you about them , and now I am even weeping as I tell you . Their end is destruction, their god is their belly and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven and from there we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus the Messiah

  3. It is scary that we as followers of Jesus, can also fall into traps from Satan. We know that Peter fell short because of fear, but then he repented ad cried bitterly when he heard the rooster crow. We need to focus on Jesus,looking up for His strength, and not down towards things that do not satisfy.. If we let worldly things satisfy, then we will always be empty, when we remember that the world is into self, but we were to die of self. satisfaction and ask daily for the Spirit to lead and teach us. And repent if we know that in this frail body of dust, God is our daily strength, for He knows us hearts.

  4. I have often identified with Peter. Too quick, too impulsive! It does not diminish my love for Jesus and my relationship with him but I need to be AWARE of the ‘traps’ set by the Evil One. I’m reminded of a sign in our Village BEWARE OF PEDESTRIANS…(esp. those with sticks!!) It should, of course, read ‘Be aware of Pedestrians’. We giggle every time we pass the sign but haven’t the heart to tell the maintenance team to change it. Point of this little story is: We need to be aware of Satan and his unholy trinity (Satan, the world and the flesh). BEWARE because he is real…… ‘but be of good cheer for Jesus has overcome the world.’

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