Christian, “Satan Has Asked For You.”

The title of this short blog is taken from Luke 22:31-34 where Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you; that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.” Here we have in two short sentences Jesus telling the Christian person what they can expect in this life. Every person who calls Jesus, Lord, will be sifted, tried, and tested. The Israelites were tested in the wilderness where there was neither food, water or shelter, the first church was tested by the unbelieving Jews, and so we will be tested as well. Steel sharpens steel; and it is through the sharpening process that we discover the strength of the metal from which the blade is made and the blades ability to hold an edge and its sharpness. Like steel sharpens steel, sifting increases the strength and the endurance of the Christian to stand against the wiles of the devil when we really want to run away.

The above scriptures is about the testing of Peter, but it applies to every living person who calls, Jesus Christ, Lord. Peter’s strength failed him on the night Jesus was taken captive when a slave girl said to those around her, “This man was also with him.” Peter replied, “Woman, I do not know Him.” Peter’s statement hits close to home when we are faced down by acquaintances and we have the choice of standing up for Jesus, but we, by our actions, say, “I do not know Him,” just so we won’t face the ridicule or be driven out of our comfort zone. Ever been put in that spot? Sure you have, if you are a Christian. It is what a person does in the midst of criticism that builds strength in us, or destroys our faith in the Lord. But, notice,  Jesus knew what Peter was going to be experiencing, and He knows what we will experience as well. Jesus didn’t turn Peter away or put him down. Instead, He told Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail.”

The prayer Jesus prayed for Peter did not stop the sifting process, but it did strengthen Peter’s resolve to never again let fear control his life after he was able to come to grips with the fact he had let the Lord down. Haven’t we all been there? I have and I am sure you have to. Now let’s listen in to the prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples, and for us. The prayer is found in John 17:6-26. “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you. For I have given to them the words which you have given me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them, I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. And all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you gave me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, (His first disciples) but also for those who will believe in me through their word; (Latter day disciples) that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one; I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which you have given me; for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known you, but I have known you; and they have known that you sent me. And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it, that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

So we see from the prayer of Jesus for His first century disciples and those of us who are alive today that sifting by Satan brings about sanctification through the truth of God’s Word which brings us into union not only with the Lord but with each other and makes us one with the Lord. Paul described it this way in Ephesians 5:25-27. “Husband love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church (that’s us) and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Sifting brings about purification and holiness and removes the blemishes of sin from our life that we might become the glorious church who will sit alongside Christ on His throne ruling and reigning over God’s creation for all time. DThrash

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