“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat’” (Luke 22:31 NKJV).
Satan sifts only those who threaten his work. He goes after the tree with the most potential to bear fruit. Why was he so anxious to test Peter? Well, for three years Peter had been casting out devils and healing the sick. Satan had heard Jesus promise the disciples another baptism, one of Holy Ghost power and fire, and he trembled! Now the devil knew God’s ultimate plan for Peter. He realized that the past three years would be nothing compared to the greater works to come. Satan was searching for a weakness in Peter to build on that would destroy his faith.
Perhaps, like Peter, you are being shaken and sifted right now. Don’t despair! Rejoice that you have such a bad reputation in hell. Satan never would have asked God’s permission to sift you unless you were a threat to him. He is sifting you because you play an important part in God’s kingdom in these last days. The greater your gifts and potential, the more severe your sifting will be.
When someone is going through the fire of sifting, what should those around him do? What did Jesus do about Peter’s imminent fall? He said to him, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32).
I look at this wonderful example of Christ’s love and realize I know almost nothing about how to love those who fall. Jesus saw both the good and the bad in Peter and concluded, “This man is worth saving. Satan desires him, but I desire him more.”
Lord, give us that kind of love! When we see brothers and sisters heading for disaster, let us love them enough to reach out and say, “I am praying for you.”
Today we have yet another “It is written” with which we can do battle against Satan. It is this: “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” You can tell the devil, “You may have gotten permission to sift me, to try to tear down my faith, but you need to know this: My Jesus is praying for me!”