Sifted Like Wheat
It is vital we know when we choose to serve God we are a threat to the enemy and he will do everything in his power to try and stop us. We also need to know that we are more than conquers in Christ Jesus, anointed to do greater works, empowered to stop the enemy.
With that said let's take a look at Peter, as an example of how Satan plots to stop us from being that conqueror we are called to be.
Luke 22:31 Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain, 32 But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren. 33 And [Simon Peter] said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. 34 But Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, before a [single] cock shall crow this day, you will three times [utterly] deny that you know Me. AMP.
Jesus warned Peter that Satan desired to beat him. I use the word beat because really sifting wheat is beating the husks to loosen the wheat, therefore it is apparent from what Jesus said, Satan’s intention was to beat Peter. Referring to the actual event where Peter denied Jesus and then suffered remorse, we can see that Peter’s, was a mental beating (Luke 22:54-62). Peter was harassed by the enemy.
Acts 10:38 tells us Jesus cured all who were oppressed (controlled) and harassed (pressured) by the enemy. How do we receive that cure? Jesus gave us revelation knowledge. He taught us how to live in the Kingdom of God free from oppression, and gave us power and authority over the devil.
Luke 10:19 Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you. AMP.
Which is exactly why Jesus said He would pray for Peter, rather than stop Satan Himself. Jesus prayed for Peter instead of manage the enemy for him because Peter was given authority over the enemy already, therefore it was Peter’s responsibility to take authority over the enemy, it was his responsibility to stop Satan.
A lot of people think God allows Satan to do bad in their lives, or God is the one doing the bad, but the fact is, God doesn’t allow the bad we allow Satan (the bad) to harass and oppress us by not taking the authority over him we have been given.
James reiterates God is good and is not doing bad:
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. 16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].
God is good and does not tempt us but as we just read we are tempted by our weaknesses. Peter’s weakness was apparently pride. It is noted in each gospel that Peter repeatedly told Jesus he wouldn’t deny Him, even though Jesus prophesied that he would. Yes this showed Peter’s heart, his love for Jesus, but also that he hadn’t taken heed to Jesus’ warning. If he wasn’t so sure of himself and asked Jesus to tell him what to do, he could have come through the trial equipped with more knowledge, which would have given him more confidence.
If God isn’t putting us through trials then why are we going through them? Our answer is in James.
James 1: 2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
God uses everything for our good, we know that from His Word (Romans 8:28). He also assures us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not let us go through more than we are able to handle. Therefore, we have the security of knowing God is always there for us. With that said, we can count it joy when we go through trials because we need to mature, we need revelation knowledge to do the works God is calling us to do. God wants us fully equipped with revelation to do the greater works we are called to.
We all have an assignment from God and in order to do that assignment we have to be established in faith and that happens as we grow and have understanding. Then we are mighty in revelation and can do the greater works God called us to do, proving His will is good and perfect.
When we are fully developed, not lacking anything, we can do the work God is calling us to do without major interference from the enemy because we understand our authority over him. We can go around doing good, casting out demons, laying hands on the sick, and preaching the Word because we can kick down any barriers Satan tires to stop us with because of God‘s revealed knowledge we attain.
If we have no knowledge and we let Satan oppress us, which is Satan controlling us, nothing will change and we will keep living defeated as if Jesus was never here. As if Jesus never gave us authority, or revelation knowledge, as if He never came and showed us the Father, as if He never gave His life for us.
We have to go through the trial knowing we are meant to learn and develop through it, but at the same time take authority over the devil in the trial, by pressing into our faith in God, getting up if we are knocked down and be strengthened by our faith in God.
Another thing we can do to keep from the enemy having a foothold in our lives is what Peter said, be sober and vigilant. What he was saying is be self-controlled, get rid of all your weaknesses, because the enemy will use them against you to entice you (James 1:14).
1 Peter 5:8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. AMP.
To conclude, know that the enemy roams around like a roaring lion, be cautious at all times because he will use whatever weakness he sees in you to tear you down, to beat you, harass you, ultimately to gain control over you. Not only is his plot to make you miserable and steal God from you now, but also for eternity!
Don’t blame God, don’t be deceived, it is the enemy trying to oppress you, trying to be your god, but be of good cheer! Jesus has overcome! Only believe HIM!
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]