“And the Lord said, “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.””
Luke 22:31-32 NKJV
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
I Peter 5:9-10 NKJV
The life of Peter is a lesson in the refinement of God. I sense that he was one who was given to bravado, a man of action, quick to do, and slow to think. The evil one had marked him as a leader and demanded the opportunity to sift him as wheat, to try him and break him. Jesus prayed for Peter, but did not deliver him from the trials to come. In the coming passages, we read of his denial of Jesus, his guilt, and eventually, his true “come to Jesus” moment.
We are left with Peter, being commissioned to feed the sheep. If one stopped there, and did not read on, one would think that Peter had destroyed His chances to be a great servant of the Lord. God was not done.
He was in the upper room with all the other believers awaiting the Helper that Jesus had promised. I am sure he had plenty of time to reflect on his failure, of his moments when he rushed headlong into minstry by his flesh. Then the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
I can’t imagine the majesty of that moment, as each one was empowered and filled with the Holy Spirit. I can almost see Peter, overwhelmed by God’s holiness as flesh met Spirit, and he would never be the same again. The pain of the sifting of Satan, became strength, as Jesus transformed Peter’s heart to go and do the work that he was commissioned to do.
With great authority, this brash fisherman stood and delivered.
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.”
Acts 2:14 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, I am one who has experienced the sifting of God. The Lord has used bad things that have come into my life as a means of refinement. He has even used the consequences of my sins, to build me up to be an effective servant. He is One who wastes nothing. He uses it all for His glory.
In the struggles I have had, I learned much about God, and much, much more about myself. The heat of the trial has been like an x-ray, as His word has caused me to examine myself deeply. In that examination, I have found areas that prevent me from being an effective witness. Like Peter, God has used struggle to sift out the impurities that degrade the message of the Gospel. through his x-ray, I am able to see what needs to change.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV
By the time Peter had written the passage in First Peter, he had been through much sifting, and had been greatly refined. He as able to write to the saints with authenticity, as he had personally experience suffering, the endurance from Jesus, and the blessing that awaits all who overcome.
I know that the persecution that we have been spared for so long, will be coming to our back doors. Yesterday, I found that there were people in a far off land where churches are being torn down, and services monitored, reading a lot of my posts on a major blog site. I am greatly humbled, as they are living as Christ followers in the face of tribulation. I hope that they are praying for us as we enter the same darkness.
I urge you my people, to take the sifting of this present time as an opportunity to grow in Christ, of be more effective servants, that we lead many to Jesus.
Trials are sure to come, but know that Jesus is petitioning on our behalf, and that we have access to the Throne of God through the shed blood of Jesus. Let us not take for granted that heavenly access.
Have a blessed Sunday! Go and serve your King!