“31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” [Luke 22:31,32]
I have always found these two verses interesting, challenging, and encouraging.
Interesting because it is counter-intuitive to most teaching on God’s love and concern for His people.
Challenging because Jesus does not deny Satan’s demand to attack Peter.
Encouraging because Jesus obviously had faith in His prayer life, and in Peter to respond to his failure with faithfulness to God, which means He has faith in me to respond correctly and quickly when I fail to live up to His standard.
So many believe that God will “protect” them from Satan. These verses reveal a protection that is based in a prayer for a quick recovery, not a rescue from temptation and the tests in each temptation.
Do you see how Jesus prays and what He does not do?
Think about this –
- God did not deny Satan access to Jesus
- Jesus said He would send us out in the same way His Father sent Him [that is a deep subject]
- Jesus did not deny Satan access to Peter
- God will not deny Satan access to you, that is if you are or will be a threat to Satan [if you are not presently or will be eventually a threat then why bother with allowing him to bother [sift] you]
In His intercessory prayer life at the right hand of the Father Jesus prays for our faith, and for us to be strong. In the model prayer, which most have been taught is the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught novice disciples to pray for God to keep the devil away from them.
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [the] evil [one].”
Yet John, who was present when Jesus taught the twelve that prayer, wrote this in 1 John 2:
“1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
- We see little children are to learn sin is not acceptible
13 I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
- Overcoming the evil one begins with saying yes to God, His word, will and ways
14 I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
- God’s word does more than instruct us, it empowers us
Jesus fully expected Peter, and all of His disciples throughout every generation, to grow up quickly so that being an overcomer would be normal, not rare!
Jesus’ statement to Peter was approximately 3.5 years into Peter’s discipleship training process. Peter, having access to Jesus for 360 days a year for 3 to 3.5 years seems to give him an advantage in the maturation process. But Jesus said this, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” [John 16:7]
Discipleship comes with, and every true disciple of Jesus post resurrection, ascension and Pentecost outpouring, have an advantage over those who walked with Jesus in the flesh 2000 years ago.
With that being true then why do so many disciples of Jesus fail Him and fail to rebound quickly, if ever at all?
There are too many reasons to write about here but a main issue is the lack of reading, study and understanding Scripture and our identity in Christ.
Are you like the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?”
John gives great insight to his readers:
1. He writes to ‘little children’ in verse 1. Those children have matured to the level of living solely to honor God and to defend His honor at all costs.
2. He writes to young men in verses 13 and 14 and describes how these young men matured to become overcomers.
a. They are strong
b. The Word of God abides in them
c. They attack the devil [they overcome him] – they are not praying for protection from him
d. Their identity in Christ is revealed, and unleashes the Christ that is in them
Listen [well read and understand] friends, do you scare the devil enough that he demands permission from God to attack you?
Are you still a pebble in your own eyes or the pillar that God sees when He looks at you?
Is God looking at you, or for you?
Where are you?
Receive and steward God’s passion, power, presence, priority, process, promises, protection, provision, pruning, purging, purity and purpose!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin
A spiritual revolutionary