“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. ” And he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”
And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
We are in the midst of doing some pretty cool stuff where I worship. Everything has been laid on the table for discussion. We are in the process of a new Church start, so there is a greater freedom to question the old traditions than if we were in a traditional established Church. It is so different. It is so cool. Probably cause it is so raw. Probably cause it has some folks freaking out. Probably cause we don’t know what it will look like. Probably cause I am scared. But I believe in what we are doing. So much so that I have a job, just so we can.
Sometimes we think we are on the verge of something really cool, and the Lord reminds me that He has been shaking up the Church, His Church, for quite a while now. Then He tells me that I just got in on this raw thought process, and that thought has been planted in people for many many years. Sometimes, I really like myself.
Several things, outside influences, have happened to my family, and the families of those who worship with us that are very, well, demonic to say the least. We don’t like to use that word today, because we then have to admit that most of the agents of these things are people. Sometimes they are outside influences, but other times they come from within. These are the worst. We think we can spot the enemy, but we cannot spot him when he is sifting us.
Often times I stand on the mountain of God and survey how cool it is to have the Spirit moving in and around me. I look across the valley and think that I am just gonna stay here for a while. Like Peter did at the transfiguration. He wanted to build a couple of churches and stay there. Just look at Jesus and enjoy Him for a while. Never thinking of what lies ahead. Always telling Jesus and myself “I would die for You.”
Being sifted is never easy. It hurts. It is embarrassing. Did I mention that it hurts? Truth is, it is easier to die for Jesus, than to die to ourselves. We have to admit our weakness, our inability to recognize attacks, our inability…
Jesus prayed for Peter. So that when the sifting was over, the brokenness was over, the fear was over, the embarrassment of denying Jesus was over, the anguish of looking at Jesus’ face after he had denied Him was over…then he, Peter would strengthen his brethren. And if you read Acts, what you see is not the buffoon Peter often was in the Gospels. You see a man who had been broken and built up again, a man with purpose, a man who was different, and a man who was filled with the Spirit of God.
How much are you committed to what you believe? Are you willing to live like you have nothing to lose? Are you willing to lay it all on the line? Are you willing to die??? To self??? How big is your faith? Is it as big as your God, or is it as big as you? What happens after you get sifted? Do you strengthen others with what God has taught you? Or do you keep it all for yourself trying to get all the God you can so your life is better?