Wednesday, August 15, 2012
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:31-32 KJV)
I’ve read these verses, but I’ve never noticed 'converted' in them. I thought it meant that Peter was going to face trials and we could use him as an example of how to retain our faith.
Did you notice, as I didn’t: when thou art converted? How much more converted can a man be than to leave his work, his career, his income, his family to follow a man who promises very little. Peter knows there are only borrowed rooms. Funds are limited, handled by Judas (John 12:6, 13:29).
What else can Peter do that has not already been done?
For those of us who have been converted from sinner to saved, don’t we think that’s accomplished a lot? Isn’t that what we pray for our unsaved friends? Isn’t that what was accomplished as Peter accompanied our Lord’s walk across Israel?
The worst was yet to come, though Peter didn’t think so:
And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. (Luke 22:33 KJV)
Really? I knew few people who have faced prison, much less death, for their beliefs here in America. Maybe an Islamist or two whose faith includes the death of others; a few whose beliefs include multiply wives as the patriarchs had, without God’s blessings. Those pale in the reality of Pastor Youcef in Iran.
We know what happened to Peter, too, following this prophecy:
And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:34 KJV)
Many of us stop there and focus on the lesson of Peter’s denials. Instead, continue one more verse:
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. (Luke 22:35 KJV)
They lacked nothing, starting out with nothing – no purse, no scrip, no shoes. Christ sent them out with specific instructions. They returned with joyful accomplishment. Peter's joy left him:
And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:62 KJV)
How sifted must we be? When we are God’s children, we do have an adversary who wishes to separate us from God’s love. That adversary is the father of lies and apparently still does not understand the depth of God’s love. Do we?
Enough to start out without purse or scrip? Enough to acknowledge Him when confronted? Or do we appease and say we never knew Him? Isn’t it the same thing when we reject His word? When we adjust it to fit the life we wish?
I ask because I’m looking for the answers in myself. Where am I being sifted? I am a target, for He is my king, my rock and my salvation. If I waver, it is because I have not taken advantage of the building material He has offered. With Him, all things are possible. Without Him, all is futile.