Have you ever wondered what was Peter and the other disciples doing that would attract the enemy's attention so much so that he would desire permission to sift them (Luke 22:31-33)? Well, I have. For one, they were called by Jesus, chosen by Jesus, and covered by Jesus to change the world! That, in and of itself, would seem to be enough seeing that the enemy certainly wanted to stop that from happening.
In Luke 22:31-33, Jesus essentially tells Peter and the other disciples that they are on satan's hit list. He explains to them that satan desires to sift them as wheat. In other words, he desires to put them through the test of temptation and trial. However, Jesus isn't concerned about the tests of temptations; He is most concerned about their faith.
Jesus let the disciples know in advanced that the sifting was going to happen. He prepared them by giving Peter specific directions in that once he is converted (changed in heart, dedication, and commitment), to strengthen his brothers who were weaker. Jesus spoke from a place of full assurance that Peter would come out with his faith in tact, and so would the other disciples, as he was obedient to strengthen them in preparation of the transition of Christ.
The season of the sifting is the time and place where temptations and trial are most persistent. Contrary to popular belief, it is not generated from outside influences; however, it is stimulated by inside turmoil. The season of sifting will test the thoughts, motives, and intentions of the heart. It is the place where you can no longer hide from yourself.
In reference to our scripture text, Peter struggled to understand what was going on. After all, they were a part of the most famous rabbinical school in Israel's history next to Moses and lately the rabbi (Jesus), who was speaking of death and suffering. This would put an end to what Peter had come to trust in. Things were changing and he couldn't stop it.
As one of Jesus' most trusted disciples within his inner circle of the twelve, Jesus took Peter where others could not go. Peter believed Jesus and had faith in whatever he was doing. He especially believed that Jesus had come from God (Luke 9:20). Peter was an astute student who always asked questions to gain better understanding. However, lately things were in a slow turmoil of which he had no control. Peter initially did not like the idea of Jesus saying He was going away; he felt like he was losing Jesus without a fight.
The season of sifting tempts you to deny the will of the Father in acceptance of your own. It lures you to do things your way instead of God's way. It influences you to justify your actions that are contrary to God. In essence, the sifting process provokes you to rebel against the voice and teaching of God. The very core of your being and ideals are challenged in the sifting as you must decide to stay in what you feel you cannot trust because it's not what you understand or what you are familiar with. It will provoke you to try to understand with your own mind and with your own reasoning. So, initially, Peter resolved that if Jesus was going to die, he would too by fighting, because he did not understand at the time, and he decided that he would not run scared. Courage to Peter meant to fight physically and to die fighting, but he missed the heart of Christ. The heart of Christ is submission to His will and love to his Heavenly Father.
Christ, Himself, demonstrated this submission by going to the cross. It was the love He had for his Heavenly Father and His will that caused Him to submit to the process of the cross. Jesus gave up his will to do God's will. The season of the season of sifting will challenge what it is you say you love and why you love it and cause you to make a decision whether you will abide in the will of our Heavenly Father. The season of the sifting challenges our agenda against God's. Will we choose to hold to his plan, or fulfill our own purposes in his name? When our very foundation of belief is challenged, will we choose to stand on the Word of God and relationship with God, or will we be drawn away? This is the whole purpose of the season of sifting- to move and shake what is shakable leaving only the usable portion.
So, I say to you today: You may be going through a season of sifting where your very faith and core beliefs are being challenged. Don't get discouraged or dismayed, stand your ground. Jesus has prayed for you that your faith will not fail. He has empowered you that when you overcome this sifting, you will be settled further in the will of God, so like the instructions given to Peter, you will strengthen others.
Every day, make the choice to stand on your most holy of faith knowing in whom you have believed. Speak the truth to yourself knowing the entrance of God's Word gives light. Lastly, understand that the shifting isn't as much about you as it is to ensure that the plans and purposes of God are executed in the earth. Again, don't allow the season of sift to shake you, but allow it to shake what is shakable so that God can use what is left for His glory! I decree that your faith shall not fail, but remain strong in the power of your God. Put the enemy on the run with your praise and right living- watch him turn you a loose! Stand your ground! God is not through with you, he's only just begun, God bless.