The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you[g] like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-31 (HCSB)
The setting of this passage was during a festival. The disciples were probably excited about all that was going on around them and still didn’t quite understand that Jesus would soon die. Feeling good about himself, Peter stated that he would be willing to die with Jesus. Peter had a good heart but was not yet in tune with what God was doing. Sound familiar?
Let’s go back about three years when Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” Some responded a prophet or a teacher. Peter (Simon at that moment ) said, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus responded that Holy Spirit revealed that to him, not flesh and blood. Jesus went on to rename Simon as Peter. This was a name meaning rock. Peter’s faith was a solid rock upon which Jesus could build His church.
Now fast forward again to the passage in Luke, Chapter 22. Remember as a child if your mom called you by your given name you knew instantly it meant trouble? Jesus used Peter’s given name of Simon to let him know that a rebuke is to follow. “Simon, Simon,” Jesus said. Using Peter’s name twice meant Jesus really wanted his attention. Has Jesus called out your name more than once to get your attention?
Now let’s look at the significance of the rest of this passage. “Satan has asked…..” Do you see what this means? Satan cannot attack you unless God lets him. (Book of Job) Satan has to ask and be allowed to touch God’s children. It was difficult to grasp that God “allowed” my wife to divorce me.
“Satan had asked to sift you.” The people of that day knew what sifting meant. It was how the wheat kernel was separated from the chaff by tossing it in the air. I can just see the look on Peter’s face – an “oh no” look with the thought of “but I’m Your rock, Lord”.
“But I have prayed for you…” Jesus prayed. His praying to the Father is mentioned all through the gospels. Yet Jesus is God in the flesh. That flesh may have been what Jesus didn’t trust so He did nothing without talking to his Father. If Jesus felt a need to pray before acting then how much more do we? RMM is always encouraging standers to zip their lips and seek God’s will first.
“And when you have turned back…” Jesus is saying I’m going to let you go through this trial Peter. I’m going to allow Satan to sift you. Peter may be thinking that God, in sandals standing in front of him, could stop this. Jesus loved Peter and didn’t want to see him suffer; yet Jesus loved Peter enough to allow him to go through what was needed for Simon to become Peter, the Rock. Jesus could still see the man he called a Rock under Simon’s flesh.
“Strengthen you brothers…” It may be that your sifting is designed to produce the spouse God saw in you when you said your vows. That when you return you may strengthen your spouse.
I believe God has allowed something He hates – divorce – to “sift” me so that the man, the husband, the father He knows is in me will remain after the “junk” is sifted away. I did not say He caused my divorce. That was me – my words, my actions, that hurt my bride. But God saw something different in me. God knows my bride needs the man He sees under the mess that once was me. We must understand that our marriage difficulties did not catch God by surprise. Ask Him what He wants to “sift” from you during this time.
Our stand is for us to pray for our wife or husband while letting God change us into the mate He designed us to be. Sifting wasn’t pleasant for Peter and it is not pleasant for us. Submitting to God’s will and design however will result in the “rock” He sees inside of us for our spouses.
Charlie from Texas