“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.”
Luke 22: 31, 32 (Amplified)
When I read these two passages a few days ago, I was struck by Jesus’ words to Peter. He begins with a warning to Peter against the enemy…Satan wanted to destroy not only Peter but all of the disciples and weaken their relationships with Christ. He was telling Peter to be careful and not to be unaware of his schemes. Jesus then singles Peter out and tells him that He has been deep in prayer for him that he would not stumble and lose faith. He further asserts that when Peter does in fact take a misstep that he will return and will be vital in strengthening the others following Christ’s death.
From these two short passages we learn much that will help us walk out this life of faith.
- The enemy is strong and bent on destruction
- Temptation is powerful
- Free will is always available to be exercised and can fly counter to the prayers of Jesus
- Jesus is praying for us to resist the enemy, say “no” to temptation and to use our free will in faith building ways not faith breaking ways
- We will stumble and make poor choices
- We can return to Him
- We can be useful even in our failings to strengthen the body of Christ
As I pondered over these verses, I wondered how differently I would go into my daily challenges against sin if I realized how fervently Jesus is praying on my behalf. I don’t ever want to embrace the mindset that I can choose sin because God will forgive me anyway. I want to rise above the flesh to choose His ways and desires and not my own natural inclinations.
“For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.”
II Corinthians 10:13 (Amplified)
***Could that “way out” be the intercession of the Lord?!
We can rest in the fact that Jesus was very acquainted with temptation and was victorious over it. As followers of Christ and with the same indwelling Spirit, we can be victors as well.
“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”
Hebrews 4: 15,16 (Amplified)
It is so encouraging to me that despite our personal failings that Christ never disqualifies us from serving and being fruitful in the kingdom…we just need to remember Whose we are and attach ourselves once again.
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”
John 5:15 (Amplified)
I pray that each one of us would realize what a powerful and awesome reality it is to know that you pray for us. Help us to know that at the point of attack that You are there and You are lifting up prayers to strengthen and stabilize us. With this deepened knowledge may we live like the “more than conquerors” that Your Word says that we are. Thank you that Your word also says that because we possess your divine nature we have EVERYTHING that we need for life and godliness through Christ Jesus and we can live a life escaping the corruption of this world because of desiring evil…for this we rejoice and we are filled with gratitude and hope. Amen.
**II Peter 1: 3,4