"Simon, Simon, satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you Simon, that your faith should not fail." Luke 22:31-32
When I was a boy, I tended to make a toy out of most anything, including my mother's kitchen gadjets. Her hand turned mixer (yes, they actually existed once) made for a great machine gun. I was also fascinated by her flour sifter. It held about two cups of flour, and like a regular cup, had a handle. On that handle was a bar that when you pulled it towards yourself, a metal bar on the bottom would move back, and then forth upon releasing it. If there was any chaff in the flour, or whatever you might be sifting, that metal bar would separate it from the rest. The bar was sharp, and it was effective. A sifter was essential equipment for the kitchen back then. It remains essential equipment in the Kingdom today.
Last week I wrote on the presence of "gnats" in our walk of faith. They are present, and they are unavoidable for all of us. However, in Christ we may have victory over them regardless of what form they might take. A great part of the spiritual journey is learning to overcome the gnats, and walk in victory in spite of them. But here's another reality. Finding victory on one spiritual level will surely open the door to having an even greater challenge on the next. After overcoming the gnats, we can be sure we will then face the sifter.
His Word says that the Lord knows those that are His. We can be sure that the devil does as well. When Jesus spoke the above words to Simon and the rest of the disciples, He was speaking to those who knew Him best. The ones who walked most closely with Him. Such will always draw the special attention of the devil and enemy of our souls. One translation of the above verses says that satan "demanded" to sift them. He knew the threat they posed to his kingdom of darkness. If you truly aspire to walk with Him in intimacy, he knows the threat you bring as well. He will come against you. He will use every means at his disposal to "sift" you. Nothing will be off-limits, nothing will go untouched. That sharp metal bar of his sifter will cut across our lives and hearts, and there will be pain, cost, and loss. But here's what we stand upon in all of it. The Lord Jesus has already made provision for us in it. He has interceded with the Father for us, and He stands with us through all the cuts of the sifting, even the deepest. Satan intends to use it as a means of destroying us. Christ controls that bar and if we will allow it, uses it as a means of our purification in Him. And just as He gave us victory over the gnats, He does so with the sifting as well.
I said before that the gnats can bring us down, and they can. So can the sifter, and on a much greater scale. It did so for Peter and all the rest of the disciples. Jesus knew this beforehand. If it has done the same with us, we need to know that He knew that beforehand as well. Jesus didn't condemn Peter and the rest's failure. He called them to repentance, and in the repentance, unto a greater strength in Him. Then in that greater strength, they were to minister life to all those who came after them. All those who'd walk through the clouds of gnats, and then walk through the sifting.
Where are you being sifted today? In what areas of your life is He allowing that to take place? The enemy means it for your destruction. Jesus means it for your coming forth as gold. The bar cuts, but it purifies. If you've fallen in the process, take the failure to Him. Confess it, repent of it, get up, and go on. And when you have, when we have, we can then extend our hand of help, by His power and life, to those who will be walking that path after us. The gnats await, and so does the sifter. Christ has given us victory over them both, and in every form they may take. He's prayed for us. He's made provision for victory. Step into it.