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"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..." (Luke 22:31-32a - KJV)
In the passage above Jesus warns the Apostle Peter that satan was going to "sift him as wheat" for the purpose of destroying him. While many are familiar with this verse of scripture I wonder how many have taken the time to study the sifting process and what it was in Peter's life?
Peter was about to enter one of the most traumatic periods in his life. One that would temporarily cause him to go back to his former life of a fisherman. The purpose of satan was to separate Peter from Jesus. Three times Peter had an opportunity to stand with Jesus and declare his discipleship and Peter chose to deny his relationship with Christ when the going got rough.
There are many aspects to this story that can be discussed. The one that most focus on is that of Jesus being our Lord and Savior. It is easy to see that satan wanted Peter to deny Christ. However, what many do not look at is that Peter was a disciple of Jesus'. In other words, Jesus was the discipler Who was imparting into Peter's life changing him from the man he had always been to the man that would fulfill the plans and purposes of God that were ordained before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
The area that we do not like to apply this story in our life is that we have (or at least should have) someone in our life that disciples us. Someone who is anointed of God to change us from the person we have always been to the person God has purposed for us. According to Ephesians chapter four some of us have been given an Apostle, some of us have been given a Prophet, while some of us have been given an Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher. In America we typically call this person "Pastor" even though the actual gift they operate in may be different.
Do you realize that satan has not changed his strategies since he has started killing, stealing, and destroying? When you look at your life there is typically no pressure or offensive events that take place to get you to change your doctor, dentist, tax preparer, grocer, or gas station. Yet there is an untold number of events that seem to arise to try and get us disconnect from the person in our life who is anointed to change us.
Don't misunderstand me. I am not trying to elevate a pastor (man) to the status of Jesus. I am merely pointing out that in God's kingdom He operates with mankind through His delegated gifts that have been given to man. When we properly seek God we will find ourselves connected to an individual who has our DNA in their spirit. They are able to touch our lives in a way that no other person can touch us.
I know that I can speak personally of my Pastor. This would be the person that ordained me as a minister of the gospel. When he laid hands on me and ordained me my life was changed forever. When he talks he will say things that just ignite my spirit. A casual conversation with him will change things in my life. I realize that he is not the only person with the anointing operating in his life. I realize there are other people who are well qualified to Pastor, mentor, disciple, and impart in ways that will change a person. But for me, no one has an impact in my life like "my" pastor. He is the one that God put in my life in order to bring change and cause me to become all that God purposed for me. No, he does not control my life, nor do I have to seek his permission to do things. That is how man has perverted this position. He is there as a safety net to keep me from getting stuck on stupid and to challenge me to reach new heights.
We all should have someone! Even non-Christians understand this as any qualified motivational speaker will tell you, in order to become successful you must have a coach or mentor in your life. Consider the highly talented like Micheal Jordon or Tiger Woods. You would think with their skill level they would not need someone coaching them. Yet every top athlete has a coach. Entrepreneurs have mentors. Anyone of success has someone in their life that "helps" them be better. I personally think that people are too quick to change churches, pastors, or cities. More important than anything in our life should be the connection that God wants us to have. Everything that I need for my life is found in the place that God has called me to.
Jesus called this a sifting process when He was talking to Peter. We will all go through sifting times where the enemy will try and put a wedge between us and the one God has placed in our life.
The hard thing about this is that every anointed person of God is a person. They are flesh and blood, they make mistakes, and there are things that cause the carnal side of them to rise up. They are NOT Jesus! I remember hearing someone say in reference to a minister of the gospel, "They only speak what the Holy Spirit says." This would be true of Jesus, but for mankind... I think you know the rest of that story.
My point is the enemy will get you focused on the natural side of the individual. You will start noticing their faults you'll identify areas that you disagree with them and through this sifting process the enemy will successfully change your thinking to a framework that neutralizes the gift that has been given to you. Once you reach this place you will think, "It is now time to move on."
Don't be sifted! Guard your heart, cast down imaginations, and learn to be led by the Spirit according to the Word of God.