“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31).

The Roman Church had an awkward dilemma: Christians would deny the Lord in public to the authorities and then show up for worship the following Sunday. What to do with these weak, faltering Christians? Many Christians endured the seizure of property for their faith. Hebrews 12:4 says, “You have not resisted to the point of shedding blood.” It’s the serious nature of associating with Christ. In World War II, one way the Japanese tortured Christians was saying, “You can continue to live if you trample the Christ medallion.” Christ’s face had been trampled barely to recognition.

One of the mentors in my faith journey was Richard Wurmbrandt. He was a pastor tortured by the communists for 14 years. He tells how the guards would torture child prisoners in front of them so Christians would turn in the other believers. Dad would say, “I can’t let them do this to you!” The son would say, “Dad, don’t be a Judas!” This would be a challenging dilemma in our society, where one of our idols is the family. When I ask Christians about their priorities, inevitably they will list them in this order: family, God, career. Denying the Lord is frightening because Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father in heaven.” I’m sure Satan reminded Peter of this statement after the denial occurred. The devil tempts us to sin and after we fall, he accuses us. His goal is not merely to get you to fail, but for you to stay down. When Jesus spoke these words in Luke chapter 22, Peter may have been confused. Jesus also said in this chapter to bring a sword. Peter did bring a sword and tried to protect his Lord. But Jesus was referring to the spiritual battle for the soul when He spoke to Peter of being “sifted as wheat.” When fighting our battles, Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” Here is the core problem: Peter said, “Even if all these others fall away, I will not.” Peter thinks his faith is all about his doing. There’s a big difference between saying, “I can do all things” and “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Satan is trying to destroy Peter, but the Lord has prayed for Peter. And guess what? He has the last word over His children. He has prayed for you and no one can snatch you from His hands.

Adapted from “For Pete’s Sake” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis