“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Don’t let anyone tell you the devil is not seeking to sift like wheat any member of your church leadership team. From the pastor to the deacon, from the teacher to the choir director – and all points between – our mortal enemy seeks first to destroy church shepherds and leaders. In so doing he maximizes the damage he can cause to the person in the pew and in the community outside the church.
And let’s also be very clear, even those who do nothing more than sit in the pew each Sunday are not safe from the devil’s stratagem. Simply because you are a Christian means you’ve got a bull’s-eye painted on your soul. If he can destroy your testimony, then think of the collateral damage he causes in your family and among your friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
If you are walking close to Jesus, no one has to tell you the days in which we live are evil. A deep, visceral, spiritual darkness has fallen across our world like a rancid wool blanket. All the more reason we desperately need each others prayers to remain faithful to our Savior.
You might remember Peter’s earlier bravado when speaking to Jesus: Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” (Mark 14:29) To which Jesus responded: “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” (verse 30)
Peter protested, this time vehemently: 31 “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” (Verse 31)
Oh, how often have I sounded like Peter. Perhaps you have, as well. That is surely why the Holy Spirit warns us: So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Any of us – we or our church leadership – any of us can falter in the Satanic battle for our souls. Any of us can be sifted like wheat. Oh, God! Remind us often to “pray for one another, so that [we] may be healed.” (James 5:16)
Oh, Lord, hear our prayers.