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Behind the Sifting

By Enoch Kwame Tham-Agyekum

Jesus mentions Simon’s name twice. Just as Christ mentioned Simon’s name twice, He does same for us and sometimes on countless occasions. The usual thing is to mention someone’s name once and the point is made. When a name is repeated in scripture, it appears to be always intended as an expression of relevance given to the object of interest. In the case of Peter, it was an expression of love manifested by a warning voice. On the repetition of names, John Wesley asserted that there is a peculiar spirit and tenderness in the repetition of the word while Albert Barnes said it is a mode of address that is emphatic because it would fix attention. The repeated mentioning of Peter’s name was an opportunity to forewarn him and furnish him with a solace when he should be brought to repentance. Jesus was foreseeing the danger of Peter and knew that he was about to deny Him. Thus, it was meant to set the bold disciple on his guard because he was self-confident. In our times of temptations and trials, God’s love is repeatedly shown to us. He may do this in many ways; by our names, our calling, our occupation, our cravings etc. If He knows our names, then He knows everything about us.

After knowing the immense love God has for us, we must also understand that Satan has desired to have us. In Revelations 10:12, Satan accuses us (believers) before the presence of God. It is the nature and character of Satan to accuse us all before God. This is because he rebelled from the beginning and so he is always seeking for ways to get the children of God to be like him. With this prime occupation as an accuser, Satan is charged with hypocrisy, with insincere motives and with pursuing sinister designs. We must always have at the back of our minds that there is an ambush that Satan lays for us; to toss, scatter and to cast us out. Satan’s target is not the unbelievers for he has already conquered them. It is the eminent believers. He has set a trap to get you to compromise on your faith, to relinquish your ministry in the Church, to stop praying, to decide on other activities other than Church services etc.

To sift is to shake and scatter, as it were with a sieve. When this is done, the unwanted particles are sieved out and the wanted particles are kept in the sieve. Wheat is normally shaken in a kind of fan or sieve. The grain remains in the fan and the chaff and dust are thrown off. To sift also means to toss with the van. The van of the ancients was a large instrument, somewhat like a shovel, with a long handle, with which they tossed the corn mixed with the chaff and chopped straw into the air that the wind might separate them. It also means to agitate the minds with inward and outward trials, to induce, if possible, to deny men, apostatize and perish. The sifting of wheat is a most hard and thorough, but a most necessary, process. The wheat, as it has grown, has become associated with the protecting chaff, which it is necessary should be blown away, and with the foreign substances taken from the earth and from the air, which must be separated. Before the wheat is ready for use, it must be sifted or winnowed; no pains must be spared to make the process as thorough as possible. Only an enemy to the wheat would desire to spare it such an ordeal. As it falls, after such a process, into the receptacle which has been prepared for it, solid and clean, its value is greatly enhanced. There is now no doubt about its true nature and the work to which it should be put. There are two things involved here. The first is the agitation, shaking and tossing of the corn from side to side. The second is the separation of the corn from the chaff and dust. Satan intent is the former while God effects the latter. In the latter, the corn is improved not impaired by winnowing.

If a rich Christian should find himself in poverty in another season, would they be able to stand the change of position? If a poor person suddenly becomes rich by the grace of God, would they be able to handle the overflowing riches in their life? Often, many changes in our positions occur in our lives and we are often found wanting and messing around when these things occur in our lives. Job experienced such a sharp contrast in his life but he never lost his integrity. There are situations that are intended to release us into new dimensions of our lives. At any stage in life, there are test and examinations and they are accompanied with various degrees of promotions. For example, a child who is in class one must pass the examination at that level in order to be promoted to class two. The testing of that child never ceases as much as he or she desires progress and promotion. The truth of one generation or one age of life is sifted before it is accepted by the next. After this experience, a man’s life is strengthen by the honesty, virtue and graces impacted into his life. We will often smile at the childish conceptions, unclear visions and immature ways we handled issues. The truth of God’s word in us become clearer and simpler.

The tone of confidence with which Jesus spoke of Peter’s sifting is critical to helping us understand the position from which we endure the temptations of life. He sees that our conditions are not hopeless. He anticipates victory for Peter and for us. In temptations and trials, God has already made us victorious through Christ Jesus. Romans 8:37 said, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. We abide faithful in the new covenant of our God and He is faithful who has promised to support and make us more than conquerors. He is able to give us a complete triumph over sin and death. Our faith cannot be destroyed, our love will not diminish and our hope will not blast if we keep trust in Christ.

Jesus told Peter, “But I have prayed for thee”. The prayer of Christ for the saints is what gives us the victory. Through that prayer, the life of Peter was made strong to bear the ordeal of temptation. That prayer of Jesus made him defy the world. Although he fell, he stood up again to strengthen the other brethren. That prayer keeps us strong, it keeps us enduring the times, it keep us despising the shame and it keeps us focused. That prayer shows the kind of love Christ has for His children. It shows the heart of the Father for His children. It is not His wish that temptations will collapse our faith. He knows the trials and temptation will come our way but He has also given us the grace to stand and fail not in our faith. The process may be long and painful but Christ is looking on and every experience of sifting should leave us a little purer and better. If we repent of our mistakes and sins, it will help in the growth and building up of our character. Error can be transmuted into wisdom. Therefore, in the hot fires of repentance, we leave the garbage and come forth as pure gold. It is only Christ who can make our sins yield blessing. Halleluyah!

The sifting we are going through right now is all for our family, our friends, our co-workers, those around us who love Jesus. So, let us not be afraid of the trial that we go through. Jesus knows the outcome. Just as He told Peter, ‘hey boy, I’m praying for you. Chill out, when the storms are over, you are going to be restored. I am gonna use you to rebuild my church. I am planning something beautiful behind your sifting. It will be for your good”, He is saying same for us. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

A lover of Christ, His message, His works, His character, His conviction, His holiness, His glory, His love, His grace, His righteousness. HE is ALL

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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