Satan Demands to Sift You Like Wheat
There comes a point in every person’s life when they will face a struggle. There is probably not one person who can claim that they have never faced a battle or a challenge during the course of their life. I am willing to bet that every person is currently facing at least one battle. Some of us face challenges, some of us face battles, and some of us seem to be in a seemingly endless series of battles of tantamount proportion. If you are facing an extreme battle, this message is for you.
Sometimes it seems as if the universe has balled up it’s mighty fist, struck a mighty blow, and tossed everything in your world to the four winds. You might be sitting there asking yourself, “What in the world is going on? How am I going to get thru this? Has God forgotten me? Am I being punished? Have I been cursed? Is the devil running my life?”
I’m going to show you through scripture that God is with you in the battle, He is with you in the storm. You might be sitting there thinking, “Salt, you don’t know what I’m going through! I lost my job, I lost my spouse, my finances are in ruin, I’m facing some very scary things! You don’t know what I’m going through!”
Well, I’m going to be so bold as to say, yes I do know what you are going through. I’ve faced some pretty enormous battles in my life, too. Many battles. I’m not going to give you a laundry list of my own struggles, storms and battles. But I am here to tell you that God is with you through it all. I can guarantee it through scripture and I’m going to walk you through it. Because not only understanding that God is with you during the struggle that you’re facing, but that it does have a good outcome might offer you some encouragement and clarity during this difficult time you are facing.
First of all, battles, storms and struggles are not a curse from God. You’re not being punished and God certainly hasn’t forgotten you. Sometimes, we are facing consequences for our actions and choices, and that might be part of what you are experiencing now. But, even with that, God is still with you.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen thy brethren.” ~Luke 22:31-32
Saints, the devil demands to sift you like wheat! In Luke 22:31, when Jesus is admonishing Peter, (and it’s interesting that He uses Peter’s old name here), the Greek word for “you” (“hymas”) in that verse is plural. In other words, Jesus is telling Peter that the devil demanded to sift all of the disciples like wheat. And, Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would hold up, and after Peter’s strength was restored, he would take what he learned from the experience and strengthen his brethren (v 32).
Spend a minute with that. The devil demands to sift every disciple of Jesus like wheat. And, if you are a believer who loves God and follows Jesus, you are a disciple. The word “disciple” means “student of God.” Luke 22:31-32 includes you. The devil demands to sift you like wheat.
What does “sift like wheat” mean? When you look at sifting in the biblical context of the time, it was the separating of the wheat and the grain from the chaff. They had this apparatus for which they would place the wheat in the top and workers would shake it back and forth, rather violently I might add, to separate the wheat and the grain (the good, usable part) from the chaff (the unusable part). And, the chaff would be hauled off to the fire and burned.
Picture in your mind this big sifting apparatus with wheat being piled inside it and workers shaking this thing back and forth, tossing it to and fro, to get the wheat and grain (the goods) separated from the chaff (the garbage). The good part can be used for good purpose, the garbage can be hauled off to the fire and annihilated.
Satan is allowed to approach the throne of God and make a demand to sift you like wheat. He is allowed to ask God for that.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? ~Job 1:6-8
All one has to do is read the book of Job to understand what being sifted like wheat was like for him. I mean, Job had everything coming at him from all sides. And, he was a good man who lived righteously, a faithful servant of God who loved Him very much. He had God’s favor on his life, he had wealth, he had an enormous family, a thriving business. This was not a bad man living in sin.
Satan approached the throne of God to demand to sift Job like wheat. Satan demanded to sift Job to see if afterward Job would still be loving, praising and serving God. God granted Satan permission to sift Job. But he set limits to what Satan could bring upon Job.
"Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face."
Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. ~Job 1:10-12
When Satan approached the throne of God, He asked him where he had been. And, Satan told him that he had been walking the earth, going back and forth, literally combing the earth trying to find somebody with territory or potential territory that he can stand on. Satan approaching the throne is the same as approaching a judge in a court of law. Satan is bringing his petition because he has a right to do so.
God allowed Satan to sift Job like wheat but he set a limit. God did not give Satan free reign to bring whatever he wanted upon Job. And, God always sets limits. Satan is subservient to God. He can’t just swoop in and create mayhem in a person’s life. God will decide for each person the limit and it will never be for your destruction. Never. It will always be for a good purpose.
You want to talk about enormous battles… Job was thoroughly sifted. He had everything coming at him; sickness, death of his children, losing his business and wealth, people turning against him, etc. Job went through the battle of all battles.
I’m here to tell you that your problems serve a purpose. You are under attack for a reason. And, you don’t have to have “garbage” in your life to be sifted. It’s almost as if Satan has some inside track on the potential in your life (whether righteous or sinful). You might not even be at that territory yet. But, Satan sees the potential in you, somehow he has that inside track, and he wants to get in there and either disrupt your path to righteousness or point out the sin.
Perhaps Satan knows what you will do for the Lord and for the kingdom and he wants to get in there and try to stop it. Maybe he knows that there is potential for sin and he wants to draw it out so he can exercise his right to that territory. Either way, Satan has a right to demand to sift you and God may allow it to see what you’re made of.
Satan is only allowed to stand on territory for which he has rights. He had to get permission to sift Job like wheat. He had to permission to sift the disciples like wheat. Satan does not have cart-blanche free liberty to swoop in and create mayhem in a person’s life. God’s hand is on any permission he gives Satan, He knows about it before it even happens, He set the parameters and He knows what it’s going to do for you.
I know this is a hard teaching. And, it might not be exactly what you want to hear right now. You’re probably thinking that God doesn’t realize how difficult this is for you or how much you are suffering. You could be thinking that you aren’t even sure you will survive the battle you are in at this moment. But, God is with you, He was with you before it even hit you, and since He is with you, He is going to get you through it.
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.” ~Isaiah 66:9
“I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” ~1 Corinthians 5:5
If you are in the midst of an enormous battle and it seems like God has forgotten you, doesn’t care about your suffering, and you question whether or not you can make it through, remember:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ~1 Philippians 4:13
The battle that you are facing right now is intended to take something out of your flesh that is not supposed to be there anymore. As a Christian, our entire lives from the moment we become saved is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. This is our spiritual transformation. To be a believer, a disciple, means that day-by-day, through the course of your life, you are being made into a new creature. And, this new creature you are being transformed into is the likeness of Christ.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. ~2 Corinthians 5:17
“So all of us who’ve had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”~2 Corinthians 3:18
God will not give up on our spiritual transformation. He will continue working in you until all the wheat and grain (the good, usable part) is separated from the chaff (the garbage that has to be removed). Because, the garbage has got to go, period.
Sometimes we are hitting these storms and we don’t even have a clue of what is embedded in our flesh. We don’t know what God is trying to do with us. You’ll find out. Because, the sifting is going to reveal areas of your flesh that will have to be up-rooted and removed. You are being prepared for Jesus’ return and then our transformation will be complete and glorified. God is not going to leave you with garbage in your flesh, sin in your life, or anything that can grow into territory that Satan can stand on and use to tear you down.
God wants us ready. Not only that, but He wants us to be salt and light to the world. He wants people to see Him in and through you. For some of us (all of us), that might take some work.
How do we withstand what God is doing in our lives? Where do we put our heart and our faith in all of this?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” ~James 1:2-4; 9
I remember when I was being ministered to during some of the enormous battles I faced in my own life. Good Christians were throwing that verse at me telling me “rejoice in my trial, rejoice in my trial.” At that time I thought that concept was impossible. I was thinking that there was no way to be “happy” during the horrible things going on in my life. I mean, my daughter was facing cancer, I was losing my house to medical bills, my son was going through his rebellious teen years, my business was tanking…how in the world am I supposed to be happy in this trial? In my mind it was impossible to find joy in my suffering.
What I learned was, that verse doesn’t suggest that you paint a smile on your face and pretend like it’s a happy time. What God is telling us through those verses is to recognize that while you are going through this trial God is doing a mighty work in you. We aren’t supposed to pretend we aren’t suffering and are happy. We are supposed to be confident and grateful that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves - to transform us into the likeness of Christ.
God loves us enough to do whatever it takes to get us where we need to be in the kingdom. It’s precious, worth more than gold, and even if it is put in the fire, it cannot be burned! Once that character is built up in you, nothing can take it away or destroy it. Ever. You will have it forever.
What are you made of? Where is your heart? What chaff is still in your flesh?
Are you a fair weather Christian? Are you the type who only praises God when the sun is out and when everything is going well? What do you do when difficult things happen? Where is your faith and your love for God then?
God’s going to find out and Satan is going to demand it.
Trust what God is doing with your life. When the battles come, and they will, exercise your faith, lean on God, and trust that if He has allowed it to come to you that He will bring you through it. And, once you are on the other side, not only will you have gained much fruit, but He will reward your faith.
If you are facing a battle right now and need prayer support, please feel free to send us an email with your prayer requests. We would be happy and honored to pray for you.