I woke up this morning literally singing God’s praises and not even two minutes later, I was stewing over a problem. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Meanwhile, I kept hearing God whispering to stop thinking upon the problem because it was a waste of time and leading me down a dangerous road. If it wasn’t for this whispering, I may have been tempted to just let my thoughts (and then my mouth) wonder where it may.
I was grateful when I came across the following blog post today at
by Neil Anderson
Luke 22:31, 32
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail
It is critical that Christians understand their vulnerability to demonic influence. Those who say a demon cannot influence a believer’s life have left us with only two possible culprits for the problems we face: ourselves or God. If we blame ourselves, we feel hopeless because we can’t do anything to stop what we’re doing. If we blame God, our confidence in Him as our benevolent Father is shattered. Either way, we have no chance to gain the victory which the Bible promises us. In reality we are in a winnable war against the defeated kingdom of darkness. But the lies of Satan can gain a measure of control if we believe them.
What right did Satan have to sift Simon (Peter) like wheat? The context reveals that Peter and the other disciples were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. In other words, they were exercising pride. Sinful pride affords Satan a huge opportunity. Peter protested that he was willing to die or go to prison for the sake of Christ. But Jesus told him that, before the day was over, Peter would deny Him three times, and he did.
There are many believers who profess their faith and commit themselves to behave appropriately but can’t seem to follow through. Why? We dare not overlook the reality of Satan and the ground we give him through pride and disobedience. God intervened in the early church and struck down Ananias and Sapphira because they allowed Satan to fill their hearts to lie to the Holy Spirit. The word filled in Acts 5 is the same word found in Ephesians 5:18: “Be filled with the Spirit.” God delivered a dramatic message early: To whichever source you yield, by that source you shall be filled or controlled.
This devotion reminded me that I can either be controlled by the Spirit or by Satan. The choice is ultimately mine. You see, when I continued to think about my “problem” despite warnings from Holy Spirit, I was then going down the road of disobedience. I knew what God wanted me to do, but I was choosing not to listen. It is kind of like my husband’s go to motto, “it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” This kind of thinking infuriates me, which I don’t think is all that surprising, and I am guessing God feels the same way. While this kind of thinking almost seems ridiculous, there is a lot of us living it out in our Christian lives. We rely on the grace of God to excuse our outward disobedience (and not at all the intent of God’s grace).
Right now I find myself (once again) facing a situation that is out of my control. I feel wronged. People I love have been wronged. And all I want to do is set the record straight and show others the errors of their ways. Doesn’t seem all that wrong now does it? The problem is the Spirit keeps saying, “the meek shall inherit the earth….the meek shall inherit the earth…..the meek shall inherit the earth.” Which, I am taking to mean, “keep your mouth shut!”
The last thing I want to do in this situation is to humble myself. It is not in my human nature to be meek. However, if I want to be obedient to my Lord, I will do what is asked of me.
Remember, the choice to be controlled by the Spirit is ours. What choice will you make today?