Tested Saints

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan 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 turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

In sports, a team or player can get an advantage by knowing something about the opposing team. Who beat them before and how did they do it? What strengths do we have to contend with? What weaknesses can we exploit? The more we know about them we can then use it to our advantage. Similarly, knowing about the Christian warfare can pre-arm us against violent attacks, even if it cannot prevent them.

What should we know when we get attacked?

1. Satan’s goal is to destroy you or nullify your usefulness.
We often miss the big picture just trying to stay afloat in a storm. The Bible explicitly states the evil one’s aim in attacking you:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

He roars; he goes about on the prowl. For what reason? To swallow someone whole. Peter wrote to Christians who were called to serve God. Remember that your good deeds will not go unopposed.

2. God is on our side.
Jesus, the verse above states, prayed for Peter’s ultimate victory, and by God’s grace Peter attained it. God does not allow the enemy to harass so that we will fail. What the enemy uses to destroy us, God uses to strengthen our faith. What a mighty incentive to serve! God is on our side. Of course He is, since He called us in the first place.

3. Keep focused on serving God.
Jesus commands Peter to “strengthen your brothers,” no doubt a reference to Peter’s broad ministry to follow. Even though Peter endured severe testing and temptation, He continued unabated, serving God. Early on he was imprisoned, threatened, and persecuted for his faith. But Peter pressed on in his service to God.

God never promised us smooth, trouble-free days during our time here on earth. But He has granted us everything we need to faithfully serve Him (2 Peter 1:3-4). When tested, remind yourself of these two questions: 1) What is God’s goal in this test (a stronger faith)? 2) What’s the evil one’s goal (to render us useless)?

We need to trust God to provide us every encouragement, and keep forging ahead in our service to Him.

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