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.
Prayer: Father, I ask forgiveness for any ways I have allowed Satan to control me. I want to be controlled wholly by You.