Satan Has Desired to Have You
Satan tried to get his hands on Jesus but failed miserably (Matthew 4:1-11). Even though he had succeeded in affecting Peter (Matthew 16:22-23), the king of the damned wanted more of him as well as the rest of the apostles. He wanted to sift them like wheat, a phrase that referred to the practice of tossing about the grain to separate the wheat kernels from the chaff. Basically, he wanted to throw them around and make them spiritually unstable. He wanted to hurl everything he had at them to deter them from the great mission they would soon undergo, that of taking the Gospel to the world. Satan knew how much damage these men of faith could do to destroy his evil works. He knew how many souls they could take from him and bring to Christ through the Word of God. He literally wanted to wear them out physically, emotionally and/or mentally so that they would surrender spiritually.
Commenting on His response to Satan’s desire in verse 31, Jesus again addressed Peter directly. Since Peter had the “keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:19), he would need to be exemplary in his devotion to the Lord. He would need to stand tall and strong in the battle against Satan. Interestingly, Jesus did not say, “I have prayed that Satan would leave you alone” or “I have told Satan to keep his hands off of you.” Instead, Jesus told Peter that he had prayed for his faith to not fail. In saying that, the Lord clearly indicated that it would be Peter’s faith that would ultimately overcome the devil’s attacks.
Have you, as a Christian, ever felt like Satan was sifting you as wheat? Have you ever felt that he was just pushing you around through life’s circumstances? Even though most of us have never sifted wheat in first century fashion, there’s a more familiar visual that demonstrates the same point. The next time you’re in a store and see a snow globe, pick it up and shake it. Take note of all of the “snow” swirling about. It will be everywhere inside the globe. Little pieces of whatever that is in there will fly through the air, collide with each other and land who knows where. It will look like absolute chaos! Isn’t that the way life feels sometimes? Whether we’re envisioning wheat being tossed about or “snow” flying everywhere, we can easily see how each depicts our lives from time to time. Life gets mixed up, confusing and chaotic. Our minds become jumbled. We begin to question everything we’ve done and we begin to question God’s care for us. This, then, can lead to despair and a desire to give up on one’s service to the Lord.
Based on Jesus’ statement to Peter, the answer to the problem of Satan shaking us up is our faith. James 2:19 says, “the devils also believe, and tremble.” Thayer’s Lexicon defines “tremble” as, “to shudder, to be struck with extreme fear, to be horrified.” Satan is absolutely terrified of anything that has to do with God. That’s why he backed down when Jesus confronted Him with the Word of God in Matthew 4:1-11.
Every single day, faithful Christians face the internal struggle of Satan trying to shake us up while God is trying to calm us down (Psalm 46:10). Christian, Satan desires to sift you as wheat. He knows how much good you can accomplish in the cause of Christ. He is afraid of the Lord and he is afraid of every faithful servant of the Lord. He’s not going to give up anytime soon, but we can put him in his place through faith. Turning to prayer to talk to God (I Peter 5:7) and turning to the Bible to listen to Him (Romans 10:17) are two acts that will turn the tables on Satan and make HIM shake while He attempts to shake us..