“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Luke 22:31 (KJV)
Out of all Christ's disciples, Peter was the one who believed that failure couldn't happen to him. But it did, and in a big way. Jesus told him, “...satan has asked to have you, to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith should not completely fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers” (vv. 31-32 TLB). Notice three important truths:
1) We are all capable of falling. Don't believe the lie that says, “If you were really a Christian, you wouldn't have failed like that.” When God saves you, your spirit is immediately changed. But the truth of the matter is that you will always struggle in certain areas. This has nothing to do with your salvation and everything to do with becoming spiritually mature.
2) We must be willing to repent. The trouble with temptation is that it usually starts out as pleasure. You think you can handle it and when you become hooked, you try to overcome it in your own strength. But it doesn't work. The Bible says, “...God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 NKJV). God's grace isn't for the arrogant. It's only given to humble, repentant hearts.
3) Once we are free, we should not be so quick to judge others who are in the midst of their own struggle with temptation. Rather we should hasten to reach out and help others overcome their struggles. So let us be ever ready to help others overcome with the same grace and mercy which God extended to us when we fail. Amen? Amen? Amen!
Rev. Dr. Major Stewart, Pastor
Greater Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
Sunday, July 16, 2017