I told everyone, “Satan does not take a summer vacation!” If only I had remembered my own warning. I’ve entitled this summer, Sifted Like Wheat. Complete with multiple opportunities to become hurt, angry – offended!
Tested and failed
Enduring love for others testifies that a person is living in light of the future. Where love abounds, offences are frequently overlooked and quickly forgotten because love covers others failures. I spent this entire past ministry year teaching on 1 Corinthians 13! Who would know? I was tested and I failed.
The make-up test
At the same time, God remained faithful. After every difficult relational encounter I failed, there was a make-up test. In His mercy, God gave me another chance to succeed. The opportunity to humble myself, forgive, and to seek to make amends.
Apparently, that kind of humility speaks loudly. Of course, it wasn’t easy. Forgiveness requires death to self for the sake of Christ and others. My flesh (pride) welled up. I resisted doing what knew I ought to do. It was easier to harbour my resentment.
Be that as it may, doing so made me feel miserable. There was an awkwardness between me and those I love. I had no inner-peace. Do you know what I mean?
“But I have prayed for you!”
Jesus told Peter, “you will all be sifted.” Now there’s a promise to cling to. We need to remember that during the sifting, Jesus IS praying for us. Jesus is always interceding to the Father on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a 19th-century Scottish minister, said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; he is praying for me!” That is so true. Trust that Jesus’ prayers are effective. He always gets a “yes” and “Amen” from His Father.
During the sifting
Satan never takes a vacation. Satan tempted Peter. Peter outright denied knowing Jesus. Satan tempted me. I denied Jesus by not forgiving right away.
Your sifting may be in another form. If you’re not being sifted now, you will be. God allows it for every true believer. Although this is true, and Satan means to cause you terrible heartache, God allows it for your good.
Sifting is purifying. It reminds us that we are not as strong as we think we are. Even though Peter looked Jesus in the eye and said, “I will never deny you,” only hours later Peter publicly denied ever knowing Jesus.
Even though I spent a year teaching others that 1 Corinthians 13 is not pro-active love but a reactive love, I reacted to others in an unforgiving way. Therefore, I denied Jesus. Your sifting may be in another form. My follow up tests were of even greater value. My faith was built up. More importantly, God’s grace was revealed to others.
After the sifting.
Jesus told Peter, “and when you have turned back” (Jesus knew we would), “strengthen your brothers (and sisters).” Luke 22:32. I pray my failure can be an encouragement to you, friend. Now, go and encourage another.
I would love to connect with you: Contact, Donna Lowe
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The focus of my teaching for 2019, inspired by all that Jesus Christ taught in word and by example, is revolutionary reverence for the LORD. I’m convinced that the absence of a healthy Fear of The LORD is missing-link. Without it, we are disarmed and ineffective.
Humbling ourselves in submission to God is a powerful tool in His hands. He reaches through us and calls to hopeless and desperate souls, “come, be reconciled to the LORD.” 2 Corinthians 5:20.
May His bride be purified. Let the church be equipped. And, may lost souls be saved – to the glory and praise of God.
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