SIFTING: The Temptation Process

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat – Luke 22:31.

Jesus had revealed to Peter what the devil sought to do to him (Peter). He wanted to sift him. What does it mean to sift? What does it mean when the devil wants to sift you as a Christian?

Let’s use a scenario very common to us. In our local homes, when we want to cook grains, say beans, millet, or even some types of rice, we sift it. Sifting means “to separate out by putting through a sieve” (Miriam Webster’s dictionary). Knowing what sifting is I hope you now understand what is going on here. The sifting goes through few processes. I will use these processes to explain how the devil sifts the Christian. 

The Sifting Process

NB: The elements/grains being sifted stands for the Christian. The sieve stands for your mind – the battlefield.

First of all, the grains are poured into the sieve. At the pouring stage, the devil ‘pours’ ideas into your mind. He makes you conceive a thought – an evil thought. You start thinking about what he wants you to do, say steal (it can be anything else). You begin to think about stealing a particular thing. This can last as long as you want it to. The next stage is shaking the grains. At this point the devil begins to shake your beliefs and convictions that may counter the conceived thoughts, such as what the bible says against stealing. He begins to “plant a bug” in your mind to worry about your beliefs. You can doubt, ignore or suddenly forget what God has to say about the particular evil thought. After this shaking has been done, you now have two separated particles – the good ones and the bad ones. Thus, you now have two thoughts/desires conflicting within you – God’s, and the devil’s. This is where your strength as a Christian matters. Remember, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is not very great” (Proverbs 24:10- NLT). 

After the separation has been done, the good grains will be used. In the same way, when these conflicting thoughts/desires in you are separated as you struggle within you, the devil uses the bad ones if your strengths fail; otherwise, God’s thoughts/desires prevail.

Peter’s sifting, as predicted by Jesus occurred when Peter denied knowing Jesus. Thus, he failed his sifting experience. After the devil shook whatever he stood for, he could not stand by the ‘good grains’.

The Threshing Floor 

“His winnowing fork is in his hands to clear His threshing floor and to gather wheat into his barn…” – Luke 3:17.

Threshing floor is an old technology that was used like a sieve. It was used on a large scale basis to blow off or separate chaff from wheat. To stand the devil’s sifting/temptations, I beseech you to submit to God’s threshing floor, where He can blow the chaff – evil desires and thoughts that the devil can use to his advantage to make you fail a sifting experience. 

Remember no temptation comes to us except that which concerns our evil desires (James 1:14). If you submit to God’s threshing floor to blow these away, you would hardly be at the mercy of the devil’s sifting and lose to him.

A Little Extra

After Jesus had told Peter about the devil’s plan to sift him, he added, “But I have prayed for you…” – Luke 22:32a. This means that Jesus had already prayed about it before he went ahead to inform Peter. Using this model, may I kindly suggest to you that whenever you dream or see something (prophetically) about someone, as much as possible, pray about it or pray for the person before (deciding to) informing him/her. Copying Jesus’ example is always the best. 

To avoid the devil’s sifting, submit to the Lord’s threshing floor. Pray for those God speaks to you about. You’d be sifted, but remain seated – seated with the lord.

May the Lord mend our nets!

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