In our Christian culture, we often believe what is being taught from the Bible without question or seek the Lord for an understanding of what is being taught, which sometimes causes us to go down a path that God didn't intend for us to travel. As the Bible tells us do not believe every spirit but we should test every spirit to see whether if it is of God, 1 John 4:1. As you read what I am about to share with you, my prayer is that you do more than just merely read but also ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you.
In a conversation before He was crucified Jesus spoke to Simon, Peter, saying "Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. 33But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34NKJV
Most times when we hear a message from this passage of Scripture the focus is on Satan's desire to sift Simon as wheat, and the emphasis is placed on Peter's denying Jesus, but I believe that wasn't the point of this conversation Jesus was having with Peter.
In this passage, Jesus’ emphasis was not on Satan’s desire or Peter denying Him; the emphasis was on Peter’s faith and ministry.
There are a few principles that we can glean from this passage. The first principle is that “prayer strengthens faith.” Jesus told Peter, though Satan asked for you that he may sift you as wheat, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail you, and when you return to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus reassured Simon (Peter) that in spite what Satan desire was, his faith is what will bring him back to Jesus. It didn’t matter what Satan wanted to do to him. It didn't matter what Peter was about to say or do, it was about his "faith." It was about his confidence in knowing who Jesus was and his love for Him. Regardless of what he was about to experience, his survival was dependent upon the strength of his faith.
Secondly, Jesus told Peter, "When you return to me strengthen your brethren." Peter's responsibility after his experience was to strengthen those around him. It was his duty to share with others how his faith in Jesus brought him through his experience. Through his life experiences, Peter experienced the grace of God.
Thirdly, Jesus taught Peter that He cannot rely on his own strength. Peter had the best of intentions when he told Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. His best of intention was not the source of Peter's strength.
It was from these principles that Peter's ministry was established by Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter by the sea three times He asked Peter, "Do you love me," Peter responded, "Lord, You know I do." Jesus told him "Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17NKJV
Peter, himself warns us of the desire of Satan toward us as believers, in 1 Peter 5:8-9(NKJV) he warns us; "Be sober, be vigilant, because the adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by the brotherhood in the world."
With this knowledge and experience, Peter also prayed for his fellow brethren as Jesus prayed for him, "But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1Peter 5:10
How do we make the word of God applicable to our lives today?
As Jesus said to Peter when you return to me strengthen your brethren; even so, He requires us to do the same. There is no doubt that as believers we will suffer in this world, but how we deal with it will establish if we are capable to strengthen our brethren. We can either depend on our own strength or turn to the God of our faith for strength. If our faith is strong in Him, we will not fail. Revelation 12:11(CJB) tells us, "They (believers) defeated him (Satan) by the Lamb's blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life."
Let us not be selfish in our witness of God’s grace and love towards us. What are the lessons you have learned from your life’s experiences which you know without a doubt if it had not been for your faith in God and His grace you would have not made it through? Bear in mind you are not the only one who is suffering or has suffered in this world. Your brothers and sisters need to know that God is as faithful today as He was in the life of Peter and all those who chose to follow Him.
Will you strengthen your brethren today?
One of the biggest fears I had was talking to people. I have said many times before that I would rather lock myself in a room with a book or computer rather than having to talk with others. I still have that fear sometimes when I have to minister or do public speaking. As I read the account of when God (Adonai) called Moses (Moshe) in the book of Exodus, I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one who had such fear and to know God is in control even of my mouth when He gives me an assignment.
Exodus 4 verse 10 records Moshe's fear of public speaking. "Moshe said to Adonai, "Oh, Adonai, I'm a terrible speaker. I always have been, and I'm no better now, even after you have spoken to your servant! My words come slowly, my tongue moves slowly." (CBJ-Complete Jewish Bible)
In Exodus chapter four we read of the awesome encounter that Moshe had with Adonai. After Adonai gave Moshe instructions to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt Moshe's response was "I am a terrible speaker, I always have been, and I am no better now, even after you spoke to your servant." Moshe, basically told Adonai that he is not a great speaker so he should find someone else for the job. The interesting thing I wanted to highlight from this verse which Moshe said is this; "I am no better now, even after you have spoken to your servant." The reason, here Moshe is having an encounter with the All-Knowing All-Powerful God and even after his encounter, he felt no different than before. Moshe's encounter at that moment would be equivalent to what we would call today a "Holy Ghost" encounter in the church. The moment when you are sure you heard from God and you know he spoke to you. How Moshe felt is so important to us because many times as believers we feel as if when we have an encounter with Adonai our capabilities would somehow supernaturally change and we become this superhero version of ourselves.
When we are called by Adonai and is given an instruction to carry out His mission it is not about our capabilities but His willingness to use us to demonstrate His power in the Earth. We understand this truth because of Adonai's response to Moshe in Exodus chapter 4 verses 11 and 12; "Adonai answered him, "who gives a person mouth? Who makes a person dumb or deaf, keen-sighted or blind? isn't it I? Adonai? Now, there, go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say."(CJB)
Adonai is not interested in our capabilities but our willingness to go and do what He has asked of us. When you and I surrender to Adonai's will He can show Himself strong in the Earth so that those who do not know Him might come to realize their frailty without Him.
If Adonai has spoken to you and you don't feel competent or capable after your experience with Him, it is Okay. Adonai, through His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to be His witness in Earth. Acts chapter 1 verse 8 states, But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” (Amplified)
It is in your surrender and willingness to go that the Holy Spirit can manifest Adonai's power. Today I want to encourage someone who is feeling incapable of following God's instructions just continue to trust, rely, and depend on Him, for it is He who will work through you. As Adonai said to Moshe, so I admonish you; go and Adonai will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say. Remember, Yeshua also promised never to leave nor forsake you. He said in Matthew chapter 28 in verse 20, "I will be with you always, yes even until the end of the age."(CJB)
Go and do as Adonai commanded you.
It is not easy being you when you are busy being the person everyone else expects you to be. You are drowning in the thoughts of your mind trying to come a float hoping that someone will see and hear the screams that are buried inside. With purpose and destiny locked within you wonder when you will be free to do that very thing that brings you hope and joy from deep within. You are waiting for that moment to breathe… that moment to exhale… that moment to “Ahhhh…” release. To release all that has been holding you back from becoming the person God intended you to be. Is it time to let go, is it time to seize the day, is it time for you to allow the gifts and talents God has given you to take you to your destiny.
Don’t hold back any longer!
Let life spring forth as the sunrise and be you. Be the person God intended you to be, no longer living to be the engine that boast another man’s ship.
Be free to be you!
Stop trying to live a dream in your head when God intend for that dream to help and inspire others to dream as well. Quit fighting within your minds eyes trying to see what lies ahead, when you got all that you need to take the journey before you. Stop living behind the walls of fear and dread of what people may say and do, the only challenge is for you to become the “you” God intended you to be. How long will you doubt, how long you will worry; as if either can make a difference in who God intended you to be?
It is time to see that God is in control. He is the Creator, the master Designer and Planner of your destiny. He knew there would have been challenges. He knew people would use and abuse you. He knew people would want to take all He has placed in you and use it to build their life’s dream and destiny. How long will you allow them to do so? Are you so scared of man that you would put in danger those who God has intended for you to help along the way? He knew you would hide behind your past failures, behind your hurts and pain. He knew you would shy away from fame.
Paralyzed by fear, numb with insecurities and chastised by destiny; how can I be free? I am torn betwixt the two: where I am and where I want to be. Destiny is driving me opposite of where I am heading, yet I find it difficult to let go and surrender to its will. Restlessness and sleepless nights overshadows me like pillars of cloud on a stormy night. I battle confusion like a soldier laden under enemy fire. I do all I can to keep my head just above the water like a man drowning in deep waters. I don’t know how much longer I can keep my legs and hands going before I get weary from all the paddling. I am stressed and pressed beyond what I can take, knowing what is at stake. I can either be the person God intended me to be or continue to be busy being the person everyone expects me to be.
Destiny is calling me!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Written November 21, 2013
Natalee Henry- Minister, Motivational Speaker, Publisher, Author, Founder and C.E.O. of Season Destiny, a ministry designed to "empower you to make right decisions in life." Her goal is to “empower you to make the right decisions in life” through the teaching of the Word of God. Her mission is to Educate, Motivate, and Transform lives for the Kingdom of God.