Some incidents in the life of Peter provide an illustration of how each of us is influenced by Satan’s tricks and our own sinfulness.
Take a closer look and consider that even Peter the Rock was blind to the darkness in him. Lurking just beneath the surface of Peter’s award-winning commitment to Christ was that one thing. That one thing, that aspect of Peter that would get in the way of all that passion, commitment, and energy, was leaking and visible. In Luke 22, we see it come out, and Jesus addresses it in a weird and ominous way. All God’s men who will fight evil must pause and reflect on how our Commander feels about character preceding influence.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” Luke 22:31-33
Praying for me against Satan? When I repent and turn back to Him? Peter’s stomach must have clenched up real tight, his mind must have started racing, his defenses and insecurities skyrocketing to Code Red. This is the definition of an awkward moment. “Uh, sorry, Jesus. I was just staking my claim.” At this point, Peter was the most high-profile disciple on the team. He’d just been guaranteed a starring role in eternity. And just as they’re sharing this intimate moment, THWACK! Jesus pours water on the “Rock star.” We now know who’s going to be the greatest by whom Satan is asking to sift. A few long seconds pass. Peter’s brain is crunching the data. Then his response: “Fine. Bring it on. I’ll prove I’m all that.” Predictably proud, ambitious, and self-sufficient, Peter can’t help himself. Whether it’s the awkwardness of the moment, his false sense of self, or ignorance about just how severe his sifting process would be, that one thing leaks out. !
He’d be used by God in all the ways Jesus promised, but only after the sifting, after the purification of his character. Sifting is synonymous with elimination. What Peter could not recognize in himself, God eliminated. He allowed Peter to be selected and exposed to a trial and testing that would separate and eliminate his ego from his service for Christ, deconstruct the old Peter, and raise up a new man with a new character. There is no longer a place for darkness to dwell in his life. It has been replaced with the light of the character of Christ Himself—an impenetrable force.
We each have a key task to complete before we set out to fight evil: discerning the darkness in our own hearts. Jesus said, “Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light” (Luke 11:35-36). He knew this one thing would be critical for His followers: the strange dynamic of how faith gets hijacked by evil. It’s a terrifying thought, Jesus’ telling us we’ll have to actively evaluate ourselves to keep from becoming an unwitting pawn for evil. But if it’s true that Christians can be doing God’s work, shining His light, and simultaneously be providing a safe haven for darkness, we have some heart investigation to do.
Kenny Luck is an ECPA Platinum Award Winning and Best Selling Author of twenty three books for men. His latest book, “Dangerous Good: The Coming Revolution of Men Who Care” (NavPress) was released in August 2018. As a thought leader and expert on men and culture, Kenny is called by God to revolutionize men’s ministry, free men spiritually, and empower men’s movement worldwide. God is using Kenny to reach over a hundred thousand men each week through the Every Man radio show in Los Angeles and the worldwide LIVESTREAM of his weekly men’s meeting via Every Man Ministries on Facebook. Kenny and his wife Chrissy are parents to three awesome millennials, and live in Trabuco Canyon, California.