It’s not anything I can really identify in very specific terms, but I do believe there are times when individuals are targets of evil influence. It can come through events or emotions or other people.
“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.” ~Luke 22:31
I don’t think you have to look for a demon under every rock to believe this. It is true that there are just bad things that happen. Sometimes as the result of poor decisions or unexpected consequences. But that’s not the kind of thing about which Jesus warned Simon Peter (and the other Apostles. ‘You’ is plural – he is referring to all of them, although his attention seems to be on Peter). Even with a warning, Peter still fell into a kind of sifting nearly cost him his faith.
But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. ~Luke 22:32
Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. It very nearly did fail, but there was a layer of faith that Satan could not peel away. Jesus knew that this journey of Peter’s was about to take a detour, but it was not permanent. He had work to do on the other side of this experience.
All kinds of Christian people experience the influence of evil in their lives. It isn’t always evident at first. We can find ourselves scrambling for answers. Like afflicted Job, who wasn’t privy to the conversation between God and Satan. It is understandable when he weeps:
I was at ease, but He shattered me; He seized me by the scruff of the neck and smashed me to pieces. He set me up as His target; His archers surround me. ~Job 16:12-13
God had not targeted Job, nor his friends. But someone had. How can you know if you are facing the oppression of the enemy? Notice the various names for Satan in the Bible and you will see how he operates. Destroyer. Accuser. Liar. Tempter. Thief.
If you feel like a target for evil influence in some way, you are not without defense. The classic text on spiritual warfare is Ephesians 6:10-18. Truth. Righteousness. Readiness. Faith. Salvation. God’s Word. These are the items that will equip us to survive. We do not wait until we engage the enemy to equip ourselves. That is what we are to be doing now. How are you preparing for the inevitable spiritual sifting that is coming your way?
I believe Jesus is praying for us, too, that our faith would not fail. If you could hear Jesus praying for you right now, what do you think He would be praying about?
Since He has already won the victory, we await the Glorious Appearing of Christ with confidence and joy.
…We wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. ~Titus 2:13
We may sometimes be a target of Satan and his work, but we are not helpless. We remain victorious no matter what comes our way – because we are saved by the Eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Thanks for reading. JD