The biblical account of the Contemporary English Version of Luke 22:31-34 clearly explains how Jesus foretold the impending tests and trials of the disciples’ faith; most especially Peter’s and how He counseled him on the right disposition in handling them.
“Jesus said, “Simon, listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to jail and even to die with you.” Jesus replied, “Peter, I tell you that before a rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say three times that you don’t know me.”” Luke 22:31-34 CEV
Here are 4 notable points in the passage that we must pay critical attention to, as children of God which will be of tremendous help to us during the tests and trials of our faith.
1. The bragging right of satan.
2. Jesus’ prayer for us.
3. Building strong faith
4. Encouraging others by being our brother’s keeper.
1. THE BRAGGING RIGHT OF SATAN
Like satan tempted Eve in the garden from the very beginning which resulted in the fall of the First Adam, he tested Job with God’s permission, then he tempted Jesus and so does he tempt every child of God.
It is therefore no longer news that satan has the bragging rights of testing God’s children. However, God has promised not to tempt us beyond measure (what we can bear). (Genesis 3:1-7, Job 1:6-12, Matthew 4:1-11, 1Corinthians 10:13).
2. JESUS’ PRAYER FOR US.
The most powerful and encouraging part of this scripture is the prayer of Jesus for Peter that his faith failed not because of the coming pressure from satan to frustrate him and the other disciples from following Him.
If it was unnecessary, satan would not have wasted his time and efforts trying to hinder them from doing God’s will and finishing strong. He knew hell would be depopulated through their ministries, so he bombarded them with fear, doubt, a sense of unworthiness, guilt, shame, reproach, persecution, betrayal and so on but thanks to Jesus, the apostles recovered from them all because of His prayer and so shall we in Jesus’ Name!
Beloved, each time you feel like giving up, remember it is actually time to strive harder and move on, pressing harder for the goal of an overcomer because Jesus has already prayed for you that your faith fails not and there is no way His words will fall to the ground unfulfilled.
(John 17:6-19; 20-26, Romans 8:26-27)
3. BUILDING STRONG FAITH
Faith is an integral part of our Christian life and The Word of God (which is God) is the source of our faith, thus we will develop strong faith from hearing, obeying and practicing it. (John 1:1, Romans 10:17)
Without faith, it is impossible to please God, so every believer must live by his or her faith because faith is the currency of The Spirit.
Faith in God must become our life style and not just what we use for material needs or gains. We cannot afford to waver and be weak on the day of battle with our arch enemy, satan. Rather, we should be bold, strong and courageous at all times. (Hebrews 11:6, Joshua 1:9, Proverbs 28:1, James 4:7).
4. ENCOURAGING OTHERS BY BEING OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
The general human tendency during tests and trials is withdrawal, that is, the desire to stand aloof in despair. This happens when a person tries hard to find his/her bearing, bring solutions or understand the situation around him/her to no avail. Contrarily, God’s expectation for him is to draw closer first to Him, then to his/her fellow believers for encouragement, prayers and support. Jesus commanded Peter to strengthen his brethren when he became strong. On one hand, he needed to overcome satan first and on the other hand, he had to encourage his brothers in Christ to be overcomers like himself. This is the responsibility of every Christian towards his brother or sister in the faith. (1 Peter 3:8, Ephesians 4:32)