From Sifting to Shifting, Pt. 1

Luke 22:31-34 (NASB) says, “31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV) says, “31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”
In context to this scripture, the disciples were having an intense discussion as strife was being sowed among them concerning which one would be accounted as the greatest! (Luke 22:24). Jesus begins to explain to them that this is an upside down kingdom! This isn’t like government or the work place where you work your way up the food chain, and that you obtain success through entitlement. No, in this kingdom, the greatest in the kingdom must be like Jesus, the One who serves the most! These men were “appointed” unto the kingdom of God, to commune with Jesus at His table, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel as they endured with Jesus in His temptations (Luke 21:28-30).
Could you imagine the conversation Peter could have been having? “Look, I know I am the greatest because I have walked on water with Jesus! I have healed countless people, and even at the Mount of Transfiguration, I was the one who suggested not to build just, one or two, but three tabernacles of Jesus, Moses and Elijah!” As he became puffed up with his feeling of entitlement, Christ would have to put it in check. On the back burner of things, Peter had no clue what was occurring, how much Satan was at work. Pride will always blind you to the enemy at work! Satan demanded permission in similar fashion from God as of that concerning Job. Satan wanted Job to curse God to His face, but he wanted Peter to be in remorse to never forgive himself. He knew what Peter was capable of! If his pride could ever be conquered, he would be one of the boldest witnesses for Christ that this world had ever seen. Due to his potential, Satan had a bullseye on his back, and because of recognizing this, knowing what was going on in the Spirit, Jesus warned Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail. The reason people’s faith fails is because the devil wants them. While the devil desired to “sift” him, God desired to “shift” him so that when he was converted he would strengthen his brothers. Satan sifts through pride, but the Holy Spirit shifts through humility! Satan desires, but Jesus prays! Satan wanted to prove Peter was the chaff instead of the wheat, just a mere imitation of the wheat who was separated when the going got tough! Peter did fall, but he was never a failure because his faith didn’t fail! A righteous man falls, but he gets up every time (Proverbs 24:16). The moment that your faith fails in God and His promises is the moment the enemy begins to sift you.
Sifting is the process in which grain was harvested. While barley was winnowed, wheat was threshed. *Threshing is when oxen trampled over wheat to separate it from the chaff. *Threshing was sometimes done by instruments (Isaiah 28:27-28), and sometimes by oxen or other animals treading on the grain on the threshing floor. Paul used this law to enforce the law of support to ministers of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:9). (Dake, p. 224) *Wheat, barley, and rye were threshed by trampling them under feet of oxen (Deuteronomy 25:4), by riding a sled over the sheaves, then using a fork to throw the straw up so the grain would fall to the ground, or by rolling over the sheaves with a cart having 3 or 4 heavy rollers of wood, stone, or iron (Dake, p. 503). In other words, when you have been walked over, it is not to beat you down, but to separate those things that have been trying to attach itself to you that are not of God. *The wind of the Holy Spirit will blow away the chaff out of your life that is trying to connect itself to you and bring you down. On the other hand, the chaff is caught away with every wind of doctrine. The wind of the Holy Spirit consecrates the wheat, but the wind of false doctrine blows away the chaff to where it becomes nothing! *Satan desired to sift Peter as wheat, by walking over him and carrying him away with lies and false ideas! But, at the end, because of Christ’s intercessory prayer, his faith did not fail, and he was able to strengthen others even after he fell because he was to be the wheat and not the chaff. Do not be the chaff that imitates, but be the wheat that demonstrates the power of God!