By Robert L. Love
“And the Lord said, 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” (Luke 22:31-32).
Satan desires and seeks for every accountable person. Peter admonished, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring Ron, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:7).
The Devil sought for Peter. The Lord said that He would pray for him that his faith would not fail. We might be prone to feel like Peter that we will never forsake the Lord. However, Paul reminds us, “Take heed lest ye fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
Why did the Devil want Peter? Every man is valuable to the Lord. The Lord reminded Peter of this when He said, “What God hath cleansed, call not thou common” (Acts 10:15). No man is common. We may at times undersell ourselves, as may others, but the Lord knows our true value and so does the devil. He also desires you.
Satan knew that if he brought Peter down he would hurt the Lord. On one occasion he tried to win Jesus over to his way but miserably failed (Matt. 4). The next best thing he could do was to win over one of his ardent followers. I could do you more harm by hurting your child or one of your loved ones than any other way. So, Satan knew if he was successful in winning over Peter, he would hurt Jesus.
Today the Devil would like to win over the elders; those who teach, counsel, shepherd, advise, etc. He would like to capture some of us preachers and he has succeeded more than once. Modernism is the order of the day. He has influenced many away from the “Old Paths” into liberalism, softism, institutionalism, humanism, Calvinism (false teaching concerning imputed righteousness and extended grace of God); in denying the organizational structure of the local church; a tendency to level sharp criticism at one who will “contend earnestly for the faith” and to label such a person as negative; and, he has led others into disgraceful acts of immorality.
It is well to keep in mind and study the context of this passage in Luke 22. How would the Devil go about getting Peter? The Lord sought to teach that it is wrong to seek preeminence and supremacy. “Professional jealousy” (for lack of a better expression) exists among gospel preachers. Satan may have taken the leading part in this matter. Our Lord warned Peter that Satan desired to have him. In the quest for popularity some have lost their souls. This has caused some in our day to engage in smear campaigns leveling charges against their fellow preachers, maligning and patronizing them.
The Devil wanted Peter because he was the spokesman of the group and later became an elder. Also, Peter was a married man. Satan wanted him for that reason. He knew if he could capture Peter, who was a married man, that it would not be long before he would have his wife under his influence and eventually his whole family. He would like you today if you are married. He wants you if you are single. Satan desires you!
Oh, how Satan wants our young people. He will employ every “wile,” trick or cunning procedure to lure, entice and deceive them. He will take advantage of their innocence and youth. Young people, don’t let Satan get a single advantage of you. Remember, the timely advice: “Flee youthful lusts” (1 Tim. 5:22). “Let no man despise thy youth” (1 Tim. 4:12). “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Eccl. 12:1). Again, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10).
The Devil wanted Paul – but he was a humble man. He felt his own “littleness.” He desired not to be “exalted over much.” In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 we are told that he was sent “a messenger of Satan to buffet him.” He prayed three times that it might be removed, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” This “thorn in the flesh” was indeed “a messenger of Satan.” He overcame by the Lord’s help. So, as with Peter, Satan wanted Paul, but Jesus also wanted him.
We may have times when our faith is sorely tried. But, we should remember: as Jesus prayed for Peter “that his faith fail not” so He prays for us during our dark and trying hours. when we know not what tomorrow holds. He prays that our faith may be equal to the task; that we may be converted and in turn may be instrumental in converting others.
May God help us to overcome. Let us honestly stand for the truth, reprove and rebuke, fight the good fight of faith and never compromise because of the desire to be popular or for any other reason.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 18, p. 566
September 18, 1986