Last Week’s Conversation
I overheard a conversation the other day. It was between God and Satan, and it was about you. From time to time, Satan has been forced into God’s presence to be reviewed and humiliated. Together, we have read of such meetings in the book of Job. Well, it happened again the other day, and this time your name popped up.
Boldly, defiantly, and with sinister intent, Satan looked at God and demanded to have access to you. He wanted to have you, harm you, humiliate you, and leave you scarred and broken. Satan wished to ruin your worship and steal your joy. He stated his passion to mow you down like grass or to sift you like wheat.
Somewhat surprisingly, your loving Heavenly Father agreed. Satan would be allowed to have a go at you. Oh, there would be limits, and through it all God would be watching and working. However, your greatest friend granted your greatest adversary an open season of temptation and testing.
I know what you are thinking. It was yesterday when you and I prayed together that “God would not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” We were serious about enjoying and glorifying God. We were hungry to walk in holiness and delight our God. However, in yesterday’s conversation, in your specific case, God decided to answer our prayer with a mysterious “No.” Under his omnipotent, omniscient, providential care, you would be led into temptation by the devil.
Well, that entire dialogue and decision was surprising enough, but what I learned next blew me away. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, knew what you would do; they foresaw your fall. They knew you would not be obedient. They knew you would defame your God and deny your Savior — over and over and over again.
And this you did. You proved to be such a wretched sinner.
However, in your dark saga there is good news. I overheard another conversation yesterday. It was between the Father and the Son. Jesus, the friend of sinners, the friend that sticks closer than a brother, your faithful high priest, he prayed for you. Though you were faithless, he remained faithful in his affection for you. And he boldly interceded that through it all your faith might not fail. Oh fallen friend, your God abhorred your iniquity, but you should have heard his unwavering love for you — his redeemed child.
Oh dear friend, allow me to converse with and encourage you. I see the consequences of Satan’s temptation and your transgression. However, I also see the fantastic results of Jesus’ intercession for you. Your new, true, regenerated nature is shining forth. I see that you are filled with remorse and regret. However, you have not stopped there; you are repentant and repenting of your egregious blurring of God’s glory. You loathe your sin. You are so dissatisfied with your worship. You have a hunger for righteousness. It is your desire that you be more consistent in enjoying and glorifying your God. This is fantastic! You are doing that which no natural man does. You are turning back. You are an answer to Jesus’ prayer. And in doing so you are glorifying God and Satan is being humiliated — one more time.
So now, what ought you to do?
I know you are broken hearted. I know you feel like taking a leave of absence, turning in your notice, retreating into the background, or even retiring. You do not feel worthy of being an ambassador of Jesus — and the truth is, you are not.
However, hear the voice of your Savior, “Son, I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Buffeted, fallen, broken, and repentant friend, you are now better suited to be a member of the “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a person for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light … you have received mercy.” You are a humbled evangelist and minister, and that is what you are to be. Now go and have conversations with others. Strengthen your brothers!
Luke 21:31-34 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.