PERSEVERANCE WORKS EXPERIENCE
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom 5:1-4, KJV). " . . . and perseverance, proven character . . . " (NASB). " . . . perseverance, character . . . " (NIV). "And steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope" (ASV).
Devotion 9 of 24
JESUS PRAYS FOR SIMON
The priority of "patience," or "continuance," is seen in Christ's prayer for Simon. Jesus unveiled hidden things to Simon Peter. What He said bears directly upon our subject. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32, NASB). This was said to Peter on the evening Jesus was betrayed--just after He instituted the remembrance of Himself through the breaking of bread and drinking the fruit of the vine (Lk 22:18-29).
Satan aggressively sought to test Simon. The permission was sought from God, not man. In his wickedness, the devil "demanded permission" to work his diabolical intentions. Doubtless Satan accused Simon Peter much like he did Job the patriarch (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5). I have no doubts that this scenario is repeated in our day, as our adversary seeks to turn believers from the Lord. From this perspective, the worth of an individual can be measured by the intensity with which Satan seeks to sift him.
We know from the events that followed, that Satan was granted limited access to Peter. The circumstances that occurred that evening provide some insights into our subject. Perseverance involves more than mere random happenings. It is declared against the backdrop of Satanic activity.
Now we know why Peter denied Christ three times that very night. Jesus told him he would do this, even though Peter could not imagine he was capable of such a thing (Lk 22:34, 57- 59). Peter was under a fierce assault by Apollyon, the destroyer (Rev 9:11). Peter's denial can never be justified, but neither must we view it as the expression of a vacillating person. Because Jesus knew the intensity of Satan's assault, He informed Peter He was praying for him. Jesus did not pray that Peter would be spared from the attack, but that his faith would not fail. Never forget that Peter's faith did NOT fail. He came back in answer to Christ's prayer. He was pushed to the extremities, and he returned. He was cast down, but not destroyed! He was perplexed, but did not give in to despair!
Never divorce Scriptural "patience" from the intercession of Christ! Too, when we overcome, we doubtless have expended effort--but the intercession of Christ has really enabled us to persevere.
PRAYER POINT: Father, I thank You for the intercession of Jesus Christ. I know I could never persevere if it were not for the interceding Savior. Receive my humble thanks in His name.
-- Tomorrow: LOOK UP! --
NOTE: THE BLAKELYS WILL HOST A WATCH NIGHT SERVICE IN THEIR HOME ON 12/31/99. THE ADDRESS IS 406 S. SERGEANT ST., JOPLIN, MO. TELEPHONE: 417-782-3063. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT 7:00 PM WITH OUR CONCLUDING LESSON ON FIRST JOHN. WE WILL THEN HAVE A SEASON OF SINGING, TESTIMONIES, AND MUTUAL EDIFICATION. THE MEETING WILL CLOSE AS WE PRAY THE OLD YEAR OUT AND THE NEW YEAR IN.