8. Shaken Up

10 12 2010

(I have been blogging on the book “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. Here are my reflections on chapter eight)

In this chapter, the author examines the life of Simon Peter and says that just like Peter, we can have abundant revelation about who Jesus was, and still not walk in the character and humility of Christ  (87). We can be like Peter who was “not building with the materials necessary for the kingdom of God but with supplies of a strong will and personal confidence” (87).

I think that I often live my life like a hybrid car, equipped with a battery and with fuel, seamlessly moving between the use of one to the use of the other. One represents my own effort, the other represents the power of the Holy Spirit. What am I running on? Am I banking on my own tenacity to move me along; my own belief in myself? My own personality? Or am I humbly being moved along by the Holy Spirit? It is an easy answer because I switch back and forth, but more often than I care to admit, I motor along on  my own steam.

Peter too was with Christ and trying to be helpful, “though unaware, he was still awaiting the transformation of his character” and much of what he was doing was still out of a reference point of pride and “pride would never be strong enough to equip him to fulfill his destiny in Christ” (87). Peter was so sure of himself and his loyalties, yet Jesus said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31).

Peter’s self-confidence and pride had left him wide open for the enemy to come and mess with him: “The word sift is translated from the Greek word siniazo. It means ‘to sift, shake in a sieve; fig. by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow'” (88).

You’d think Jesus would stand on guard for Peter and block any attack of the enemy, yet Jesus didn’t call a prayer meeting at this point to “bind Satan.” He didn’t pray that Peter would be able to escape the shake down. Instead He said that He would pray for Peter that his faith would not fail and that he would return to Jesus stronger (Luke 22:32). You mean Jesus knew what was coming and was going to let it come? Yes. Jesus knew it.

Of course, the enemy’s intent is to steal, kill and destroy, but “God is way ahead of the devil. He allowed the enemy to do this in order to shake everything in Simon Peter that needed to be shaken” (88). The author explains,

“Any thought process or heart attitude that is rooted in selfishness or pride will be purged. As a result of this tremendous shaking, all of Simon Peter’s self-confidence would be gone, and all that would remain was God’s sure foundation. He would be awakened to his true condition, the dead would be removed and the ripe fruit harvested, bringing him closer to his true foundation. He would no longer function independently but would be interdependent on the Lord” (89).

Funny how Peter answers when Jesus questions him. He boldly says that he would be willing to go to prison or even die for Christ. Yet “this statement was not born of the Spirit but out of his own self-confidence. He could not see the foreshadowing of this shaking” (89) (cue “Jaws” theme music). In fact (and this really made me think), “some think it is the big things that cause men to stumble. Often it is the minor ones that shake us the most. This shows the futility of self-confidence” (89).

Isn’t that true? I mean there are huge disasters we walk through sometimes, but sometimes it is the smallest things that unravels us.

There is a lot more that could be said in this chapter but I think the point for me today is already made. God will do whatever it takes to shake me out of my prideful stupor and have me walk in the Spirit. Will I take offense at this? Will I resent God for this? Will I blame and whine; will I run?

I see shake-downs in my life as just shake-downs. I see “negative circumstances” as insufferable, inconvenient, distressing, depressing, and…unacceptable. In fact, over the years I have seen my confidence wane. I have seen this as a loss; I think Christ has seen this as a gain. As I become less sure of myself, Christ is waiting there asking me to put all of my confidence in Him. All of it.

Pride is a dandelion. Have you ever pulled a dandelion and noticed how ridiculously long their roots are? Nine times out of ten, you don’t get the whole thing out all at once. The root breaks somewhere in the ground which gives that weed a second life. I think Christ would prefer to sit down with me and have a chat about my self-reliance, but He sees how it doesn’t take. As much as I SO WANT THIS TO WORK, some roots are so set in me that changing me is a surgical thing.

I am sitting here thinking about this and wondering: as we are going along is EVERY thing that feels like a shake-down a corrective measure? I think yes, but not corrective in the sense of “you have sinned, and this is discipline.” I don’t think everything we walk through is in response to our willful disobedience. I think a lot of things we walk through are simply a reshaping of our childish and immature ways. We can’t see ourselves more grown up, but Christ can and here is how it is done: break what we have built and remake it His way. I do think every circumstance is meant to be for our good and ultimately the goodness of God’s bigger plan. I think every circumstances tests us and leaves room for us to choose right from wrong, choose God’s way or the world’s way. It’s all a refining process.

Having said that, I would just like it to be noted that I do not care for refining processes. They are not on my bucket list.

— Teresa Klassen

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