This post has been on my heart for a few weeks, yet I never had the release to share it. Until today that is.
Jesus said to Peter: “Satan has asked to sift you…but I have prayed that your faith shall not fail.”
Our focus has to be Peter and the lessons we can learn from the sift that God Himself allowed Peter to pass through so that he could make the shift needed to become the leader of the Early Church.
The Purpose of the Sift
Peter had to make the transition between seeing that qualifications for ministering for Jesus depended not on his success or strength, or talents. So much can be programmed that our principles for success and the objectives for the Kingdom are diametrically opposed to our own, because we have been rooted in a fallen paradigm of this world. The sift of satan was to bring Peter to failure and denial. To get him to detach himself from identifying with Christ, because the path which Christ was treading did not fit in with Peter’s own dreams and objectives. The objectives of Christ had all to do with fulfilling the Old Covenant, inaugurating an invisible Temple and bringing in the New Covenant.
Peter is brought to complete failure, lack of future and lack of hope. The old way of thinking, the old aspirations needed to be smashed to pieces so that what Jesus had for him would be something totally new. What Jesus was to present that what is in the eyes of the world in terms of qualifying are those things that in God disqualify. When Samuel went to the house of Jesse, he looked at Eliab and saw natural qualifiers, yet God corrected him. Isaiah 11 says the man who moves by the Sevenfold Spirit is not moved by what he sees or hears. To get to this point Peter had to go through a inner crucifixion and a inner darkness. The purpose of the sift was to bring Peter to his own end.
The Power of the Sift
The “sift” that Peter was to enter was like a reset, a reboot. He was to start from zero. Jesus’ attention from the outset of His Resurrection was that a message to the Disciples and Peter, was that Jesus knew where was Peter, and Jesus was summoning Peter to a personal invitation to a personal encounter. When we are brought through failure is because we are being positioned for something far greater than any could imagine. Right now we are being brought to nought this year, Jesus is inviting us by name for an encounter with Him. This year of 2020 is a year of ENCOUNTER. The whole exchange in John 21 is two parallel purposes. On one hand Jesus perfects Peter’s perspective on His Love, and on His friendship with Peter. Peter needed to be confronted on his own non preparedness of where Jesus was to walk. It did not fit in with the understanding of the Jews at the time, for the Messiah was to be a warrior just like David. Yet with all the miracles and signs none were prepared for the Cross. So Peter had to learn what was real love. On the other hand so in that place of failure was not a disqualifier but a qualifier. Jesus imparted his vocation in that moment, appointing him to be a shepherd to many shepherds. Peter caught his vocation and caught the love of God in that moment.
Right now as I write many prophets prophesied the victory of Donald Trump, and it seems that the opposite has happened. Some have gone into silence, some have admitted they may have misheard. I was sharing with some prophets in Brazil that if Biden got into the presidency it would spell a message from God to the Church in America and the world, that the nations are the way they are in reflection to what the Church is not. The Church in the nation being proud and divided bring the breach of bringing into power secular governments who bring in laws like abortion at full term. Alternative lifestyles being legalised. We are now being pressurised by the minority to conform when that minority and that secular society gains more and more territory. However, the soul searching must go on, as there is a big deception abroad: A PRESIDENT OR PRIME MINISTER WHO LIVES FOR GOD WILL NOT RESOLVE THE PROBLEMS ALONE BUT CAN DO SO WITH THE SUPPORT OF A ACTIVE AND HOLY CHURCH!
For too long we have asked politicians to be our pastors. And right there today is our prophetic ministry of the Church beneath the scrutiny of the Head, who is Christ, for many trusted in the subjectivity of their gift, yet have not meditated on the alternative scenarios to discern out what God is really saying. For me a victory for Biden, however distasteful for me personally, is precisely what the Church may need to be sifted like Peter. Too often we have stretched our access to the Covenant as arrogance filled our hearts. We have trusted in our own efforts, for some today, famous leaders are today being exposed, for misconduct, for they trusted in their position and their ambition! The power of the sift brings us face to face with Christ to see how far we fell short of our love. For the Church in Ephesus in Revelation 2, the greatest complaint was lack of love. They in fact negotiated their love for Christ, conditioning it with principles of their own humanity, it was then becoming lukewarm. The sift brings us face to face to remember we never had natural qualifications to be in the ministry, because the only qualifier is to understand we are at best failures at love, and too full of ambition to be used by Him, that falling prostrate before these facts is our main qualifier. Once we are grieved by the failure at the minimum level of our love, our phileo, there we find the difference of phileo and when Jesus reaches down into our hearts with His agape and stands us up tall then we know it was not of our doing!
When we pass the sift we can shift to stand
The Church in 2020 is in the middle of a sift so that it can shift. The ultimate goal of this process is the sit in heavenly places. Through the Holy Spirit.
The ultimate goal was the role Peter was to play in the Day of Pentecost. So we can surmise that if we have entered our sift then we will pass into shift and then we shall sit with Him in the heavenly places, through the Holy Spirit. The shift Peter makes is first seen in Acts 1, in that he takes leadership, stands in resolving the vacancy provoked by the betrayal of Judas. The second shift comes in Acts 2, when he stands to take the leadership of the revelation of the New Thing Jesus was doing from His Glorified position!
The shift of the Church, after the sift is the uncompromising stand for the Word of God in a secular society. The confrontation because of this shift is the very catalyst to bring the power of the Holy Spirit on the scene! Confrontation must come for the Church to regain her influence in the society we live. Two shifts of Peter were to bring order and revelation. This is what God is taking the Church into.
The shift once acquired brings the power of the Outpouring
The Lord is taking the Church through a very painful process. I have sensed it in my spirit in the last few months. I have wondered if I would have survived the process. Yet it is necessary for us to not just be witnesses of God’s acts but know His ways! Peter was used mightily throughout the outpouring in that he brought the most powerful, full of revelation preach. His message is all Jesus, and is all from the position of heaven. There is no doubt that Peter, from his sift process had a foundation that when he received the fulness of the Spirit he could walk in a new dimension and consciousness. The result was that his shadow had healing and deliverance for many.
This message has taken time to be published. It is because these messages are fruit of days and days of prayer, meditation and constant thinking. I believe that it maps out the way for us to navigate a year we have never experienced before, in which the Church ministry demographic suffered at every level, personal contact and fellowship has been curtailed, and where financial restriction has brought restructuring. This is a needed process, as the Church has been run as a enterprise, and God has shaken all.
That map for us to follow now, is to submit to the sift, so that we can make the shift, so that we can be invited to sit with Him in the heavenly realms!
May we with clear vision walk with Him to a 2021 full of the Holy Spirit!