I grew up in a home where, as a girl, Mother would have me help her with baking and I got to sift the flour. It was fun; kids love twirling flour! The flour got aerated, became light and fluffy and made some great layered cakes. Additionally, it served in the old days to sift out any un-milled parts of the grain.
Are you feeling sifted? Jesus spoke about sifting on several occasions which are recorded in scripture. On one occasion He told Peter that Satan has desired to sift him, like wheat. The setting recorded in Luke chapter 22 is the Last Supper, Jesus sharing communion — breaking bread with his disciples before He was to be crucified. Peter was strong at that moment, nearby Jesus. A lot was being said; the disciples were discussing who would be the greatest in His Kingdom, and Jesus just told them someone sitting among them would betray Him. Peter, in his style, said, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (NASB). Jesus needed to remind Peter that Satan would tempt him, but that Jesus himself would pray for him that his confidence (in Christ) would not fail. He warned Peter of his human frailty and said, “Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (NASB). Imagine the turmoil in Peter’s heart upon hearing this from Jesus.
If you have lived and served in God’s Kingdom for any length of time you realize that these moments of temptation and sifting are very real and difficult. It’s an alone place, like Peter near the fire of denial. This sifting is a process that we must grow through. Whether we realize it or not, sifting is normal and healthy – it refines us in some manner. Does it feel good? Usually not. Our comfort, routine and pride are dealt with in some way – our dependence on God or lack thereof is revealed. When something comes along to sift us, we can become fearful, irritable and even angry.
Sometimes we don’t know what’s happening when we’re being sifted, often it’s subtle; other times overt and major. There can be mornings upon awaking, you just feel off. Will you talk to God about it or write it off as a lousy day? Some days feel “wasted” like nothing seemed to get accomplished; a feeling of hopelessness prevails. What do we do when this happens? Find your hope in God. He is always the answer and is always waiting for us.
Develop a healthy habit of rising up a bit earlier and seeking Him. Get your foundation laid and firmed up so when the enemy strikes, you are prepared. Your brain will already be wired to God’s mind and heart. The Bible is our source of hope and peace. We find our abundant life in Christ and relationship with Him.
Our spiritual man needs reviving daily. Yesterday’s food is not enough – like the Israelites in the wilderness, we too need fresh manna daily. God deliberately required this. The previous day’s manna rotted, they needed to gather daily. God has reasons for all of His ways – yet it is not our place to demand to know why. Jeremiah posed the question, “Does the clay say to the potter: Why have you made me this way?” No, we are created beautifully by God to fellowship with Him, on His terms.
If you’re feeling sifted, remember that it is a normal part of life. Be wise enough to turn to the One who loves you dearly, knows everything about you and cares deeply for you. Our Heavenly Father longs for open relationship with you. Pray, talk to him and ask Him to change you (removing the un-milled parts that sifting reveals) into the person He designed you to be. Then hold on to Him. The journey is big and has many twists along the way and only by holding firmly to His Hand will you make it through. When life is over and we meet Him face-to-face, we’ll realize this life was short, eternity is long, and choosing to serve Him is best.
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