When everything seems perfect.
The path leading a believer to be tempted or to face trials begins far. It starts when everything looks perfect and shiny like a beautiful Sunday morning. We have received Jesus in our hearts, we go to church regularly, we lead an honest life, we can have a prosperous ministry, we do everything according to the Word of God in the Bible and we generally expect a bright life of a blessed Christian. If you are still at this stage, then thank God that this message is in your hands.
This is exactly how Job started. The Bible tells us that at this point Job was perfect, upright and he turned from evil. He had a wonderful marriage and God blessed him with riches and good children, what about our Lord Jesus Christ? Before being tempted, Jesus had everything sparkling. He had just been baptized by one of the greatest prophets of all time and he had just been filled with the Holy Spirit in spectacular fashion. And in a rare display of divine favor, God opened the heavens to tell the whole world that Jesus was his special Son.
Then the road goes behind the scenes
This section of the road, leading a believer to temptation and hardship, really crosses the sky, beyond your physical sight. There is a lot of satanic activity. Everything is hidden from the believer’s eyes, except when God reveals these activities to you supernaturally. The disciples always focused their attention on Jesus until he opened their spiritual eyes to what Satan was doing. In the New Testament, Jesus revealed this section of the road to his disciples when he said these unusual words after the Last Supper:
31Simon, Simon! be careful: Satan has asked you to sift you all, as one shakes the wheat to separate it from the bale. 32 But I prayed for you, that you would not fail to have faith. And you, the day you come back to me, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22: 31-32 BDS[This was the first of the seven scriptures that the Lord presented in this vision]
The amplified version of the Bible further enhances this Scripture,
31 “Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan asked permission to sift [all of you] like grain; 32but I prayed [especially] for you [Peter], so that your faith [and your confidence in me] would not be wanting; and you, once you have turned [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers [in faith]. Luke 22: 31-32 TAB
The words of Jesus in this scripture raise many questions. If you study these words carefully, you will realize that Satan was asking permission to tempt the disciples. Certainly, Satan did not ask Jesus for this permission. If this were so, Jesus would not have been able to allow the devil to scrutinize his disciples, and therefore he would not have been required to pray about it. So who was Satan talking to? Where was Satan located when he made this request? Why was it necessary for Satan to ask?
Why did the devil not just tempt the disciples the way he wanted? If you look at this scripture again, you will realize that Satan had already had an affirmative answer to his request, which is why Simon was so tempted that he denied Jesus’ name three times. Why was Satan’s request not denied? Instead of praying over this question, why didn’t Jesus use his power and authority to rebuke and block Satan’s request?
Satan sought God’s Permission in heaven.
Satan does many things that affect Christians without their knowledge. In this scripture, Jesus revealed to his disciples what he had seen in the spiritual realm. Even though he was physically on earth, Jesus was constantly watching what was going on in heaven. He revealed to his disciples what their human eyes had not seen. Jesus warned them that he had seen Satan ask permission to tempt them. The truth is that Satan asked permission from God our Father.
Where did Satan find God? Again, this Scripture does not tell us, but the truth is that Satan found God in heaven. How do we verify these two facts? Jesus tells us that everything has already been revealed through the Scriptures. We confirm these two facts of the Bible – in the book of Job. This book reveals a great deal about the methods that Satan uses to tempt believers, even today. In this book, before Satan tempted Job, he first went to heaven and asked God our Father for permission to tempt this faithful and innocent servant of God.
Job never knew anything about Satan’s activities.
Job suffered in part because he knew little about Satan’s malicious celestial activities. Like many Christians today, he did not know that Satan could access the presence of God in heaven, and even have a dialogue with our Almighty Father. He never knew that the devil was able to accuse him before God and successfully obtain permission to come and try him here on earth.
Many Christians today say they don’t have time to talk about the devil. But compare Job’s life to that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Job never knew anything about Satan’s covert operations in heaven. But throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus always exposed the works and the secret operations of the devil. That’s what it’s about. Jesus reveals to us Satan’s secret heavenly operations and gives us a weapon to overcome.
Satan has to be authorized by God.
Another fact that we learn from the words that Jesus said in Luke 22: 31-32 is that Satan can tempt the believer only if he is first authorized by God. According to the written Word of God, Satan cannot even bring down a sparrow, as small and cheap as it is, unless God allows it (Matthew 10:29). Do you know a Christian who recently fell into sin? Know then that God allowed Satan to execute this temptation. As in the case of Job, Satan cannot cause a Christian to sin unless he first obtains permission from Heavenly Father.
Jesus’ words to his disciples in Luke 22: 31-32 raise several questions.
The written Word is the light of God for us in this dark world. Starting with the next chapter, the Holy Spirit uses the seven scriptures already mentioned to answer all of the above questions.