The Hope of Turning

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,  but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:29-34

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Jesus knows the throes of temptation, and that we will surely struggle against the wily enemy, but He doesn’t expect us to fail. He is our great High Priest who experienced every push and pull and taunt of the enemy but remained without sin, and He is available to help us. With every warning comes His promise to intercede for us, and the admonition of what to do when we have turned again. This is our hope and confidence! (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Hebrews 4:14-16)

How easy it is to give up in the flesh! To think there is no way to resist the devil’s onslaught. To blame our circumstances. To weary of the fight. But God gets all that, and He still admonishes us to keep watch and triumph. He knows our every weakness, but also that His is the strength for the battle and the ultimate victory. He’s called us from the beginning to be conformed to His image, so everything that transpires for us is to that glorious end, and that we might help our brothers reach it also. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

When we feel as though we are being sifted as wheat, pummeled from every side to discouragement, failure, guilt, or regret, what truths lead us forward? What does it mean for us that the Spirit of Jesus in us is greater than the enemy in the world? How does the fact that we are predestined for glory, and the reality of Jesus advocating, defending, and interceding for us before God’s throne, bolster us to face temptation head on and name it, then boldly turn away? What promises of help and ultimate deliverance compel us to endure and keep on? (James 4:7-8; 1 Peter 5:8-11)

And when faith triumphs, whom can we help and encourage? What truths and practices will we pass on to strengthen our brothers to overcome?

Gracious Lord, help me daily rely on You and do all things You have commanded in Your strength, to Your glory. (Philippians 4:13)

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