I wasn’t planning to return to Andy Elmes at Great Big Life so soon, but this one really stood out. If you can remember the title (below) you can remember the principle.
Matthew 16:22-23, NKJV
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
This can seem a very strange thing for Jesus to do, if you don’t fully understand what was happening; especially as this very fierce rebuke came just seconds after Jesus had commended the same guy for having a revelation that He was the Christ. To fully understand what was happening, you need to see who Jesus was actually rebuking or dealing with. Many have interpreted this portion in different ways – I look at it this way: Peter was just the puppet, he was unknowingly being used to say something that was contrary to the heaven-sent plans that were directing the life of Jesus. He was not possessed by satan but was unknowingly allowing some suggestions or very subtle thoughts of satan to be voiced through his mouth, making him the puppet not the actual originator of the problem-induced words.
Notice Jesus does not say, “Get lost, Peter”. He says, “Get behind me, satan” – He was speaking to the voice of His enemy that was subtlety using one of His team to direct Him off course. Read on – directly after this encounter it is as if nothing had happened and He continues to teach His team more stuff, including Peter who must have still been in shock.
The lesson here is to always know and be spiritually discerning when it comes to the guiding voice of God in your life, and also to know when it is not the voice of God speaking words of direction to you. In the same way that Jesus experienced, it is amazing how people who are close to us can sometimes be the ones who, through lack of understanding or revelation, can say something that could potential take you off course or cause you to doubt something you should not.
What do we do when this happens? The same as Jesus: look beyond the (puppet) person and consider what spirit is actually in operation with an alternative agenda to that of God’s. Remember, the Bible says we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12), which means if we punch the person who is speaking we have so missed the point. We need to deal with what is going on beyond the person involved.
The devil is like a snake, he will always try and slip into the ear of people whose hearts are set on doing something for God. When it comes to who he will try and use he is no respecter of persons and will use those close to you to say the most destiny-disturbing things. The shock comes when they are really close, like Peter was to Jesus. When that happens you must remember not to fall out of love with the person but realize they do not know the weight of the statements and thoughts they are sharing. Equally, I would hold back from staring at them and telling them to “Get behind me, satan” – that’s never good for keeping friends! It worked for Jesus but it may not work so well for you. I would deal with it spiritually, away from the person, around the corner. I would say, “satan, you filthy liar, get out of here, you are not knocking me off track.” I can’t say that I would never say it to the person, but would be very careful who it was if I did. I heard once of a man who used to say that to his wife – listen, that will never produce a happy home, be wise!
So the lesson today, be a sheep that knows the shepherd’s voice. When you hear another voice don’t always accept it because you recognize the puppet speaking. Take all things back to God’s word and wise council, and you will always walk in the right and God-designed direction.