I have just started reading the book, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, a compendium of articles edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. The first chapter, written by Piper, discusses ten aspects of God’s sovereignty over Satan. The eighth of these aspects he discusses is listed as follows: “Let us celebrate that God is sovereign over Satan’s temptations to sin.” I found the following words of Piper very encouraging. He writes,
We usually think of Peter’s three denials, not his temptations. But Jesus says something to Peter in Luke 22:31-32 that makes plain Satan is at work here but that he is not sovereign: “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 [not: if you turn], strengthen your brothers.” Again, as with Job, Satan seeks to destroy Peter’s faith. God gives Satan leash, but Jesus intercedes for Peter, and says with complete sovereignty, “I have prayed for you. You will fall, but not utterly. When you repent and turn back—not if you turn back—strengthen your brothers.”
Satan is not sovereign in the temptations of Judas or Peter or you or those you love. God is (p. 27).
What a fearful thing to know that Satan can demand to have us in such a manner, but what an encouragement to know, as Piper reminds us, that God is sovereign even in our temptations. So if you are serving God and are finding temptations becoming more intense than ever, remember that perhaps as with Peter, you have gotten Satan’s attention and he has ramped it up a bit. Be encouraged, the same Jesus intercedes for us (Heb 7:25) and is sovereign; even in our temptations.