Is the believer’s heart still “deceitful above all things”? (Jeremiah 17:9). Or has God’s work of regeneration and the implanting of a new nature and the indwelling Spirit of God solved this problem for those who follow Christ?
In Matthew 26:33 we read Peter’s confident words: “Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.” Could this one, who had followed in the footsteps of Christ for those years, been witness to His miracles and His glory, heard His public teaching and private instruction, who professed “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”—could this one be so deceived by his own heart? Yet it wasn’t long before we see Peter denying the Lord, cursing, and swearing.
Little did Peter realize that those things were in his heart, ready to burst forth when the occasion presented itself. Little did this one, who was ready to go with the Lord “to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33) know that he would soon be found wielding a sword.
If we go back to the previous scenes we will see what led to his stumbling. While Jesus was in the garden praying, Peter was sleeping. Before that, at the last supper, while John was “leaning on Jesus’ bosom,” Peter was far enough removed from the Lord that he needed to get John to ask Him a question (John 13:23,24). Thus, it is no surprise that when Jesus was brought before the high priest, John went in with Him, while Peter stood outside (John 18:15,16).
Is it not the same with us? If our heart is not occupied with Jesus, the very sins we would despise even the thought of, might be those to which we are unwit-tingly led through one step of temptation to another. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Let us learn these lessons from Peter: Instead of slumbering, pray! Instead of following Christ afar off, lean on Him! Instead of trusting your own resolutions, rely on His grace! Instead of following your heart, walk in the Spirit!