She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Mark 14:67-68 NLT
Everyone did it, so giving in made more sense than getting over.
My grandfather kept a pack of cigarettes in each shirt pocket. He seemed to puff continuously. He wouldn’t even stop when our family visited—although Mom asked him too because my middle brother had asthma.
I didn’t spend an enormous amount of time with this grandfather or uncle, but when I did the smoke he exhaled curled beneath my nose. Trying it seemed the only logical thing to do. So I did. Of course, having peers who smoked didn’t help. After all, everyone smoked in the seventies—or so it seemed. It couldn’t be that bad if everyone was doing it.
I held onto to the habit for a number of years. Along the way, I quit a few times for short periods, only to pick the habit back up at a heavier rate. When I finally made up my mind to quit—because God aggravated me mercilessly—the demons ranted in my head for a few days, then left. Giving in was much easier than getting over.
Peter felt my pain. He was a staunch follower of Jesus, but when the pressure of following Him multiplied, Peter gave in rather than got over. After Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed at a distance. Entering the courtyard, a servant girl questioned him: “You were with Jesus, weren’t you.” Swearing, Peter denied the accusation.
Some equate temptation with sin, but they are worlds apart. Only when I give in do I sin. If temptation itself was a sin, Jesus would have sinned—since Satan tempted Him in the wilderness and, no doubt, at other times.
Who I spend time with increases the pressure to give in. Being around my grandfather and others who smoked made it difficult for me to say no. Satan often uses others as avenues of temptation—peers especially. Since we look up to our peers—and often want to emulate them—the pressure we feel from them seems intensified. Friends can hinder or help us in our spiritual journey.
Fear is perhaps the main reason for giving in. Peter feared he’d get the same treatment Jesus was about to get. I thought I’d be laughed at if I didn’t puff.
Regardless of the temptation, God is faithful to help you not give in or get over it if you have. Put your trust in Him.
Tweetable: What temptation can't you get over?
Prayer: Father, we rely on You for the power to overcome the temptations to sin.