Denying the Lord also occurs when we willfully choose to disobey Him and live according to our own wants and wishes rather than the Lord’s will for our lives.
If I would have been taking bets the night that Jesus prophesied His upcoming denial, I would have bet that Simon Peter wouldn’t have been the one to deny the Lord. This was the same Peter who responded to Jesus’ call to ministry when He saw the Lord miraculously provide a boatload of fish after he and other fishermen had been seeking fish all night long (Luke 5:4-11). This was the same Simon Peter who witnessed great miracles at the hands of Jesus, who walked on water, who regularly heard the words and saw the miraculous actions of Jesus for 3-1/2 years. Based on what the scriptures teach us of Peter’s relationship with Jesus, it’s hard to comprehend how he could deny the Lord at such a crucial time.
That same question could be asked of us. How do we deny the Lord? Why do we deny the Lord? I think there were some problems in Peter’s life that led to his denial. When problems aren’t addressed in our lives they can lead us to deny the Lord too. Peter was struggling with pride. That’s why he made the statement he made to the Lord. The Bible teaches that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Peter was also being attacked by the Devil (Luke 22:31-32), and he wasn’t aware of the severity of that attack. We have to be constantly aware of the Devil’s schemes and attacks against us if we are going to be strong and faithful to the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Peter 5:8-9). Additionally, Peter had isolated himself from the other disciples and was alone in the courtyard when he denied the Lord (Matthew 26:69-75). A tactic which Satan uses is to attack us when we are alone. Perhaps he wouldn’t have denied the Lord if he had been surrounded with his support network of friends. Finally, Peter let fear drive him to deny the Lord (Matthew 26:69-75). Fear is always a tactic the Devil uses against us to cause us to fail, fall, and deny the Lord.
Most Christians really don’t want to deny the Lord. They simply find themselves struggling with pride, the attack of the Devil, isolation or fear – and they give in to that attack, that fear, or that temptation. If you have denied the Lord in any way, pray and ask Him to forgive you (which He will do). Then, ask the Lord to: 1) Show you those smaller struggles in your life that lead to great denials; 2) Give you victory over those struggles; and 3) Commit to the Lord that you will be faithful to Him and boldly acknowledge Him regardless of the situations or circumstances that confront. The Lord is in the redeeming and restoring business – but He’s also available to rescue us when we are tempted to deny Him in any way.