Why did Peter weep bitterly after he denied the Christ three times? Because he knew that he had failed his test. Jesus had forewarned him of this great temptation. In the moment of testing we have no memory of the prior warnings of Christ; we must go on the light garnered within our hearts, and on our heart’s desire to unite with Christ and Be Christ. If our desires are not purely for Christ, meaning that we still have selfish desires for the glory of our “self”, then the temptation to side with the “self” over Christ and to be taken for a ride by evil working through the carnal mind, will overpower us. This is when we deny the Christ; we betray our Higher Selves. Jesus showed us what it was like to be tempted by evil in the desert and to have nothing in him that evil could use to ensnare him or manipulate him into selling out his Christhood, his real Self. Jesus passed his tests because he had no inner divide or inner conflict – no war within his being.
There is only one thing that ends a war: surrender – forced surrender through defeat or willing surrender through a decision to unite as one. We cannot have both a self that is not of God and a Self of God within us and be honest. Honesty comes from integrity, from being whole. On the way to this inner integrity, we will be tested over and over again, until the day when we have nothing in us that corresponds to what is not of God; nothing within us that responds with acceptance to evil, no matter what the promise of self-gratification or self-glorification.
“And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:13-15)
It was God that was glorified in Jesus, and it was for God’s glory that he was filled with the power of the Spirit. In the life of Peter and the life of Jesus, we can clearly see the two paths – the broad way (glory for the self) that leads us to destruction, and the narrow Way (glory unto God) that leads to Life. The broad way is easy to pass through; it is the path of least resistance. The narrow Way is arduous; it is the path of choosing to honor Christ regardless of the challenges to our Being or the temptations to sell out.
When we act with integrity, our life might not be comfortable or easy, but we will experience the peace of one whose conscience is clear, one who, even though they may be persecuted, rejected and attacked from outside themselves for being the Christ, is living the truth of their being and therefore is free of inner conflict, and is at peace.
You see, we defend and protect what we see as us or ours. When we deny Christ in favor of protecting our “self”, it is because we are still identified with this “self”, in some aspect or way, over Christ. We find our wholeness in knowing ourselves only as Christ, and it is only then that we can be truly honest.
“Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in there: Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”(Matthew 7:13,14)