Monday, November 26, 2007

Peer Pressure

For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
(Galatians 2:12-13 – ESV)

We often think that we are above being swayed by the crowd. We think that when it comes right down to it that we will be able to resist the pull of the popular, but alas it isn’t so. Adults believe that peer pressure is something that only children need worry about, but that isn’t true. We must continually be on guard against an all too easy “going with the flow” mentality. It can creep up and put us in a compromised situation. We allow ourselves to become fearful of what others might think, say, or do, and we give in to things God doesn’t want us to.

Consider the Apostle Peter, who turned His eye back to the Judaizers in Galatia. Now this was the same Peter who saw Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and had been given the Great Commission to go out to all nations, tribes and tongues (Matthew 28:18-20). Furthermore, Peter and the Apostles were told by the resurrected Jesus that they would receive power to be a witness to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). Peter was taken captive and threatened, he was told not to witness about Jesus but said he ought not to fear man, but obey God (Acts 4:19, 5:29). Peter saw the Holy Ghost come upon the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17). He also had the dream of God making what was unclean now clean (Acts 10:9-15). Peter understood this to mean that the Gentiles were going to be saved and he saw the Holy Ghost come upon them also (Acts 10:28,45). He had even spoken up for God’s redemptive plan over and against the Jews who thought Gentiles couldn’t be saved (Acts 11:1-18).

Now his influence and the influence of peer pressure had spread to the other Jews there, and even to Barnabas. What a deceitful force peer pressure can be! If anyone knew of the grace of God to the Gentile people’s, who were saved without having ever been circumcised, it was Peter. And yet he succumbed to peer pressure, and it spread its venom to others. Peer pressure is something that can sneak up on us unawares. Even if we have our minds made up, and have resisted the temptations to go with the crowd before, we can still be ensnared in this trap, in an instant. That is why we must ever be on guard against it.

It would be like having a map to tell you where the landmines are on the battlefield. Ministry success, relational comfort, and just fitting in; these are the pieces of cheese on the trap. Don’t fall for the bait. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Don’t play nice with peer pressure; it will squeeze you into its mold.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Annette said...

reading over this story of Peter and seeing the troubles he had with peer pressure removes any smugness I might feel of thinking that would never be something "I" would struggle with. Scripture, when one reads it with an eye to seeing God more, really keeps a person humbled before the Lord and dependant upon his help.

Anonymous said...

The thing we think we would never do, think, say, be like, etc, is the very thing that we end up succumbing to...been there - done that...many times! (I'm a slow learner)

Jim said...

I have seen a lot of peer pressure in the blogosphere as well. It seems people are afraid to seek divine revelation for themselves.

God bless,

Even So... said...

Agreed to all of that...