As a kid, did you ever succumb to peer pressure? I did. I remember hiding in the bushes, stealing puffs on cigarettes in eighth grade – trying hard to impress the most popular girl in my grade. I wanted to be like her, so I was willing to play the game of life by her rules, at least until doing so landed me in trouble at home.
This morning I discovered a verse that says the Israelites succumbed to peer pressure, too. “We want to be like the nations around us,” they said, referring to their desire for a king to rule over them (1 Samuel 8:20). Psalm 106:35 adds, “They mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs.”
Guess what happened? They landed in big trouble. “They worshiped their idols, and this led to their downfall” (v. 36). The following verses describe the specifics. Take a moment to read…I dare you.
In all honesty, I read these verses and the passages around them and think, Wow – sounds like North American Christianity. We, too, have succumbed to peer pressure, even within the last generation. Marriages of Christians are falling apart at the same rate as those who do not profess to be believers. More than ¼ million Christian women abort their babies annually. Same-sex marriages are being sanctioned by church leaders. Pornography has infiltrated the pulpit, and abuse is no stranger to Christian homes. In many ways, the Church has adopted the evil customs of those around it.
It’s time to take a stand and say, “No more compromise. We want to be salt. We want to be light. We want to walk in the ways of the Lord, following His truth rather than our emotions or whatever society says is okay.” It’s time to pray for an all-out revival, for the Holy Spirit to visit the Church as never before in history. It’s time for us to pray with the Psalmist, “Oh Lord our God, save us! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, ‘Amen!'” (Psalm 106:47,48)
Let’s say goodbye to peer pressure. Let’s choose now to shrug off the desire to be like those around us, especially if those folks are living lives that dishonor God. Instead, let’s choose to worship the true God and please Him alone.