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Most of the time when we speak of peer pressure it is when cautioning young people of the dangers of evil companions...These lessons are badly needed because today it seems that peer pressure among young people is stronger than it has ever been before.
But does peer pressure cease when one becomes an adult? Just because we are no longer teenagers do we no longer have to concern ourselves with what kind of companions we keep? Sometimes, I am afraid, we let our thinking run along these lines. We would do well to observe what happened to great men of God when faced with peer pressure.
In First Samuel chapter 15 we have recorded the downfall of Israel's first king, Saul. Samuel told Saul to "hearken unto the voice of the words of the Lord” (Verse 1.). God commanded Saul to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites. But as we read on we find that Saul spared the king and some of the best of the spoils. When Samuel came to the camp and confronted Saul with his sin, Saul said, "I have sinned . . . because I feared the people" (Verse 24.). Yes, Saul, the leader of his nation, chosen of God, collapsed under the pressure of his peers.
Another example of one who failed to stand up to peer pressure is found in the 26th chapter of Matthew. Here we have recorded for us Peter’s denial of Christ. Peter was one of Christ's most ardent followers. He even drew his sword to defend his Savior. But when left alone to stand up to a crowd of nonbelievers his courage of iron melted, his firm resolve was shaken to its foundation. He denied three times that he even knew Christ and went so far as to curse just to impress the crowd with how bad a person he was.
Sometimes grownups allow themselves to be swayed like Saul into partial obedience to God’s will. They will attend church on Sunday morning but spend the rest of the day with their friends at the lake or they will drink "a beer or two" with their friends just to go along with them. Then there are those adults that will falter like Peter and try to impress others with how "unchristian" they are by cursing or telling dirty stories or going to dances.
We must realize that we can fall from grace. We must wake up, look around us and see what kinds of people we have for close friends. Peer pressure handled improperly cost Saul his kingdom and it can cost us our soul.
David Johnson, Gospel Advocate, February 18, 1982