Standing Against Peer Pressure
20/20 recently aired a documentary in which a group of teenagers was asked, "What do you see as the greatest problem facing teens today?" Do you know what there response was? Overwhelmingly, the response was, "peer pressure." Peer pressure affects all teenagers, some more than others. Peer pressure is what causes us to behave according to standards set by a group of people. These standards may be good, but they may also be poor or self-destructive.
And adults, don't think that we have escaped the powerful pull of peer pressure. We adults have just call it something else. It is "keeping up with the Jones." We, too, find ourselves seeking to conform to the standards set by the world about us, but hopefully our maturity allows us to be less influenced by them. But let's not kid ourselves either. We are influenced by our culture to interpret success in terms of money, status, and power. We, too, like our youth, desire to be in the "right" social groups.
This morning, think of that daring disciple of God, Daniel. We find him in chapter one of the book of Daniel, beginning at verse 3. Daniel is a young man from another period of time who had to cope with a great deal of peer pressure.
The Babylonians had besieged and bested the faltering Judains and took her finest children captive. These Israelite Adonises were well favored, handsome in appearance, and skillful in all wisdom. Among these was Daniel. A young man seized in what we would consider, his most impressionable years. Now he would attend the Harvard University of his day. He enrolled in Babylon University where he would be trained for diplomatic service.
He found himself in the midst of a group of people who did not share his religious convictions and moral values. He had only a few close Christian friends who dared to join his gallant stand against the paganism and humanism of his day. They were outnumbered a thousand to one at Babylon U. The pressure to conform to paganism, to idolatry, to worldly living was enormous. Why perhaps no one with the anemic faith common of our day would have blamed him for going along with the crowd.
Why Daniel was encouraged by his new teachers to accept a more Epicurean lifestyle based upon the satisfaction of his physical appetites. The finest of foods were at their disposal. The tastiest and richest of wines was available for their enjoyment. And don't you think for one moment that Daniel was not tempted sexually as well with the King's court of beautiful women.
Add to all of this the God-given drive of a young man to be successful in his chosen vocation. To graduate as valedictorian of Babylon University meant that you would occupy a top governmental post and be assured of a lush, and lavish affluent lifestyle.
You talk about peer pressure!!! Daniel had more than his share, but somehow he managed to deal with it. It could have been so easy to succumb t ...
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