by Roger Thomas

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The Power of One (8 of 20)
Roger Thomas
Daniel 11:31-35; 12:8-10

Introduction: In 1876 a Chicago Sunday School teacher named Philip Paul Bliss wrote a song to help teach his students the book of Daniel. Some of you learned it as a child: (#512) "Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone! Dare to have a purpose firm! And dare to make it known!"

Standing alone is not an easy task for anyone. The problem is called peer pressure. We all want to fit in. No one wants to be different or stand alone. Teenagers don't! Senior citizens don't! I am sure Daniel didn't.

Psychologist Ruth Berenda (told by Charles Swindoll in Living Above Mediocrity, p. 225-226) and her associates demonstrated the power of peer pressure through a series of interesting experiments several years ago. They gather ten teenage volunteers in a classroom with a teacher. On the board in the front of the class were three charts with a series of lines of varying lengths on each. The teacher instructed the students to each raise his or her hand when the teacher pointed to the longest line on each chart. What one student didn't know was that the other nine had been instructed ahead of time to raise their hands for the next to the shortest line. The experiment was to how easily the tenth student could be influenced to choose the wrong answer.

When the teacher pointed to the shorter line and nine students raised their hands choosing it as the longest line, the lone student would glance around, put his or her head down, and most of the time reluctantly raise his hand, even though it was obviously the wrong choice. The same result happened about seventy-five percent of the time. It was the same with young children or other teenagers. Berenda concluded, "Some people would rather be president than right!"

American writer James Thurber told the story of a spider who built a beautiful web in an old house. He kept it clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it. The minute he g ...

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