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Topic: Peer Pressure (07/05/04)
TITLE: Living in Life's Pressure Cooker
By Joanne Malley
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I guess the most logical place to start is in the Garden of Eden. Adam’s peer, better known as Eve, tempted him with no reserve. He could have looked to God for his strength, but he ultimately made the wrong choice.
It’s quite thought provoking how the pressure snowballed from the serpent to Eve and from Eve to Adam. In their case, they made an enormous mistake by giving into the pressure.
Since Adam and Eve were fruitful and multiplied, the human race now contains an innumerable amount of peers to watch out for. We’re stirring in the “pressure cooker of life” with all of them.
When we think about the topic, our thoughts may naturally settle on adolescent and teenage temptations. We can certainly remember being shoved up against giving into drugs, sex, and alcohol.
You remember the words, “just one hit,” or “just one sip won’t hurt you,” or even the ultimate lie, “you can’t get pregnant the first time.” The list went on and if you weren’t strong enough to be an individual, you gave into the enticement of fitting in with the crowd.
The peer pressure doesn’t end at high school graduation, though. It continues to persevere and tempts us no matter how old we become and no matter what stage of life we’re currently living in. It’s at almost every turn you take, and it’s waiting to suck you in!
Do you really think it has ended for you in your adult life? There’s proof that it hasn’t in a little common statement known as, “Keeping up with the Jones’.” Hidden in those five little words is one question—“Can you keep up with the peer pressure?”
As adults, peer pressure is almost subliminal. It’s not presented to us in the same manner as in the past, but we feel it just the same.
You may be sitting with a few women at your child’s playgroup or on the golf course with your work buddies one day. The topic of conversation leads to questions about your lifestyle and they’re ones meant to evaluate you.
We may sense the pressure to get a bigger house, a fancy car or SUV, or even enlist our children in every conceivable sport or activity there is because we feel the answers we gave don’t measure up to the level of conformity that society has dictated.
Little do some of us know, that if we decide we can’t take the heat and give into the temptation, we only create a different type of pressure. It will soon manifest itself in the form of stress, and that will be our sentence for not standing firm.
Being in the same pressure cooker as everyone else, I have no choice but to look to God for strength. I don’t completely have what it takes to say no on my own. Since He himself has gone through temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18, NIV
I can sometimes feel myself dipping into a particular pot that I really can’t afford to eat from. Hopefully, with God’s continued help, I can learn from my own impulsive bad choices of the past and also from the unfortunate mistakes I’ve seen others make.
Well, I’ve survived the pressures of adolescence and I’m currently living amongst the pressures of mid-life, ugh! I thought high school graduation was last year! How did I end up in mid-life already?
Anyway, if I should one day take up residence at Sunny Acres Nursing Home in the distant future, I can guarantee one of my fellow cronies will throw some peer pressure my way!
Perhaps, I’ll be gliding around one day in my wheelchair and someone will tempt me with the newest model wheelchair she has with the built in stereo and messaging back. She may even ask me what my husband did for a living and where I shopped for my clothes! If I continue to look to God for strength I’ll answer her questions truthfully.
Who cares about fitting in then, anyway? God is really the only one to impress. With His help, I’ll be happy with the previous year’s wheelchair model and enjoy the ride to the bingo room with my simpler mode of transportation! I can then happily rejoice while saying, “peer pressure, schmeer pressure,” through my false teeth!