Today and tomorrow, I'd like for us to consider a few more thoughts pertaining to peer pressure; specifically, how did Jesus deal with it? What did He do when He was pressured to do wrong?
Perhaps the most telling New Testament passage on this subject is Matthew 4:1-11. Let's read the verses at this time and see what we can glean from the inspired text - "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."' Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: "He shall give His angels charge over you." and, "In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone."' Jesus said to him, 'It is written again, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God."' Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, 'All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve."' Then the devil left Him, and behold angels came and ministered to Him."
In this context, Jesus was fasting in the wilderness and was tempted several times by Satan. Now I'll admit that it might be stretching it to call Satan a companion of Jesus, but, nevertheless, he was there and was trying to influence Christ to commit sin. So, in that sense he was definitely exerting peer pressure upon the Lord!
Did you notice how Jesus dealt with the pressure He was put under? Every time the devil tempted him to commit sin, what did Jesus do? Did He just say no? Absolutely not. Jesus quoted Scripture to Satan! Now what does that tell you? It tells me that Jesus knew God's word. He knew it well enough to be able to quote it. Additionally, this tells me that answering sinful peer pressure with Scripture is a good way to react to it. Dear listeners, we need to study and learn God's word. This is the only way we will have the knowledge to be able to distinguish right from wrong. This is the only way we will be able to ascertain what God expects of us. Also, if we know the Scriptures well, we will be less likely to be persuaded to commit sin when we stand solidly on truth, the word of God (John 17:17). We will be less likely to be deceived into violating God's will.
Think about it: isn't it often the case that when people give in to sinful peer pressure it is because they aren't thinking about God and how the Lord would instruct them to act through His word? If I am growing spiritually closer to God each and every day (through prayer and Bible study), and if I'm choosing companions who encourage me to do that which is right in God's eyes, then I will be much less likely to fall into sin by succumbing to the temptations I encounter.
We will share a few more thoughts on this theme tomorrow.