Do you find it hard to resists when your friends encourage you to break your resolve by asking you to “forget the diet for today”? Often, the term “peer pressure” is synonymous with youth, but we can allow ourselves to be influenced by the words or actions of others in our daily decision-making process at any age.
At some point or another in our lives, we each make resolutions, set limits and impose restrictions for ourselves that are soon broken. Free will comes at a high price, and ultimately, we are responsible for our own decisions, but how easily can we be swayed by others?
Pretty easily, it would seem. Who of us has not succumbed at one point or another to the temptation of “keeping up with the Joneses;” buying a car or some other item that you could not afford, spending money you didn’t have in an attempt to find happiness or gain the respect of others?
It’s hard to say no. You get tired of resisting, so you give in. It’s easier to just go along to get along. You promise yourself it’ll just be this one time. You deserve it. The excuses are endless.
Keeping in mind that the flesh is weak, how should we approach compromise in our spiritual lives? We want to be true to God’s Word, but what about those times when it isn’t convenient? To compromise biblical values or to table God’s rules temporarily to avoid conflict, simply to fit in with our friends, is to put God on the back burner. Worse. It’s hypocrisy.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? —2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV
Should we abandon our friends who don’t share our beliefs, or avoid those who would encourage us to compromise our values? Perhaps. Would it help us avoid compromise? Probably not, since the choice to compromise is ours to begin with.
Consider how you would respond to the age-old question, “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you follow?” Substitute the bridge jumping with a compromising situation, and if your answer is, “maybe,” or “I don’t know,” then perhaps you should rethink the situation. If your response depends on the friend, it may be time to consider limiting the time you spend together.
In his article “Ambassadors to a World of Compromise,” John MacArthur discusses compromise in one’s personal interactions, saying that because we readily indulge ourselves in the world’s value systems to the point that we personalize them and make them our own, we allow our standards to replace those set by God.
“Scripture calls us to the opposite of compromise,” MacArthur says, adding that when you hold God’s Word as the ultimate authority, the way is cleared for developing integrity instead of compromise, and integrity, he explains, is the pathway to God’s blessing. MacArthur points out that the way we represent Christ on earth is as his ambassadors; by identifying with Him by standing apart from the world, rather than by compromising God’s truth through our actions, how we live or the choices we make.