Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. Mark 6:26 NLT
Pressure alerted me to what lay ahead.
I am a passer outer when it comes to giving blood. Pain isn’t the factor. I can take pain—more pain than a needle delivers. Perhaps it’s just the thought of the needle slipping inside my vein.
“You probably should let me lie down,” I tell each nurse who the doctor orders to take my blood.
“You’ll be okay,” they normally respond.
Several minutes after the sticking, they remark, “You don’t look so good.” And I want to say, “I told you so,” but don’t.
King Herod encountered pressure. He had thrown a big party and invited many of his friends. Then he had his daughter prance in and perform a seductive dance, after which he promised her anything she wanted. At her mom’s behest, she asked for the head of John the Baptist. John had a habit of telling her mother she had displeased God with her marriage to Herod. Not wanting to look foolish in front of his friends, Herod ordered John’s execution. The executioner served up John’s head on a platter to Herod’s daughter, and she promptly delivered it to her mother.
Pressure can be positive or negative. Peer pressure—the kind Herod faced—is normally negative. What others want me to do is usually not what God wants me to do. And that’s Satan’s plan. If he can entice me to live unlike God planned, my witness for Christ will be tainted. I will sin, fail God, and find myself discouraged and depressed.
Like Herod, I have often given in to pressure. He couldn’t face the embarrassment of not coming through on his promise. I’ve partaken of things I shouldn’t have because I didn’t want to be the only one not doing it—whatever it was. Herod feared his friends would laugh at him if didn’t follow through with the execution—a murder he didn’t want to commit. He actually liked John. Fear of rejection has driven me to make decisions I shouldn’t have made.
But when the pressure is positive, it has the opposite effect. Instead of surrounding myself with wayward acquaintances, I can choose friends who hold me accountable, who share my passion to serve Christ, and who hang with me when tough days arrive.
When pressure comes, surround yourself with people who will encourage you to make godly choices.
Tweetable: How do you handle life's pressures?
Prayer: Father, guide us to associate with those who will help us make good decisions when the pressure comes.