"Then a herald shouted out, 'People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king's command! When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.'" Daniel 3:4-6 (NLT)
I knew I needed to stop talking about him, but as a new bride, I just couldn't. Fresh and new, I could often be found gushing about my amazing husband!
However in my work environment, I quickly realized being happy and being married wasn't all that popular. The positive comments I made about my husband stood out from the daily hubby-bashing of my peers. So it didn't take me long to find my own complaints about marriage to add to the conversations.
I worked to find something negative about Greg to throw in the fire. But although my words fit in well with my peers, making negative comments hurt my heart. I knew better. It wasn't a matter of simply letting something slip; I was choosing to be someone I was not.
When we hear the words "peer pressure," we often think of just teenagers. But pressure to conform doesn't go away once we leave our school days. It isn't limited to any one age, gender or status group. In one form or another, every culture is influenced by the pressure to belong.
In our key verse today, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon commanded "people of all races and nations and languages" to bow down and worship an image of himself. All people, of all types, were subject to his pressure to conform.
We, too, are under pressure to conform daily.
To bad mouth our spouses. To keep our clothes, cars or condos up to date. To meet society's demands about body image. Daily we can be pushed to "bow down" to the gods of bellyaching, buying and beauty.
Although my early marriage days are long gone, I still experience the pressure of society's standards.
But I've decided I don't want to do it any more. I don't want to fit in, if fitting in means going against God's best for His glory and my good.
Like the three brave young men who stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3 and bravely refused to bow down to the gold statue of the king, we too can be brave and refuse peer pressure. We can reach out to Jesus for the strength, courage and determination to not "bow down" to culture's definition of behavior. Boldly, we can choose to be women who exude the traits of Jesus — the fruit of the Spirit. And in turn, we can teach our children to be bold too.
When we display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control we become different. And it's a difference that is gorgeous and godly.
Jesus, it is all too easy for me to just go along each day with what society calls "normal." Yet You call me to stand up and stand out for You. Help me today to choose to be different and choose to allow Your life to flow through mine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (NIV)
Romans 12:2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (NKJV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: In what ways do you face the daily pressure to conform to culture's norms?
Do a word search using the concordance of your Bible, or an online version, to discover what God's Word has to say about this particular struggle.
© 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org