Sunday, September 22, 2019

Peer Pressured

A challenge you’ll sometimes face when ministering to two or more people at once is peer pressure. It can work on the positive or negative end. One example of the latter happened two days ago on my way to a meeting in Minnesota. While at a convenience store I saw five teenage girls walking on the other side of the street. I rushed over to witness to them. Four of them seemed receptive to the gospel. As I was about to lead them in the prayer of salvation, the other girl influenced everyone else to walk away from me.

I remember more examples of negative peer pressure while evangelizing one afternoon in Brooklyn, New York. Early in my outing, I approached three young men with the gospel. One of them expressed immediate resistance. A pastor with me at the time started ministering to this man while I continued talking to the other two (this is one reason why it’s best to evangelize with another person whenever possible). When I asked the two if they wanted to pray, one man looked at the other as if that guy's decision would determine his own. When both of them turned down the opportunity to receive salvation, I asked the more submissive man, “If your friend jumped into a volcano, would you do likewise?” He still resisted getting born again.

A short time later my pastor friend took the subway home. Meanwhile, I continued witnessing and got to lead five people to the Lord. At Fulton Park, there likely would have been a sixth if it weren’t for negative peer pressure. I approached two men sitting on a bench. The first one (who I’ll call “Bob”) wasn’t sure of his eternal destiny but seemed open to the gospel. The other man was antagonistic and claimed the Bible was full of lies. When I asked him to name one, he said the words “Ten Commandments” are not part of the Bible. Perhaps I should’ve waited on answering this man’s objections until I ministered more to Bob who started praying with me until his so-called friend talked him out of it. Then this man asked me to walk away. I asked Bob if he wanted me to leave and he said “yes.” But before doing so, I advised Bob to read the Bible for himself and not blindly accept what other people say about it.

However, I recall another time in Brooklyn where at Saratoga Park, I felt led to approach five teenagers with the gospel. Most of the teens had a mocking spirit but I focused on one young man who said he went to church. Tony prayed with me to receive salvation. I concluded the prayer by having Tony confess, “Thank you, Jesus, I'm going to heaven, I'm born again, the devil’s defeated, and I’m good looking!” This is something I learned from fellow evangelist Nick Kinn. Occasionally I do this in hopes that other people listening might want to pray as well.

This time the strategy worked. After Tony finished praying, another young man within earshot said, “I want to pray that, too.” I reviewed the gospel with Marcus to make sure he was serious. Then he prayed to get born again...and confessed that he is good looking, too!

People in the Bible such as King Herod (Matthew 14) and Pontius Pilate (Luke 23) made bad choices because of peer pressure. Don’t let that happen to you!  Whenever the devil tries to use somebody to influence you into making wrong decisions, determine to do what’s right…no matter how embarrassing or painful it might seem at the time. God will reward your obedience to Him.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” - Matthew 10:37

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