1 Samuel 13:1
So I said, “The Philistines are ready to march against us . . . . So I felt
compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came” (v.12).
Cyclist Tyler Hamilton had steadily advanced
through the ranks of the US Postal Service team,
and now he was on the verge of being included
on the squad that would race in the Tour de France. All
he had to do was take EPO, an illegal drug that boosted
endurance for the grueling mountain climbs. Hamilton
told the team doctor that he needed time to think about it.
Later, the cyclist shared what was going through his
mind. “I was so close to the goal, I’ve gotta do it . . .
I kinda felt like I owed it to myself to look the other way
and keep going forward,” Hamilton admitted. Another
team member, Frankie Andreu, claimed that doping was
the only way to keep pace with the other dirty cyclists.
“You kind of didn’t have a choice,” he said. “If you
weren’t taking EPO, you weren’t going to win.”
Like King Saul who shrank under stress and disobeyed,
these men talked themselves into doing what they knew
was wrong. They had reached the highest echelon
of their sport, but their excuses for cheating sounded
childlike. They caved to peer pressure—“Everyone
else is doing it,” “We can’t compete without it”; and to
selfishness—“I deserve this,” “I owe it to myself to do
whatever it takes to win.”
Peer pressure (“I saw my men scattering from me,”
1 Samuel 1:11) and selfishness (“I haven’t even asked
for the Lord’s help!” v.12) contributed to Saul’s sin, and
they often tempt us. Do we spend money on what everyone else buys, mainly
because they’re buying it? Do we watch movies or visit websites that we know
are bad for us, but we excuse them on the grounds that our friends do?
If you truly want to follow Jesus, you must be willing to be different.
Read James 1:12 to learn where temptation comes from and how
you can defeat it.
Maturity comes at varying paces in different places. In what
area of your life do you need to act more like an adult and less like a
child? How does your faith in Jesus encourage you to step it up?