PEER PRESSURE

 

DEFINITION Peer pressure is the influence that a group or an individual exerts over someone that encourages them to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms.

FACTS ABOUT PEER PRESSURE:

There are both positive and negative influences in life.  You must make decisions each day about which of these you will allow to influence you.  Positive peer pressure that encourages you to do good is not a problem.  It is the negative peer pressure of ungodly influences in your life which you must learn to confront and conquer.

You are influenced by those with whom you associate.  The Bible says “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character”  (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Proverbs warns:  “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,  or you may learn his ways  and get yourself ensnared” (Proverbs 22:24-25).  Substitute any negative influence for the words “hot-tempered” and the result is the same–if you run with someone who is dishonest, you learn their ways.  If you hang out with a liar, you will become one too.

You should be an example instead of following bad examples.  Paul told a young believer named Timothy:  “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity”  (1 Timothy 4:12-13).  Jesus said you were to follow His example (John 13:15) and that as a believer you are His ambassador to the world (1 Corinthians 5:20).  Do not be a clone.  Be an example.  You are to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).  Tasteless salt is worthless (Mark 9:50).  As a follower of Christ it is your responsibility to flavor the world around you so it will be positively impacted for God.

Doing things because “everyone else is doing them” is idolatry.  The Lord said that Israel imitated the sinful nations around them, although God had ordered them not to do so.  They followed idolatrous people and became idolatrous themselves (2 Kings 17:15).  When you decide to do something because “everyone else is doing it”, you are establishing those unsaved people as an idol in your life–imitating them and adhering to their standards instead of following God.

DEALING WITH  PEER PRESSURE:

Do not blame God when you yield to peer pressure. The Bible says: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”  (James 1:13-15). 

Repent of conforming to negative peer pressure.  If you have been yielding to pressure to do things that are not in harmony with God’s Word, you have sinned. Confess, repent, and ask God to forgive you.

Rebuke the fear of man. The Bible says that the fear of man is a spiritual snare which entraps you in their ways (Proverbs 29:25).

Determine that you will obey God rather than man.  The disciples took their stand against “peer pressure”, even when facing possible imprisonment and death.   Peter and the other apostles declared: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29).

Renew your mind in the Word of God.  This will enable you to be transformed instead of conforming to the world (Romans 12:1-2).

Do not be unequally yoked in relationships.  The Bible warns believers:  “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”   “Therefore come out from them and be separate,”   says the Lord.  “Touch no unclean thing,  and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters”  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).   Break close relationships with those who exert pressure for you to look, act, think, or talk in ways that are not in harmony with God’s Word.

Form positive relationships.  Make friends with fellow-believers who are seeking to live by the Word of God.  You can be friendly to everyone, but your close relationships should be with those who have like spiritual goals.  Find friends at church, at Bible study groups, or through Christian social organizations.  Find a prayer partner as well, one with whom you can pray regularly.
Do not become involved in the troubles of others.  Some people want to involve you in their messes and even take delight in getting you into trouble. The moment you are tempted to become involved in another person’s issues, you  end up as part of their troubles.  The Bible warns:  “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence” (Proverbs 4:14-17, KJV).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT PEER PRESSURE:

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. (Exodus 23:2)

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!  (Psalm 119:115)

My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.  If they say, “Come along with us;

let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul;  let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;  we will get all sorts of valuable things  and fill our houses with plunder;  throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse”–my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;  for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.  (Proverbs 1:10-16)

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. (Proverbs 4:14-17. KJV)

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,  or you may learn his ways  and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24-25)

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,  for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.  (Proverbs 23:20-21)

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.  (Proverbs 29:25)

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transform. (Romans 12:1-2)

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”   “Therefore come out from them and be separate,”   says the Lord.  “Touch no unclean thing,  and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.  (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.  (1 Timothy 4:12-13)

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  (James 1:13-15)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email