Peer pressure is something that almost everyone goes through at some point during their lifetime. When we think of peer pressure, we mostly think of young people. We think of kids on a playground or teens at a party as likely scenarios for peer pressure to take place. The truth is, whether you’re a child, adolescent, or an adult, peer pressure can happen at any of these stages. It is no doubt a hard thing to deal with, when pressured by your peers. The threats, the “what if’s”, the embarrassment, are all part of peer pressure and certainly are unpleasant. Not all peer pressure is bad, however. Sometimes peers can influence your decision on something good, that will better your life in some way. But today, we’re going to focus on the negative side of peer pressure, and how to deal with it. So let’s look at the Bible and see what it has to say about dealing with peer pressure.
The negative peer pressure we deal with can be considered a temptation. If we are being pressured into doing something that we know is not right, it is a temptation. Well, Paul has some things to say about temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says this, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Whatever it is you are being tempted by, it is nothing man hasn’t been tempted by before. Now this may not sound very encouraging because, either way, the pressure is still on. But Paul says with the temptation, God will provide a way to escape. Whether it is by just saying “no”, or by other means, there is always a way out of the darkness. Notice though, at the end of the verse, Paul says God will provide a way of escape so that we will “be able to endure it”. Paul doesn’t say that God will provide a way out of the hardship so that we don’t have to go through it. Rather, he says that God will provide a way of escape so we can push on through the hardship and come out on top. This is hard for us to swallow because we want an easy way out. We don’t want to have to go through the hardship, we don’t want to go through it at all. However, the truth is, following Christ is not an easy task. There will be persecution, hardships, and trials. Why? Because the world does not accept nor understand God. As followers of Christ, there are some things we are called not to take part of because they are sinful and this is what the world does not understand. This is why peer pressure, especially in the life of a Christian, is so difficult. But God is always right there with us, providing a way to endure it and come out on top.
Another way of looking at peer pressure is looking at it as a test. Throughout our life our character is tested. Just as a test in school is supposed to bring to light how much knowledge we have, so a test in life brings out our true character. When we are pressured into doing something we know is wrong, our character is tested. When Jesus was tested in the wilderness, Satan wanted Jesus to prove himself as the Son of God. Look at what Satan says in Matthew 4 verses 3 and 6. Satan says, “If you are the Son of God…” and the pressure follows. Jesus was fasting and so he was most certainly hungry at this time. Satan, knowing Jesus’ human desires, knew that he was hungry. So Satan pressured him into turning stones into bread to eat. Jesus knew that giving into that desire would be giving into Satan, so Jesus resisted. All three times, with different scenarios, Jesus resisted and endured the testing. His character was proven to really be the true Son of God. He still had to go through the test, but he endured. In the same way, we are tested throughout our lives and with God we must endure till the end.
When discussing peer pressure, some situations can be helped. We must also look at the peers we hang around with. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Solomon says we become who we spend time with. If we spend time with good, moral people, we will not be subjected to negative peer pressure by them. If we spend time with those who are immoral and are negative, we will eventually follow their path because of the pressure they put on us. So we have to examine who we are hanging around with. Negative peer pressure can be avoided sometimes, if we don’t spend our time with those who might pressure us with negative things. We must be careful about these things.
In conclusion, all peer pressure is not necessarily negative. It can be positive, but we must be aware of the pressure that is tempting us to do evil or testing our character. With every pressure situation, God is with us. We may still have to endure the pressure, but we can come out victorious through Jesus Christ.