Everyone over the age of five faces some kind of peer pressure. It’s subtle. Most people handle it well, because they don’t let it bother them, but many are moved along by the crowd like the bulls running down the streets of Pamplona, Spain. It is what motivates many to buy certain kinds of cars, wear certain styles of clothes and even get caught in foolish activities, like sniffing. Peer pressure. Usually it’s when people around your own age try to influence your thinking.
Sometimes peer pressure can be positive. Peers can encourage you to participate in sports or band or even study hard for honor grades. Peers can also exhort you to keep up some level of fitness. These are obviously good forms of peer pressure or better termed exhortations.
Sometimes peer pressure can be negative. This pressure comes from peers influencing you to use alcohol, drugs, skip school, have sex, vandalize property, make fun of people or bully other kids. During youthfulness and even into adulthood, you have so many influences away from God’s holy standard and toward the common drudgery of the world.
How do you make your own decisions? How do you say no to negative peer pressure? How do you deal with it in tough situations?
The key to peer pressure is to know who you are. If you are a Christian, here’s your verse, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10) If you know Jesus Christ, then you are complete in Him and the peer pressure of life does not have to influence you in a negative way.
When you realize you are complete in Jesus Christ, you will have confidence in Jesus rather than yourself. You’ll be able to accept your strengths and weaknesses, because you know that God is working in your life to lead you to maturity.1 You’ll have greater respect for others, because you submit yourself to Christ’s authority.2 You’ll begin to trust yourself, because you are trusting what God is doing in and through you to accomplish His will.3 You’ll make your decisions with discernment, because you know God’s Word.4
If you continue in the world’s path, you’ll miss out on the freedom Jesus Christ wants for you.5 Depending on yourself, rather than the Lord, results in a lack of self-confidence, dislike of yourself, not trusting your decisions and unwillingness to accept who you were made by God. Ultimately what happens is other people influence you and make your decisions for you. You end up going down a wide road called a slippery slope, because it’s easy and so many are traveling down the same dumb road. Why? Because what peers think is more important to you than what God thinks.
The next segment will address some practical ways of dealing with peer pressure.
1Philippians 1:6; 21Peter 5:5-6; 3Ephesians 5:15-17; 4Hebrews 5:12-14; 5Galatians 5:1