Peer pressure is a form of adversity that must be dealt with often for a Christian in today’s world. Unfortunately, many Christians do not recognize the impact that peer pressure has upon them and thus do not think about the negative consequences that may come with their “giving in” to peer pressure. Let us now examine what “peer pressure” is and what the Word of God says about it.
We may define “peer pressure” as “the attempt by others to influence you to act as they do or believe as they do.” The concept of peer pressure may be broken down into an issue of conformity: to what will you conform? If the word “conformity” is difficult to understand, imagine this: you have wet clay in your hands. You can shape it into many different forms: a ball, a flat surface, a twist, etc. When you change the form of the clay, you are the clay is conformed by you into a shape of your desire. In the world today, a Christian can be conformed to one of two forms: conformed to the image of Christ or conformed to the world.
It must first be stated that all “peer pressure” is not necessarily an evil. If you surround yourself with godly people, desiring to go to Heaven and be with their Lord and desire the same for you, and if they respect the Word of God and desire to follow it as perfectly as possible, by all means accept their forms of “peer pressure!” These are the types of people that one ought to conform to, shunning all immorality.
Unfortunately, however, this form of “peer pressure” is very rare. More often than not, a Christian will be asked by his “friends” to either practice something that is wrong or assent to a practice that is wrong. Students learn in schools about the “peer pressure” that attempts to induce one to smoke, drink, or use illegal substances. A Christian may be induced to commit fornication, or, if married, adultery. In times like these we must remember the wisdom of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:16-20:
What? know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? for “two,” saith he, “shall be one flesh.”
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
“Peer pressure” is not limited to the attempt to induce one to perform improper acts. There are many times when “friends” will attempt to persuade you to believe what God has determined is wrong is not really wrong. They may attempt to tell you that some homosexual relationships are okay, and that living together before marriage is not such a bad thing. They may chastise you and your beliefs by labeling you as “intolerant,” and that you condemn people to hell for merely not agreeing with you. In times like these one must remember the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9:
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Truly those who will not obey Christ will be punished by Him.
There are innumerable situations and practices that “friends” of Christians will attempt to induce him to do or believe that which is wrong. The world has provided many inducements for sin, including improper forms of entertainment, gross immodesty, loosening of sexual mores, tolerance of sin, and even castigates those who would believe in the truth of God. When we are approached with these forms of “peer pressure,” let us always keep the three following Scriptures in mind: 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, and Romans 12:1-2:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We must strive diligently to be found pursuing the righteousness of God, not the vain lusts of the world. We must heed the Scriptures and flee from worldly things, recognizing that Paul is not making an idle statement when he declares that “bad company corrupts good morals.” Finally, brethren, we must constantly work to conform ourselves not to the world, but to the glory of God and His righteousness. We must not let “peer pressure” influence us in any other direction.