Peer Pressure

Peer pressure.  Not easy, is it? 

‘But what do you know about peer pressure—especially mine?’—I hear you say.  Fair point. I don’t actually know anything about your particular situation.  But hear me out.

It might surprise you that peer pressure is nothing new.  It has been going on since the world began. That doesn’t make it any easier for you, perhaps—but the good news is that the basic underlying reason for it is well understood.  And that means you can start to think about it in a different way, which should begin to help.

Let’s break down peer pressure for a minute; what is it?  Isn’t it simply the persuasive force you feel from others to act or think in a different way to what you would otherwise choose?  That pretty much describes it in a nut shell, doesn’t it?  Pressure to do what your mates do.  Pressure to conform with what everyone else is doing.  Pressure even to stop doing the things that you might have been brought up to do—even though deep down, you know those things are right.

Did you know that peer pressure goes by another name?  Temptation.  Perhaps the things that you feel pressure to do are not actually unpleasant or unattractive—they may even be very desirable.  Is the discomfort you feel not actually the pressure of your friends—but the roar of your conscience inside?  Was it any different for Eve in the Garden of Eden when Satan came with smooth, oily words and talked her right into doing something she knew she shouldn’t?  In her mind’s eye she got an attractive glimpse of a sinful opportunity which was so appealing in that moment that she—under the force of that temptation—caved in, and in so doing set up the ruin of you and me.

However, at the very beginning of history, Satan gave his game away.  God gives us such a clear account in Genesis to warn us of Satan’s techniques, and you know—they haven’t changed a bit.  So when you next face peer pressure, however tough or ugly that is, try to recall that it is really just a current version of Satan’s age-old tactic to tempt us to sin.  Pray that the Lord will help you to see it for what it really is—and for help to resist the devil.  God assures us that if we do, the devil will flee (see James 4v7).

You might be interested to know that CViE has recently published a new booklet on “
Peer Pressure”; it’s out now.  It is short, easy to read, and gives some good practical advice on how to deal with peer pressure.  You might just find the short account of a student’s battle with peer pressure resonates with you.