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Why Peer Pressure will Make or Break You

By: Kristen Clark

I was fifteen years old and surrounded by my girl friends at a sleepover party. The birthday girl stands up and announces that we’re all going to watch a movie. She says the name of the movie and my heart immediately sinks.

This movie was bad news.

What’s worse, I knew specifically that my parents did not want me to see it. All the girls cheered as my friend popped it into her VHS player. I didn’t want to look dumb by leaving the room or worse, announcing that “my parents wouldn’t approve.”

Instead, I caved into peer pressure like a little mute mouse and silently watched the film.

Whether you realize it or not, we ALL face peer pressure on a regular basis.

“Why don’t you cuss like everyone else?”
“You don’t have a boyfriend? Lame!”
“Everyone is going to the party, don’t be a sissy.”
“Why don’t you wear a bikini?”

We all know what it’s like to be pressured by our friends to do or not do something. Peer pressure comes in all shapes and sizes. You feel terrible if you give into it, because you know it’s wrong. But if you don’t give in, you’re probably going to face teasing, mocking, and become “uncool” in the eyes of your friends.

Peer pressure is a tough, tough thing.

What’s worse, you and I live in a society where we feel “pressure” from people we’ve never even met! All it takes is a quick scan of Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest to quickly discover how “imperfect” your body is, how out of date your closet is or how “lame” your life is. You instantly feel the pressure to change something.

The reason peer pressure is so hard to overcome is because we want to be liked and admired by others. When the majority says, “this is cool” what is our natural tendency? To want to be cool, right?

Our backbone turns to jelly when our coolness is on the line.

Even though the Bible never mentions the term peer pressure, it doesn’t leave us stranded without hope.

Our culture has coined the term peer pressure, but a Biblical term for the same word is temptation.

Negative peer pressure always comes in the form of a temptation. Eve faced the first peer pressure in the garden when Satan made that juicy apple look so good. She caved into his enticing peer pressure (or snake pressure). Bam – the world’s first peer pressure.

Since then, the battle rages on.

Satan has been on the prowl for making Christians stumble and fall. Every pressure you feel from your friends or the culture to sin against God is an opportunity that Satan wants to use to trip you up.

As hard as it is to stand up against peer pressure, we have to remember the big picture. Being “cool” in this world is not our goal. Our goal is to serve God and honor Him with our lives. Our highest priority should be to please God more than please anyone else…even if that means becoming the laughing stock.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There’s something else I haven’t mentioned yet.

Believe it or not, not all peer pressure is bad! There’s such a thing as positive peer pressure. Check it: If you’re surrounded by friends who love God and want to honor Him, they’re going to “pressure” you into becoming a stronger Christian.

“Hey! Come to church with us on Sunday.”
“I love how stylish and modest your outfit is!”
“I’m going on a missions trip this summer, you should come!”
“Save your body for marriage…I am!”

That’s great peer pressure! Surrounding yourself with peers who will push you in the right direction will make a huge difference in your life. That’s what I’m trying to do on this blog!

The bottom line is, you can either be the change, or be changed.

In this life you only have one chance to impact others for eternity. I want to challenge you to take your youth seriously and do something big for God. When your short life is over you’re either going to be the person who was changed, or the person who made change.

In other words, don’t follow the crowd, lead it! Be the girl who stands up and says, “No, I’m not going to do that.” Be the girl that younger girls can look up to and see your godly example.

Be a strong leader amongst your friends.

“There is so much in this world that we need to change, and so many people who need to be told about Christ. Letting other people decide what we do and how we behave is exactly what Satan hopes we will do; if we never stand up for what is right because of peer pressure, we are actually standing up for what is wrong.”

I’ve failed many times under negative peer pressure, but with God’s help, I never give up striving for truth. I am constantly removing things from my life that tempt me away from God. I highly encourage you to do the same.

Our world needs strong Christian girls who are willing to stand up for His truth.

Here are 7 practical tips for fighting against negative peer pressure:

  1. Say no to friendships that weaken your faith and tempt you to sin.
  2. Pick your “best friend” to be a girl who will push you to become a stronger Christian.
  3. Avoid activities that you know will pressure you into compromising.
  4. Be open and honest about your temptations with your parents.
  5. Pray and ask God to help you overcome your temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”
  6. Avoid exposing yourself to media content that tempts you to become like the world.
  7. Get to know your Savior! The better you know Jesus, the stronger your desire will be to choose Him over your friends.

Positive peer pressure will make you, but negative peer pressure will break you. 

Let’s hash it out.

  • How often do you give into negative peer pressure?
  • Answer honestly: Do you care more about pleasing your friends than you do God?
  • What can you do today to become a leader instead of a follower?

Photo credit: | H.Koppdelaney

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