Why is peer pressure powerful? How can I resist sinful peer pressure?
Suggested Daily Reading: 1 John 2:15-17
Friendship is a blessing from God given to Adam and Eve in Paradise. God did not create us to be alone, but to live in friendship with others (Gen. 2:18). Since our sinful fall, however, who we choose as friends is important, as friends influence each other – either for good or evil. Godly friends positively encourage each other to live lives filled with love to God and others. Ungodly friends encourage each other to live lives filled with love for worldliness. Worldliness is described in today’s suggested reading as lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
Since our fall, everyone has an innate fear for loneliness. We want to have friends and to be included. We want to be accepted and not rejected. To be respected and not laughed at. Even when we pray and strive to be a godly friend and choose godly friends, we still live in an ungodly culture. The worldliness of our culture exerts a negative peer pressure. It constantly tempts us to sin to be accepted and included, and not thought of as weird and ostracized.
How can I resist sinful peer pressure? The following pointers are helpful:
Understand its strength – Avoid people, places and activities that you know ahead of time will apply strong pressures
Be true to God – Pray and strive to stay focused on and walk in the way of God’s Word
Be true to yourself – If you love God, do not give up who you really are; strengthen your convictions and confidence to be true to them
A true friend is one who seeks your best – “Friends” who try to influence or pressure you to sin, are not real friends
Time is short – Teen years are only a few years in your life, stand strong by God’s grace for these few years when sinful peer pressures can be the strongest
Focus on the long-term results – Many carry life-long painful memories and scars for sins in their teen years; focus also on eternal realities
Lead rather than follow – Pray and try to promote positive influence rather than follow sinful pressures
Retreat is better than defeat – Walking away from sinful temptation is far better than succumbing to it
God’s blessing is better than man’s – God’s blessing for those persecuted for His name’s sake is far more valuable than the shallow praises of people
Inward thoughts often differ from words and actions – People who loudly encourage you to sin and outwardly mock you if you do not, inwardly may well respect you much more when you stand firmly on your principles rather than bow to theirs
Are you praying and working to be a godly friend? To exert positive peer influences? What helps you to do this? What hinders you from doing so? How can you grow in both resisting sinful pressures and creating positive influence?