"C'mon, it's just one beer." "Seriously, your parents will never find out about one joint." "Why don't you cuss like everyone else?" "Are you a prude or something?"
Peer pressure. We've all been there. It's hard to deal with because if we give in, we feel awful for not standing our ground. If we don't give in, we end up getting teased or have to deal with continued pressure and pleading to join in. It's always an awkward position to be in. Did you know that the Bible actually says something about this? In fact, the Bible tells us to expect persecution (which, when you're a teenager, means "peer pressure"). Second Timothy 3:12 says that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Yeah, not fun, but before you think you can't handle it, keep reading...
The world has been trying to pull Christians into their sin since the beginning. Sometimes friends will try to drag us into sinful practices as a means of justifying their own actions, hence the old cliché "But everyone is doing it!" As if somehow a sin is no longer a sin just because more people are doing it. Um...WRONG. Most people who will plead with you to go against your morals or even tease you for standing firm are not friends to begin with. True friends support your moral convictions—even if they do not agree with them.
It can be difficult enough to live a Christian life without outsiders giving us grief, but unfortunately that is part of living a godly life. We just need to know how to handle those awkward—sometimes painful—situations when so-called friends tempt us with sins like underage drinking, sex, vandalism, stealing, drugs, bullying, you name it.
As Christians, we are to be "set apart" from a world that has no problem with sin (1 Peter 2:9-10); rather, we should avoid those things, even if it means a little bit of temporary embarrassment in front of our peers (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33). 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."
James 1:12-15 tells us why it's worth it to resist peer pressure: "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
Here are some practical tips from the Bible for standing by your moral convictions when peers are putting on the pressure:
So, peer pressure? Don't sweat it. First Corinthians 16:13 says, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." When God's got your back, you got this.
As Christians, we are to be "set apart" from a world that has no problem with sin (1 Peter 2:9-10) and avoid those things, even if it means temporary embarrassment in front of our friends (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Romans 12:2). Read James 1:12-15 for some very good reasons to resist peer pressure. 1 Corinthians 16:13 has good advice too: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."
L.B. is a seasoned Christian writer who loves working with youth and inspiring others to live for Christ.