Peer pressure. We’ve all heard about it and have probably all experienced it. The pressure to do “what’s cool” and “what everyone else is doing.” You can feel pressured to gossip, drink, dress immodestly, have sex, and many other things. For example, when I was a teenager, school came easy for me, so sometimes I felt pressured to act like I didn’t know the answers so I would fit in with everyone else. I’m so glad I didn’t keep doing this because my good grades eventually helped me get a great college scholarship. How silly I was to think I needed to “dumb myself down” to fit in.
Now, we often think of peer pressure as a negative thing, but why does it have to be? If there is negative peer pressure, then it only makes sense that there can be positive peer pressure too.
Here are some ways peer pressure can have a positive impact on your life:
Become close friends with the students in your youth group or college group at church.
These people are your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and are also striving to live a holy life. Christians should “love one another with brotherly affection”(Rom. 12:10) because that’s how God designed us. God made us and He knows we need relationships and we need love from one another. The more we are around our brothers and sisters, the more we’ll be pressured to act like them, while we are all striving to follow Christ’s example. (1 Cor. 11:1)
Start an accountability group with your Christian friends.
Maybe you could have a Bible study one day a week outside of church. You could meet and pray together and pray for each other. If you can’t, know that it’s not even necessary to meet somewhere outside of school or church. You just need to hold each other accountable for your actions. Let your friends know where you’re weak so they can pray for you. It can even be as simple as asking each other if you read your Bible that day, but it can have a huge impact on your Christian walk. Paul tells us to “encourage one another” (1 Thess. 4:18) and that’s exactly what we should do.
Be a light in a world filled with darkness.
We are told to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) Why can’t you be an example of positive peer pressure? People will notice the example you are setting and that you trust and have faith in Christ Jesus. They will see your light and wonder what is missing in their own lives. That’s when you can talk to them about Christ, encourage them, or invite them to church.
Don’t be afraid to stand out! Peer pressure will follow you your whole life, but you can decide if it’s negative or positive. Negative peer pressure is just one of Satan’s many tools. Let’s turn it around and show the world we’re different.