We hear a lot about “peer pressure” today. Usually, the context of such discussions centers upon our teens. Some boyfriend, girlfriend or group at school is trying to get “little Johnny” or “little Suzy” to do something that they should not (or not to do something that they should). Now “little Johnny” or “little Suzy” knows what the right thing to do is… but, they want so very much to fit in, and be accepted by their peers, and thus you have “peer pressure.”
Brethren, two myths need to be dispelled. Myth #1 – “Peer pressure” is a new phenomenon. My friends, “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We may not have always used the label “peer pressure,” but the concept is not new. It was in the garden of Eden. Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:4). It was “peer pressure” to which he succumbed. Thus, this concept is not new. It is, in fact, one of Satan’s oldest ploys. Myth #2 – “Peer pressure” only affects the young. No, on the contrary, it affects adults too. It did in Jesus’ day. Notice the words of John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him (Christ – B.H.); but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him (Christ – B.H.), lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.” It was due to Pilate’s “wanting to gratify the crowd” that prompted him to release of Barabbas, and deliver Jesus to be crucified (Mark 15:9-15). Political pressure and the desire to please caused him to this. (Do we call this peer pressure? It could be argued that these Jews were not even his peers.) It was peer pressure which caused Peter to separate himself from gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11-14) “Peer pressure” a very real thing. It is not new; it has existed throughout the history of man-kind. It affects young and old alike.
What can be done? (1) We must honestly ask ourselves, “Whose praise and friendship do I want?” (John 5:44; 12:42-43). (2) We must acquaint ourselves with the fact: To compromise truth for the sake of earthly friends is to love those friends more than God (John 12:43); in fact, it is to make oneself an enemy of God (James 4:4; Matthew 10:37). (3) We should choose friends that will better us and not hinder us in our walks of righteousness (Proverbs 13:20; 22:24; 27:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33). A friend worth having will not seek to influence or pressure us to do evil (1 Corinthians 13:6; Proverbs 27:5-6). (4) We, as God’s people, need to have close fellowship one with another, so that members of the church do not feel that they have to look elsewhere for acceptance and love (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 5:14; 2 John 5). (5) We should remember that the true Christian never will be popular with the all (Luke 6:26; 2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 10:25). (6) We should remember that even if all on earth reject us, we still have a friend who has promised “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 27:10).