Definition: Peers are people of equal standing with one another, in age, rank or status. Age is often a determining factor in establishing what is commonly known as “peer groups”. Peer pressure, therefore is the demand to conform to the prevailing positive or negative attitudes or actions of one’s peer group.
1. The Bible cautions us not to yield to negative peer pressure.
* Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many [go with the crowd] to wrest [pervert] judgment.
* Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
* Proverbs 22:24,25 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
* 2 Corinthians 6:14,17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? … 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
* 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2. Just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t necessarily make it right.
* Genesis 6:12; 1 Peter 3:20b [In Noah’s day, the majority was dead wrong, so Noah had to buck the tide in order to survive.] And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. … 1 Peter 3:20b Once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
* Isaiah 1:9 [Often the true believers are a small minority.] Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. [Sodom and Gomorrah were two wicked cities which God destroyed because of sodomy and wickedness.]
* Matthew 7:13,14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
* Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
* Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
* 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
* Revelation 13:7,8 [In the time of the End, the Antichrist ends up ruling over most of the world, making war against all true believers.] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
3. When pressured by your peers, remember your first loyalty is to the Lord and His standard.
* Micah 7:5-7 [Watch out if friendship or relationships cause you to stray from the Lord’s standard.] Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. 6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. 7 Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my Salvation: my God will hear me. [See also Matthew 10:21; Luke 21:16; Jeremiah 9:4,5.]
* Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
* Galatians 1:6-11 [Paul warned about negative influences in the church, who sought to draw people after their own causes.] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
* Galatians 4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you [alienate you], that ye might affect [be zealous for] them.
* Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
4. True satisfaction comes only from following and pleasing the Lord.
* Psalm 73:25,26 Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside [more than] Thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
* Psalm 84:10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
* John 6:66-68 From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life.
5. Being swayed by the opinions of the crowd can lead to compromise and grave mistakes.
* 2 Kings 17:15 [We, as God’s children, must guard against being overly influenced by worldly trends, fads, or practices.] And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
* Proverbs 12:26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
* Proverbs 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
* Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
* John 12:42,43 [Today, negative peer pressure often causes people to fail to confess Jesus, just as it did in His Own day.] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
* Galatians 3:1a [Paul had real troubles with the influence of negative peer pressure in the newly formed Galatian Church:] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?
* Galatians 5:7-9 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
6. If you’re faithfully following the Lord, don’t expect to “fit in” with those who aren’t.
* Luke 6:22,23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in Heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
* John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
* John 17:14-17 [It is the Word that both separates us from the world and gives us conviction to resist the negative worldly influences which surround us.] I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.
* 1 Peter 4:2-4 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.
7. Wisely choose who you associate with and follow.
* Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.
* Proverbs 2:20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
* Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
* Romans 16:17,18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
* Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. [See also 1 Thessalonians 1:6.]
* 2 Thessalonians 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.
* 2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
* 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8. When deciding whether or not to follow along with others, first consider their sample, their attitudes and the kind of fruit they bear.
* Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
* Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
* Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
* Matthew 12:30 He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.
* Galatians 6:7,8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
* 1 Peter 2:21 [The best role model to follow, of course, is Jesus.] For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps. [See also Hebrews 12:2,3; 1 John 2:6.]
* 2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
* 3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
9. Combat negative peer pressure by establishing a positive peer group.
* Philippians 1:27b Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.
* 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 [Paul and his co-workers understood that positive peer pressure among their converts must begin with their own personal examples. Once they helped to set the standard, it caught on and spread:] For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For from you sounded out the Word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
* 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation [behavior or manner of life], in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
* 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
* Titus 2:7,8 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
* 1 Peter 3:15,16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
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