The Speakers Column exists to allow WWSA associates to minister to the thousands of women visiting the WWSA website . For 2010 there were over 1,375 visits to the site by women in 42 countries and 540 cities. After analyzing those statistics, we realized that our website is a potentially powerful witnessing tool that offers us a tremendous opportunity to reach women in all corners of the world with the love of God through words that inspire, encourage, console and sometimes convict. Each month there will be a different article, written by a WWSA associate. We invite you to visit our speaker's pages to learn more about those whose articles will appear on this page. If you are ministered to by an article, we would love to hear from you at: .
Your peers are the people with whom you identify and spend time. Peer pressure occurs when an individual experiences implied or expressed persuasion to adopt similar values, beliefs, and goals, or to participate in the same activities as those in the peer group. It exists for all ages but peaks during adolescence, but it never entirely disappears. Even adults feel pressure to conform in order to belong to a group whether it is in the workplace, neighborhood, extended family or church. Finding a rational balance between accepting group beliefs and thinking for oneself is a challenge for everyone. Peer pressure by itself is neither positive nor negative. It can be either expressed or implied.
1. Giving into Peer Pressure to Violate Man's Laws Has Consequences
2. Applying and Giving Into Peer Pressure that Violates God's Law Has Consequences
1 Corinthians 8:12 reads, "But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ." We know that when we sin against Christ there are consequences. When we ask for forgiveness, He forgives us but doesn't always remove the consequences.
Adam and Eve are a great example of this principle. Adam gave into Eve's peer pressure to violate God's command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because he caved in, they experienced monumental consequences:
Since their eviction from the Garden of Eden, every person born on earth suffers because Adam caved into peer pressure:
By refusing to allow peer pressure to cause you to act in a way that mistreats or violates the trust or well-being of your spouse, friend, employer, co-worker, pastor or sister-in-Christ, you will reap a harvest of self-respect, peace, love, friendship and favor both from man and God.
3. Not Giving into Peer Pressure to Violate God's Law "Always" Pays Dividends
Now, let's look at another biblical example of peer pressure and how responded positively. In Daniel, Chapter 1, we learn that the Jews had been attacked and taken captive by the Babylonians. Among those who were taken to Babylon were four young men, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego. Or as my preacher friend likes to say, "a bad negro." Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave the master of his eunuchs instructions to chose from the Jewish captives, the most intelligent, healthy and attractive young men to train and indoctrinate into Babylonian culture for three year. At the end of that time they would be properly prepared to serve the king. The king basically told his servants to spare no expense in this endeavor and to feed them the best food and wine the palace had to offer. Well, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego decided they would not eat the king's food because it would defile them; but rather requested that they be allowed to eat vegetables and water while the other young men ate the king's food and wine. The king's servant overseeing their preparation was hesitant to do this because he was fearful they would become unhealthy while the others would look healthy. And for that, the king would have his head. Daniel persuaded him to give it a 10 day trial period. At the end of the trial period Daniel and the other three were looking healthier than they ones eating from the kings table.
I imagine that these four young men were teased and called foolish or crazy by their peers for turning down the generosity of the king. However, the bible says that Daniel "…purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…" In other words, he made a decision that he was going to obey the laws of God, his values and beliefs rather than please the king or his fellow Jews by going along with the program.
Instead of taking a stand to obey God, how many of us would have complained saying, "Well, why did God allow us to be attacked and taken captive? What good did it do for me to obey the laws of God in Jerusalem? I'm in Babylon now so I might as well go along to get along; I'll do as the Babylonians do, eat, drink and be merry. Because Daniel and his friends did not just give into this pressure, some amazing things happened:
Sisters, we have to be careful about being short-sighted. The consequences of responding negatively to peer pressure can be dire. 2 Peter 3:9 – "The Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance." In this particular verse the promise is that He will return to earth. But God honors all His promises. 2 Corinthians 1:20 reads, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." That includes Galatians 6:7 which reads, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
I'm closing now but first want to share with you six suggestions for dealing with adult peer pressure.
How To Deal With Adult Peer Pressure
1. Learn to know, accept and love yourself for who you really are. If you do not know who you are or learn to love yourself, you will die within and be a puppet and people pleaser all of your life.
2. Understand that you are uniquely designed by God. You have a right to like what you like according to your own genuine personality and interests without being made to feel pressure to become or get involved in something that's really not you; or that's displeasing to God or would wound someone emotionally, spiritually or physically.
3. Have confidence in what you believe in and the boldness to stand for what you genuinely believe in regardless of scornful words, gestures and rejection. Adults, even Christians, can be just as childish and ill-mannered as children.
4. Know that good advice and constructive criticism is a good thing. It is important, however, to distinguish between when it is good constructive advice and criticism as opposed to controlling, manipulative and destructive advice and criticism.
5. Finally, learn to filter "all" your decisions and behaviors through the prism of God's Word; then, obey God and leave the consequences to Him.
So, I leave you with an exhortation from Galatians 6:9: "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. In other words, "Do the right thing, not the popular thing."