“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” — 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, NIV
When people come together, they can be very powerful. This can be a good and helpful thing. Unfortunately, people do not always make the best choices, and sometimes this can cause other people to follow along or stumble.
People’s expectations or desires for us can cause us to confirm to the behavior that we think will help us look better in the eyes of others. This phenomenon is known as peer pressure.
The most common perception of peer pressure may be with children or teens or in a classroom setting. However, adults also face peer pressure and the longing for acceptance.1
As believers, it is important for us to check our hearts when those around us are trying to push us into situations that are compromising to our integrity. Are we honoring God with our actions or simply following others? Are we growing spiritually or moving further off track?
What Does the Bible Say About Peer Pressure?
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” — 1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV
It is important when we are facing any type of temptation or trial, we turn to the Bible to examine what God says about it. So, what does the Bible say about peer pressure?
Avoiding Peer Pressure and Sin
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” — Proverbs 4:14-15, NIV
The Bible warns us not to get caught “in the way of evildoers” (Proverbs 4:14-15). Peer pressure can sometimes lead us to ungodly actions or sinning. For example, we may be tempted to partake in activities that go against our morals or treat others unkindly because other expect or want us to.
Ephesians 5:11 says “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” We are called turn away from sin and darkness. It does not matter how appealing it seems or how much others want us to partake. At times, we may have to remove ourselves from the situation, if possible, to avoid peer pressure. We can choose to be different and follow the ways of righteousness instead of sin.
Pleasing God, Not Man
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 1:10, NIV
Often when we fall into peer pressure, it is due to our desire for acceptance or approval from others. Perhaps, it could be approval from a family member, friend, classmate or coworker. It could also stem from a desire to fit in with a particular group of people. It is no easy task to go against the crowd.
When we are put into a situation where we are thinking of giving in with the will of others, it is important that we examine whose approval we are living for. As Christians, we should strive to honor God above all else. At times this could mean that we must go against what others want from us. However, we are not living for human beings but Jesus Christ and that is much more valuable and worthwhile than any type of earthly approval.
Standing Strong Against Temptation
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” — James 1:12, NIV
When temptation comes our way, whether it be peer pressure or otherwise, we can stand firm in our faith and beliefs. Peer pressure is powerful because we are not only fighting against our own worldly desires but the wishes of others around us.
Battling temptation is never easy but we can turn to Jesus in the hardest moments. We are never without hope.
Finding Supportive Community
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” — Galatians 6:2, NIV
Peer pressure may often have a negative connotation, but it does not always have to be a bad thing. Peer pressure has to do a lot with who’s opinion we value and who we surround ourselves with. If we have a good supportive community around us, these people will push us toward growth.
A good person or group can change our perspective. Instead of encouraging us to break our boundaries, they will encourage us to keep them. Instead of prompting us to treat others negatively, they will show us how to treat others with kindness. Rather than forming unhealthy habits, we are encouraged to make new good ones.
People have power. That’s why it is so important to find a supportive community of like-minded people.
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1 Retrieved from The Villa Treatment Center, Adults Suffer Peer Pressure Too in June 2022.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.