When most of us think of peer pressure, we relate it to the experience of children in school or the social interaction of teenagers in the more difficult stages of life.
This, of course, is a legitimate application of the expression “peer pressure” as one develops spiritually, socially, & mentally.
It is under such conditions that a person is exposed to many standards and norms that are contrary to one’s upbringing & home environment.
We are in error, however, to think that peer pressure begins and ends with childhood & the teenage years. Peer pressure is a lifetime experience.
We live in the real world. The real world is dominated by the influence of its god, Satan (2 Cor. 4:4).
God did not intend for us to live as a hermit (a lifestyle that I personally would enjoy) avoiding all contact with the real world (John 17:15), but rather to be a light therein (Matt.5: 14-16).
We are warned that especially when we are out in the real world that we are to “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).
“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33 NIV). In most cases we do not have much (if any) choice as to the individuals we must interact with in our employment or social settings.
However, whom we choose as close friends is a good indicator as to where we stand with our own relationship with God. We cannot play in the mud and avoid getting dirty.
One thing a child learns very early in life is that “going against the grain” will result in intense peer pressure & non-conformity will guarantee isolation and ridicule.
Children can be very cruel towards anyone who is different from them. The resulting ill treatment suffered in childhood via peer pressure can leave psychological scars that can last a lifetime.
In adulthood, the cruelty remains but it is manifested via more subtle means as such verbal abuse and overt acts can result in sanctions, at least in the areas where “politically correct” behavior is required.
Peer pressure is a very useful tool in the hands of Satan.
Satan is a master at the art of deception. Satan is wise enough never to approach a person with a proposal that would identify him as the source. Satan’s ultimate objective is the destruction of the spiritual life of a believer. If He and/or his objectives were obvious from the beginning, only a fool would entertain his ideas.
How many times has any one of us said, “If I had only known this was going to be the results……?”
Satan knows how to make use of peer pressure when the opportunity presents itself.
Our non-doctrinal family members & peers offer Satan such an opportunity.
The Bible is clear that a man’s spiritual enemies will be found in his personal periphery (Matt.10: 36/Psalms 41:9).
Any time someone expresses an idea, through ignorance or arrogance, that is contrary to Bible Doctrine he/she is a spokesperson for Satan.
In the post-salvation spiritual life, a Christian without Doctrine is like an airplane without wings. We wouldn’t consider boarding such an aircraft, yet we will let people without Doctrine influence us in spiritual matters.
One of the indicators that a person has attained a degree of spiritual maturity is that he couldn’t care less what the world has to say about him as long as he is pleasing God.
In the final analysis, peer pressure could be defined as the force applied by the majority to minority in order to produce their own likeness in others. For the Christian, the only likeness that we are to pursue is the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:2).
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.