Here, we shall study some Bible characters who had experiences of peer pressure; their response to it and the effects of their response. Thereafter, we shall do a summary of the lessons learnt from the Scriptures as regards peer pressure.

Esther (Esther 2:13-17): According to the passage, Esther was preparing for a contest organised by the king She was to compete with other ladies who took time to make requests for accessories that could make them look beautiful. For Esther, she decided to remain herself and showcase her natural beauty. The Bible says,”….she requested nothing but what Haggai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised…..”(Esther 2:15) She did not yield herself to the pressure of requesting the other ladies to beautify herself. She chose not to succumb.

The Bible then recorded how Esther found favour in the sight of those who saw her and how the king loved her more than others and made her his queen. Yes, one may want to say that she received grace but Grace sometimes needs an atmosphere to operate. Some excesses need to be cut off if we will enjoy God’s grace.

Daniel and the Three Hebrew Men (Daniel 1:8-15): Daniel and his friends were to decide whether or not to eat the king’s delicacy. They knew it was wrong for them to eat it at the Israelites, though they were not the only Israelites in that situation. While others were eating the king’s food, Daniel and his friends decided not to. As much as they knew the God they served, it is possible for them to still ask questions about whether it is right for them to eat such food or not. In the end, they took the decision not to succumb to the pressure and the Bible recorded how they looked ten times better nourished than their peers.

Mordecai (Esther 3:2; 10:3): Mordecai found himself in a state whereby he was to bow before Haman to pay obeisance to him but he did not yield to report him to Haman. We once did the study of why Mordecai did not bow to Haman. It was not our problem with how Haman carried himself to be to him, he was going against God’s law of not being pressured to do the wrong thing, He decided his people but God came through for him and he became the second in command to the King (Esther10:3).

Noah (Noah 6:7-8): The Bible recorded how Noah found favour in the sight of God and how God decided to save Noah and his family. Firstly, it is important we know that something was wrong that other people in the time of Noah did but Noah’sattitude attracted God. After God told him to build the ark, Noah built the ark for about 100 years(Genesis 5:32; 7:6). During this period, he did not change or join others to do wrong. We must come to the conclusion that while others are doing wrong and the pressure to join them may be very high, we must never join them. Eventually, Noah was saved with his family members but all other people perished (Genesis 7:23).

Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13:27-30; 14:6,9,22-24): When some men were asked to spy out the land of Canaan, the reply of Joshua and Caleb was different from the report others who went to spy out the land gave. Despite what they saw, they gave their report from the standpoint of the victory God had given them. Even though those who came with negative comments were more than them, they did not give in to the pressure of saying what those men said. The Bible recorded that only the two of them from their generation got to the Promised Land(Numbers 32:11-12).

The Bible also states in many instances how we should not conform to the pattern of this world(Romans 12:2; Proverbs 1:10; 1 John 2:15-16; Revelations 18:4; Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 7:13-14).

God has not created us to live alone, He created people too so that we can all relate with one another as we fulfil His mandate for our life(Genesis 2:18). But as good as it is to relate with people and as much as God wants us to do so, He has also allowed us to choose the kind of people we want to relate with. He has allowed us to either choose life (right sets of people) or choose death (wrong groups of people). The ball is in our court to choose rightly(Deuteronomy 30:15,19).

Managing and Overcoming Peer Pressure(Proverbs 1:10)

Managing and overcoming peer pressure is something we should do if we truly want to live as apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ in this contemporary world. When we overcome peer pressure, we will be able to shine the light of Christ we ought without any influence of what people will say or do. Overcoming peer pressures will help us to confidently live the life of Christ anywhere we go.

Measures of Overcoming Peer Pressure

Know your identity as a child of God. Be sure you are a child of God. Have an assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus because it is the prerequisite to becoming a child of God. Some people suffer from peer pressure because they want to identify with their peers. Thus, it is important to know who we are as children of God and remind ourselves that we have been given the power to dominate our world and have authority over all things (John 1:12; Mark16:17-20). When we understand our stance as children of God, we will not be tossed here and thereby under peer pressure.

Identify where the pressure is coming from. When the reason or the root of a problem is known, one is one step closer to finding a solution to such a problem. Try and take time out of your busy schedule to note where the pressure is coming from and cut the root of the pressure.

Know the plans and purpose for which God has created you by seeking His face and then walk in alignment with it (Jeremiah 29:11): Anyone who knows his life’s purpose (what to do and what not have to do) will not succumb to peer pressure. Such a person will try to avoid at all costs anything that could hinder him from fulfilling that purpose. (2Timothy 2:3-4). A purpose-driven life will do anything possible not to be weighed down by peer pressure. One who has discovered his or her purpose can be of help to others

Claim and walk in the reality of the fulfilment of God’s promises in your life. The Bible is filled with different promises of God for His children. Claiming and walking in the reality of promises does not only come by merely reading the Word of God, studying and meditating on it also go a long way. By doing this, it will be easy for us to walk in the reality of God’s promise for our lives.

Take out time to discover who you are; your weaknesses and strengths and work towards becoming a better person. Learn to accept who you are and be determined to become a better person by doing all things possible to get better Do not make anyone your model except Jesus Christ. Do not let your aim be “I want to change and become like…..”, let your decision be “I want to change and become a better version of who I was yesterday”. True competition is competition against oneself.

Be satisfied with who you are and what you have. Some people fall victim to peer pressure because they are not satisfied with who they are and what they have. As much as it is good to get better, one must be satisfied with who one is and what one has. This will enable you to take the right steps in becoming a better person.

Be ready to suffer for the sake of Christ. Jesus Christ made us know that we will suffer for the sake of the Gospel (John 16: 1-2) and He also gave the assurance of victory (John 16:33). Some Christian youths fall victim to negative pressure and peer influence because they do not want to suffer. It is important we know that as much as life in Christ is beautiful, there will certainly be times of tribulations and our response at such times will show who we are.

Change those in your circle of friends. Overcoming peer pressure might entail changing those in our circle of friends. Be ready to let go of people who are capable of negatively influencing you and make friends with those who could help you grow in life.

Talk to a mature Christian about it: If you are experiencing peer pressure, talk to a mature Christian, someone who can help you. Be free to mingle with other believers in your local church so that they can help you grow. Do not be ashamed of sharing your burdens with other trusted children of God. This will help make the journey of life easy and more rewarding(Ecclesiastes 4:9).

In conclusion, God loves us so much and He has great plans for us but the devil never stops to seize any available opportunity to ensure we do not fulfil God’s purpose for our lives. We have a choice either to yield or not. Let us work with God as He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure(Philippians 2:13). You can read further here.

Prepared by: Miss Gloria BamigbadeMechanical Engineering Department (200L)