Thank you Lord, for giving me the strength to come through with this. Written with heavy bags underneath my eyes, the lid, never quite fully opened.
Ever been in situations, where the muscles contracts incessantly around your heart arteries, and suffocation feels an eventual inevitability? Or perhaps, where your breath flow is arduous and it becomes a thought-out process? A coercive undertaking. The same can be said of pressure, peer pressure to be exact, as it builds up, it could escalate into something more dreadful, if not curtailed. The most prevalent type of it in our society, is the negative one – the pressure of acting in a certain way to fit in, doing things contradictory to your convictions and believes. It could be; someone buying a merc, that’ll be almost unaffordable to maintain, just because some friends or groupies have one; or aiming for an ultra thin figure, coerced by the media et al.
It doesn’t though, come as an astonishment, that most pressured into doing certain things, are ones with moral perspectives. For a Christian teen and adults likewise, the morality stance is high and hence the equivalent increase in pressure. Pressure to accept false and sinful notions as a validated norm e.g homosexuality, it’s a sin, but it’s now been sugarcoated and twisted into an acceptable thing in God’s eye, by some Christians as well; don’t get me wrong here – I don’t hate the person, the sin is what should be hated; the bible says to flee away from sin, and is the bible not the word of God? In James 4:7, it says “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Not yielding to pressure of drugs, porn, alcohol, lust etc. Taking a stance for what’s biblically and morally right on earth, means, standing for God epitomising His grace and word.
Proverbs 1:10 “My son if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” It clearly states, do not consent to the pressure of peers, just to fit into a clique or fraternity; the false perception of being tagged weird, becomes a weight around your neck, but at what cost, would you live according to the world’s standard, rather than God’s? 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of this world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
This detrimental pressure is often amplified by varied means.
- Rejection – the fear of being the castaway, the threat to an end if a relationship, when you don’t assimilate with the clique. But so what… Jesus Christ was rejected, time and time again, wasn’t He?
- Reasoning – there’s always a logical explanation for antithetical actions, “oh everyone does it, so why not,” influenced by carnal opinions; “sex outside of marriage is okay, you can use protection,” “smoking is alright it keeps you warm and calm.” What a load of baloney, never ever fall for that; that’s why we seek wise counsel, a God fearing individual, to uphold and encourage our faith.
- Insult – the most ubiquitous tool used in peer pressure. Often hurled to demoralise and weaken a person, till they eventually cave in. I remember back in the boarding school I attended, there was a strict rule against scaling the school bricked-fence, to go into the quite often dangerous towns surrounding it; the punishments were severe (e.g lashes that could pierce into your very soul). But that didn’t stop me from breaking the rule, once my fellow mates, resulted to calling me names e.g “wimp” for not trying and “double-daring” me. I eventually did it, and as for the concomitant ramifications? Well that’s a story for another time. What am I trying to say? If your confidence in the Lord is not firm enough, you would commit acts, you otherwise wouldn’t have, even when insults are labeled against you.
Don’t deny Christ with your words and actions by swaying to the winds of pressure. When we die, we would die alone and face judgement alone, peers won’t be there to face it for us. It’ll be a solitary occurrence. A Christian teen or any other age for that matter, should seek advice and encouragement from those diligently living and aligning their lives according to God’s law; reading the word of God and praying without ceasing, is crucial to gaining righteous wisdom and not caving into any form of negative pressure.
Despite the pervasive negative pressure, that seems to thrive, there’s a different sort of pressure, that’s positive and righteous. The pressure to grow and seek God, from fellow saved Christians, praying and fasting; volunteering at productive clubs, hard work with studies et al. But the negative one’s become the norm in society.
When in an adverse pressurised situation, think on it, why try fitting in? The vanity is fleeting, like the breath we breathe it’s temporal; as Christians with the ultimate goal of heaven, we ought only to live by Christ example and not the world’s. There were life threatening pressures on the apostles of Jesus, but that didn’t stop them from acting out their convictions and spreading the good news. Do not care for the vain things of this world, that are superficial.
If you’re someone, who blends in comfortable with the crowd and unsaved cliques, and your life doesn’t influence them, but rather they influence you, then what does that say about you? Psalms 1:1-2 “blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and his law doth he meditate day and night.” Jesus wasn’t influenced by the sinners, despite spending time with them; follow His example. Acts 5:29 “then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.”
A prime example of swaying to pressure and crumbling, was that of Pontius Pilate, who with the knowledge that Jesus was innocent, yielded to the crowd, baying for His death. A recent example, was the London riot that occurred a few years back, where thieves took matter into their hands and robbed stores; there were individuals that had probably never stolen before, that got caught up in the mob frenzied mentality, yielding to the pressure to loot.
Would you turn your back on Jesus Christ and go with the crowd? Or be a true disciple of Him and let His light shine through you, by following and persevering through righteousness. Romans 12:2 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”