Young people tempted by strong peer pressure
Young people have much to offer - enthusiasm, lots of questions, even positive, outstanding behaviour. But some young people are tempted by strong peer pressure to depart from godly values, and defile themselves by becoming involved in drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual activities, worldly music, and other unhealthy activities they would normally avoid.
They are experiencing pressure from the world around them to change all sorts of things about themselves - their location, education, and identity – just as Daniel and his friends were forced to: ‘Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel . . . whom they. might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans . . . To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Mesach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.’ Dan. 1. 3, 4, 7 NKJV.
However, amidst such major changes, Daniel and his friends remained steadfast in their values and their faith in an unchanging God. We thank God .for the many young people today who maintain a godly character inspite of great pressure to change for the worse. If you are struggling with peer pressure, and are asking yourself how to prevent this pitfall, we offer the following suggestions, hoping that they might prove helpful:
To prevent the pitfall of peer pressures take these seven steps:
- If you have not already done so, ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Saviour. Believing leads to belonging.
- Rely on and abide in Christ through reading the Bible, praying and fellowshipping with Christians. Relationship with Christ should lead to a consistent walk with Him and His people.
- Resist fleshly gratifications and be aware of the consequences of yielding to temptations. ‘Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself’ Dan. 1. 8. Potiphar’s wife attempted to entice Joseph to lie with her, but he refused to do so and replied, ‘How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen. 39. 9. Sometimes you have to run from the temptation, even as Joseph did. When pressured by that woman, he ‘. . . left his garment in her hand, and fled’. Gen. 39. 12. There are times when you can’t run from the temptation, but you can resist it by looking to God for help.
- Refrain from foul language, and select good friends, Prov. 14. 3; 27. 6, 9.
- Refuse to conform to negative behaviour to gain acceptance, affection or attention. You are already loved and accepted in Christ, Eph. 1. 6.
- Maintain your beliefs and values and always try to do what is right, even when you are told, ‘If it feels good do it.’ If you are feeling guilty because of past behaviour, confess it to the Lord Jesus, and He will forgive you, 1 John 1. 9. If you are caught in a pattern of bad habits or even an addiction, seek Christian counselling.
- Rest confidently in God. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’, Prov. 3. 5-6. Lastly, remember you can never go wrong by doing what is right.
Used with permission from Grace and Truth Magazine. Jan 2008.