The movie, The Lone Ranger, is about a country-born, city-educated lawyer who has horrible experience and is salvaged by a Comanche Indian. Together, this unlikely ‘dynamic duo’ fight against together against greed and corruption. They stand alone against the pressures of their society.
I remember a time in high school when I faced tremendous pressure to bad talk my soccer coach. Everyone was giving him a hard time and he got fired. Then next season we all were asked to say something at a pep assembly about the new year & I talked about how much better our new coach was. I forgot that our old coach got married to one of the teachers over the summer and she was standing 10 feet from me. Boy was I embarrassed. I liked our old coach but gave in to the pressure to do wrong.
I’ve discovered many Christians face similar situations. We want to behave in a situation a certain way, but the pressure we feel molds us to react far different than what we want.
How should we handle the ‘peer pressure’ of society? What do we do? We’re going to look at a very similar situation in Daniel 3. Three young men, when faced with the strongest kind of peer pressure, maintained their convictions. Instead of losing their positions and futures, they were actually promoted by God to a higher position. 3 proven ways to resist peer pressure?
Realize that the non-Christians way of thinking and acting is against God and will not work.
Nebuchadnezzar got the ‘bright’ idea to build the biggest idol in the world. Not just a head of gold (ch. 2), but ALL gold. This idol is worth worshiping and he assembles a huge orchestra and calls on all government leaders to worship or face death. But God had said not to worship any other god but God and not to make any idol to worship. 3 Hebrews had already decided not to eat the King’s food (ch. 1) and prayed with Daniel until he interpreted the dream (ch. 2). This was not their first test, but it was their hardest. Nobody wants to stand out in a large crowd but a decision had to be made. Am I going bow or burn?
The landscape of America is changing. The public policy of our country has long mirrored the Christian worldview, but no longer. We find ourselves on the losing side of many of culture wars: Same-sex marriage, Abortion, Legalization of marijuana, Gambling. Should we throw up our hands and say, “If society wants it, then let them have it! I’m tired of fighting!” Or should we stand because our children and grandchildren are in the balance. We are to stand and fight, wherever we are, against the evils of our society.
God calls the non-Christian way of thinking ‘worldly.’ What does ‘worldly’ mean? 1 John 2:15-17. Lust of the flesh (body more important than God) examples: Misuse of sex, booze, drugs, laziness, overeating, etc. Lust of the eyes (having things more important than God) examples: money, clothes, cars, things. Pride of life (I’m more important than God) examples: using people, sports, health, good looks.
Courage. The devil has an idol he wants you to bow down to. It may be popularity, materialism, pride, seflishness, acceptance, sensuality. Are you bowing to these idols?
Be prepared to be misunderstood, disliked and unwelcomed by others for living the true Christian life.
Think how tough they had it. Other Jews were there; they bowed. I’m sure they felt the pressure to give in. “Everybody else is doing it. Must I be the oddball?” They could have compromised: We’ll fall down, but not actually worship the idol. We’ll worship just this once, then ask God to forgive. We’re not hurting anyone. If we get ourselves killed, pagans will take our positions and won’t help our people. It’s not easy to stand when everyone is against you.
Ultimately, we must make a decision about our social standing. We must decide whether God is to be our God, or social acceptance is to be our god. The Bible teaches us that if we live the dynamic Christian life, we can expect to be rejected in some way by those who resent Christ – 2 Timothy 3:12; John 17:14-15. When people reject us for our walk with God, they are really rejecting Jesus (John 15:19-20). We can be happy when we are rejected by others because of Christ – Matthew 5:10-12.
See people from God’s point of view
Their response to Nebuchadnezzar revealed that they did not fear him. Maybe he was an intimidating figure to everyone else, but these young men had already yielded to another greater figure. And they saw him as he really was.
When we see people the way God does, we are not as apt to fear them and get our life’s priorities all turned around – Prov. 29:25. People are small and weak in God’s eyes (Is. 40:15-17). People are loved in God’s eyes (Matt. 9:36). People are seen eternal in God’s eyes (James 4:14).
Your life in a non-Christian society places tremendous pressure on you to conform to a non-Christian lifestyle. Not yielding to peer pressure is one of the biggest tasks you will face. God, however, in His Word, shows you how you can be victorious in dealing with this pressure. He wants you to realize that His type of lifestyle is the only one worth living. It’s His desire that you be willing to face any amount of rejection for knowing Him.
God promises you great joy and fulfillment in your relationships when you see and react to society the way He would. The decision you must make is whether you will be influenced by your non-Christian peers or by your brothers and sisters in Christ. God is not against peer pressure. He just wants you to get the right type of pressure from His type of people. That is why it is so important that you develop close relationships with other Christians.
When you are around other Christians who are walking with God, you can be encouraged to show love to all people – not just to those who will move you up the social ladder. You can also be encouraged to reach out to people who don’t know Christ. It is important that you spend time with other people. But God wants you to spend large portions of your time with the king of people who will help you become more like Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
People can be like seagulls! On vacation I sat on the beach and watched one. He was free – thrust out his wings backward with powerful strokes, climbing higher and higher until he’s above all the other gulls, then coasts downward in majestic loops and circles. He constantly performs, as if he knows a movie camera is trained on him, recording. IN a flock, though, the seagull is a different bird – all the in-fighting and cruelty. Watch the same gull as he dive-bombs into a group of gulls, provoking a flurry of scattered feathers and angry squawks to steal a tiny morsel of meat or potato chips. The concepts of sharing and manners do not exist. They are so fiercely competitive and jealous that if you tie a red ribbon around the leg of one gull, making him stand out, you sentence him to execution. The others in the flock will furiously attack him with claws and beaks, hammering through feathers and flesh to draw blood. They’ll continue until he lies flattened in a bloody heap.
What has helped you stand against peer pressure?
What peer pressure do you or your family feel today?