If you were to describe the atmosphere of your school or workplace, what words come to mind? Now, how many of these attributes are characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven?
This tension between our beliefs and the culture in which we live constitutes peer pressure. We know there is a way that is right, that brings about life, and we know it is only found in Jesus Christ. Yet all around us is a way of thinking that brings about destruction, because it wants to have all the good things of God–prosperity, satisfaction, meaning, peace, knowledge, deep relationships, fulfillment, purpose and health–yet ultimately it wants to bypass God Himself. And like George MacDonald said, “All that is not God is death.”
”Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” says Romans 12:2.
The relentless need to “fit in” is the pressure to conform to the pattern of this world–to adopt the way the world thinks and acts. James 4:4 states that if you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
Sin starts with a lie. Every time we choose to believe a lie we come into agreement with the devil. What is the lie we believe when we buckle under peer pressure, or succumb to conformity? It is “Christ isn’t worth the price I’m going to pay by not fitting in.”
Conforming to the pattern of this world can be as subtle as laughing at a story told by a classmate or coworker that doesn’t glorify Jesus Christ. It is as quick and deadly as partaking in gossip simply by listening. It is also choosing unbelief rather than risking another disappointment.
Why does the world want us to conform to its pattern? Why does our enemy pressure us to cave? Because conformity cuts us off from God’s voice, from His life-giving power. Submission to peer pressure neutralizes us and makes us ineffective for the Kingdom of Heaven.
God doesn’t want you to muddle through your years of high school or college and hopefully keep your faith intact. He wants you to turn your school on its head! He wants to establish His kingdom where you are! He wants to bring healing and deliverance to people who are in physical and emotional and spiritual bondage.
What is the antidote for conformity, for peer pressure? Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We will explore what transformation by the renewal of the mind looks like in Part 2 of this post.
In what area of your life are you most vulnerable to peer pressure?