I want each of you to know I’m thinking about you as you begin yet another new school year. My prayer is that you stretch yourselves academically, socially and spiritually so you’ll be able to say this was your best year YET! I have confidence in you and am excited about how God will use you to influence your friends, peers and even teachers throughout the school year!
However, I also know how hard it can be to resist temptation, so this is a great time to talk about ways to overcome negative peer pressure. Here are a few tips that may help:
- Remember who you are and whose you are! You’re on assignment every day, which means you have a specific purpose! God expects every believer to be a leader by behaving in a Godly manner. When you show others God through love, forgiveness and doing what’s right, then they’ll want to know more about God too!
Remember, what you do is more of a testimony about God than your words because people have a tendency to believe what they see more than what they hear. When you know how special you are to God and how much He depends on you to further His Kingdom, then it becomes a higher priority to do what’s right.
- Renew your commitment daily. Renew your promise daily to be a leader and not a follower. God says that “The tongue can bring death or life” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT), so speak your commitment to being a leader. Take some time each day to write and read positive verbal affirmations to remind yourself how special you are.
- Pray and speak Scripture. No matter how much we love God and how dedicated we are to Him, temptation WILL come. In fact, the more you try to do what’s right, the more Satan will try to distract you. Therefore, it’s important to pray and speak Scripture. When you’re being tempted by peer pressure, begin to pray immediately and ask The Holy Spirit for guidance. I’d also recommend having Scripture handy that you can pull out when things seem particularly difficult. This will help you stay on course.
- Encourage and love others. When people see the God in you through your actions, many will begin to respect you and will stop trying to pressure you into doing ungodly things. The key is being consistent and loving. If we constantly “preach,” sometimes that makes people scornful and unfortunately, they may desire to see you fall. But if you consistently show love, most people will respect you for it and will stop bothering you about doing things they know aren’t in alignment with your lifestyle.
- Choose your friends wisely! If your friends frequently are doing things you know aren’t right, it’s best to limit the amount of time you spend around them. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to fit in and will eventually succumb to peer pressure.
- Remember that it’s okay to exit! If your peers are doing something that you’re uncomfortable with or isn’t Godly, then LEAVE. The Bible says to flee from such situations. God tells us this because He knows how vulnerable we can be and wants to save us from falling prey to peer pressure. No matter how strong you think you are, don’t put yourself in a position to succumb to negative peer pressure.
Remember that God has already given you everything you need to succeed in life. We all mess up, and it’s okay as long as we learn from it and make changes the next time. Remember, God is counting on YOU!
What are some things you do to resist peer pressure?