First, it’s helpful to know that facing our fears and saying no to peer pressure can be done. Many people have dealt with situations that are worse than anything we may ever face. In the Bible, Daniel dealt with a lot of peer pressure because he worshipped God. This got him in trouble, and he was thrown into a den of lions. But he was protected. In fact, the Bible tells us, “Daniel prospered” (Dan. 6:28).
Although our situations may not be as bad as Daniel’s, they are still problems. As teenagers, we face a lot of peer pressure: our peers try to make us take drugs, have sex, skip class. So, how do we react? Often the situations that come up seem like the cool thing to do, and there’s a lot of pressure to be cool. What if a so-called “friend” puts the pressure on us to skip class, and we say, “No”? He or she might just say, “Oh, come on. It’s only once.” Is it that big of a deal if we do something just once? But “just once” usually isn’t. It usually leads to a lot more times. Although “no” may be easy to pronounce, it really is quite hard to say when you actually come to face the problem. But the right thing to do is to say, “No.” And if that person won’t let “no” be our answer, then that person isn’t being a real friend. It’s important to know who our real friends are, and we may need to ask ourselves what makes a good friend.
We also have to be prepared to face any situation by knowing what’s right. If something is wrong, we have to know deeply the reason “no” is the answer. Once we have given the answer, “no,” we stand firm, unwilling to be changed, no matter how difficult or fearful the situation might be. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and strength to say, “No.” The courage to say “no” comes from God and from trusting totally in God. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were being pressured into worshiping the statue the king had made, they wouldn’t, even though they knew the consequence was death. When King Nebuchadnezzar asked them about it, they told him to his face that they wouldn’t worship it. So, the king had them thrown into the fiery furnace. This problem did not stop them from believing in God, though. Like Daniel, they knew God would save them. They came out of the furnace without any burns or ashes or even “the smell of fire” on them (Dan. 3:27). After that, they were even promoted.
The men who went into the fiery furnace and into the lions’ den had such a great understanding and faith in God that that was all they needed. They did not need to worship someone or something else to become “cool.” They just prayed to God, and God kept them safe. He also made their lives better. Although it may be hard, saying “no” to the wrong things is the right answer. In our lives, we should not have to do something wrong just to feel good about ourselves. We should do the right thing because we know it is right. And doing what’s right is really what makes us feel good about ourselves.