A few months ago the boys and I discovered a show called Brain Games on Netflix. The series uses games, illusions and experiments to illustrate how our brains work. If you've never seen it, check it out, it's pretty fascinating.
So the other day we were watching an episode in which they took a group of people and asked them a multiple choice question. The first 9 people all pick answer A and then it gets to the last lady. You can tell she's conflicted, but eventually the group gets the best of her and she also chooses A.
Which by the way, was wrong. In an interview after, she said I thought the answer was actually C, but I didn't want to go against the group. This was not a teenager, or child, this was a grown woman who admitted she didn't want to be the one left out, the one making a different decision.
And if I'm being honest, I sat there for a minute thinking how ridiculous she was for doing so. She knew the answer, why did she care what the rest of the group was doing. Then, I was reminded of times where I've said something I wouldn't normally say or did something that I wouldn't normally do. Where I got caught up a little in what the group around me was doing and suddenly her choice didn't seem so ridiculous to me.
Thousands of years before Netflix and Brain Games, Paul knew this same struggle and cautions against it when he writes in Romans 12:2:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This verse has always been one I held onto, ever since I first read it on the wall of my sixth-grade private school classroom. Though I do have to admit, 12-year-old me thought the idea of peer pressure was just a young person thing.
While thankfully the pull of it may have lessened, I still find times where, just like the lady, I am tempted to go with the crowd. And I have to choose, will I follow the patterns of those around me or the one that Jesus has set for me?
To be fair, I blow it more often then I would like to admit, but praise God there is a new day and new chance to walk in His mercies. This transformation process Paul talks about is ongoing, it's a journey of being sanctified that God is walking us all through.
The good news is, the goal is not a perfect version of you and I, but rather a changing of our hearts and minds to be patterned after Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. And praise God He loves us through the entire process.