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Come With Us: Thinking About Peer Pressure

Something We Are Familiar With

Peer pressure is nothing new for us. How often has it been discussed throughout your life? For me, it was mentioned in Sunday school as a child, in co-op as a teen, and even as part of the training I received in the Navy. It is not without good reason that peer pressure is talked about. Peer pressure is an extremely powerful force. If you are over a certain age, you can likely look back at a large number of events in your life and point to things you would probably have never done without the influence of the people around you. After all, you will never start smoking if you have never heard of it. This is such an important topic that it is a crucial subject in Proverbs.

Do Not Be Enticed

Proverbs 1:10-19 deals with the dangers of peer pressure. It starts by saying, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Proverbs 10:10, ESV) Now, it would be easy to simply dig into the passage and pile on about the dangers of peer pressure. But I think we get a little off track when we only ever talk about the dangers of peer pressure. The way that Proverbs talks about the dangers illustrates is an important part. It talks about being enticed by sinners, which opens the door to discussing the importance of good peer pressure. The way of sinners leads to destruction, or to use the words of Proverbs, “they set an ambush for their own lives” (Proverbs 1:18). So what about the opposite? If "bad company ruins good morals," then it is implied that good company reinforces good morals.

The Positives of Peer Pressure

The idea that peer pressure can be positive is almost utterly foreign to us. I think this is partly because we never hear it talked about that way. Peer pressure rightly gets a lot of negative press, but I want us to think about it more holistically. As I mentioned above, the peer pressure or influence of sinners is a dangerous thing. This is why it is so important to have positive influences. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This illustrates the importance of how we contribute to peer pressure. Are you a positive influence on the people around you? Do you consider how you can encourage the people around you to good works? If not, then perhaps you are the negative influence that so many warnings are given about.

Be The Positive Influence

One of the reasons for the church is to be a part of a group of people who are constantly encouraging one another. The more we are involved and seeking the good of others, the more motivated we are to do good things. But this has to start somewhere. It has to start with you and me. If we want to have positive peer pressure, and to be positive peer pressure, then we need to activly seek the good of the people around us. It does not matter how old you are. The theme verse for our Wednesday night is 1 Timothy 4:12. It says, “Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” This list is the things we need to constantly seek. How we act and how we treat one another teaches them how to talk to us.

One Or The Other

The reality of things is that we can never be a neutral example to people. We are either a positive one or a negative one. Honestly, we will always be a mixture of both. This is why we have to be watchful. If we are not careful, we will end up being more of the negative influence that Proverbs warns about. If we are going to be faithful to Christ, we have to look at our lives and look for the log in our own eyes. What are the areas in which we are being a negative influence? If we are going to warn people about negative influences, then we need to not be one of them. So be watchful about who you allow to be an influence in your life, but just as important, be a positive influence on the people around you.

Soli Deo Gloria

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