Bible Reading: Romans 15:5-7
Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you. Romans 15:7
SCHOOL STARTS in ten minutes, so you figure it’s about time to roll out of bed and get ready. You look in your closet and pull out a black shirt, black pants and belt, black socks, and black shoes. You take one glance in the mirror. Perfect. As you race through the kitchen, you bump into Mom. She takes one look at you and screams. Near hysteria, she rants about the way you look.
Undisturbed-you’ve been through this many times before-you tell her, “Mom, this is how all my friends dress.” As you jump into the car you ask yourself, Why am I dressed this way? It’s the dumbest look I’ve ever worn!
Why do you wear what you wear? Probably because of your peers-the same people who try to dictate the words you use, the people you associate with, the places you go, and the attitudes you hold. Peers press you to conform to their standards even if you don’t want to. Depending on where your friends are coming from, peer pressure can either help you or hurt you.
In the 1960s, the most powerful influence in a teen’s life was his parents, followed by teachers and then peers. But ever since the 1980s, peer pressure ranks first, followed by parents, and then the media. It’s not like peer pressure didn’t exist when your parents were kids, but the intensity wasn’t the same. Your dad being pressured to smoke a cigarette out in the school parking lot is nothing compared to the pressure on you to smoke crack. Nor can your mom’s one experience with her boyfriend wanting to take her “parking” compare to the pressure you get to go all the way because it’s supposedly what everybody does today. Because the intensity levels are light-years apart, some parents find the peer pressure you face hard to understand.
Peer pressure is so powerful because every single person on earth has a God-given need to be loved and accepted. God wants to fulfill this drive first in your love relationship with him. He wants you to be secure in how much he loves and accepts you as his chosen child. He knows that if you aren’t secure in him, you will look to friends for acceptance. The greater your insecurity, the greater your need for acceptance, and the more the opinions of your friends matter. For some, a friend’s opinion becomes the driving force of life.
Christ accepts you totally. Romans 15:7 confirms it. The more you experience his acceptance, the less you will need your friends’ opinions to help you feel accepted.
REFLECT: How has pressure from your peers shaped your life this week? Are you okay with that? Is God?
PRAY: Thank God today for his unconditional acceptance and ask him to increase your awareness of his deep love for you.