1 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 time to roll out of bed and get ready. You look in your closet and pull out the shirt, pants, belt, socks, and shoes you’re sure your gang of friends will wear. You scurry into the bathroom. There you spray two cans of mousse into your hair before parting it just above your left ear and raking it all over to the other side of your head. You glance in the mirror. Perfect. But as you sprint for the school bus another thought shoots through your brain: Why am I dressed this way? I look stupid!
Maybe your parents still pick most of your clothes. If not, you probably dress the way you do because of your peers—that crowd of youth your age who make up your everyday world. Have you ever noticed that they’re the same people who try to tell you what words to use, who to hang out with, and what attitudes to hold?
Talk about this and take a guess: Back in the 1950s, what do you think were the biggest influences in a young person’s life? And what are the biggest influences now?
Back in the 1950s, youth took their cues from parents. Next came teachers, then peers. Nowadays peers rank first, followed by parents and then media like music, TV, radio, and the whole on-line world. It’s not that peer pressure didn’t exist when people like your grandparents were kids. But it wasn’t so intense.
You might have great friends who push you toward God’s best. But if your peers are pushing you the wrong way, you want to take some of the pressure out of those peer relationships.
Know it or not, your big job is to get a handle on God’s deep love for you. Peer pressure is powerful because you and every human being alive has a built-in, God-given need to be loved and accepted. God plans to be the first to meet that need for you, because without being certain of his love for you as his chosen child, you’ll try hard—too hard—to fit in with your friends. The more unsure you are of God’s love, the more sure it is that you’ll be swayed by the opinions of your friends.
Feeling accepted by friends is important.
But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, accepts you totally. Make his opinion of you the one that matters!
TALK: How has pressure from your peers shaped your life this week? Are you okay with that? Is God?
PRAY: God, thanks for accepting us always. Help us grow more and more certain of your deep love for us.
ACT: You might feel driven today to act in a wrong way that wins the acceptance of your peers. That’s the time to tell God thanks for accepting you totally.