Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:4-9
Learn to be wise, and develop good judgment. Proverbs 4:5
“IF A LOT of your friends are having premarital sex and talking about it,” one girl explained, “your conscience kind of goes to sleep, and it’s tough to keep feeling sex before marriage is wrong. After a while you begin to feel the pressure. The girls make you feel you aren’t very attractive and aren’t worth much, and the guys make you feel like a wimp because you’re not experienced like the others. After so much of that from the crowd, you say, ‘What the heck,’ and do it!”
That’s sharp insight-and it shows why you need to be careful who you hang out with. It’s no huge news that the wrong kind of friends can pull you into wrong behavior that can alienate you from your parents and Christian friends. And alienation leads to painful loneliness.
Many students today want nothing more than approval from someone. If they don’t get it from their parents, they seek it from their peers. It takes wisdom to choose friends who will exert good pressure-a push to help you grow rather than rip you up.
Believe it or not, the apostle Paul recognized the crush of peers a couple thousand years ago. He said to the Christians in Corinth, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people” (1 Corinthians 5:9, NASB). When you hang out with immoral people, you often become immoral yourself.
Of course, peer pressure doesn’t always have to be negative. If people in the group want to do what is right, you can get great help living a righteous life. As one guy said, “I know my friends have a great influence on who 1 am and also on what my values are.”
It all comes down to what friends you choose. Those words you read from the Old Testament book of Proverbs contain timeless wisdom on the worth of being with like-minded people and the danger of being caught in the wrong crowd.
You can spot two vital guidelines to help you choose your friends:
First, purposely avoid close contact with people who don’t share your basic values about how to live, regardless of how appealing those people are.
Second, don’t ever let yourself forget the importance of selecting the right people to be with. Keep on aiming at friendships with people who share your values and convictions.
Like it or not, you tend to become like the people you hang out with. So ask God for the wisdom to hang out with the kind of people you want to be like.
REFLECT: Who do you turn to for approval? How are they shaping the person you are becoming?
PRAY: Ask God for wisdom as you choose your friends.