by Pastor Tim Burt
Is your life a product of the attitude, Well everyone else is doing it, why can’t I? That attitude has been the demise of the Christian church today! Any parent of a teen has heard this justification of reasoning. But what about you? To what degree have you unknowingly become its victim? Peer pressure is real and surrounds each and every one of our lives in more ways than we care to admit.
Ted and Susie are in love. Their best friends Jack and Mary are in love, engaged, and planning their wedding. It has influenced Ted and Susie to think harder about getting married. No one is putting pressure on them, yet just the events leading up to Jack and Mary’s wedding is making them think more about it.
Bill and Sandy spend a great deal of time with their best friends Perry and Angela. Perry and Angela's new little baby girl Kristine now goes everywhere with the foursome. In some ways, Bill and Sandy fill like an aunt and uncle. Just being around this new beautiful little girl has begun to influence their thoughts toward having a baby.
We've all been affected by peer pressures through association. The behaviors of others we associate with, affect our thinking and behavior. Many parents have seen children who were once focused and on a good path, become distracted and headed for trouble, simply because of a new friend or friends they've begun to associate with.
When what others do begins to lead us outside of God's ways or water down our standard for godliness and integrity, it's time to take a look at the relationship and decide if that is a relationship ordained by God. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NLT) speaks with great authority to us, "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? …For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: "I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
The Apostle Paul underscores this truth in 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV). "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
Many Christians foolishly believe that the ungodly behaviors of someone they've befriended, won't affect them. They will! They'll begin to negatively affect your thinking, perspectives, and even the simplest behaviors. If you doubt it, you already are absolutely wrong and in denial. You have a false confidence in thinking that you are stronger than the spiritual forces of evil that God warns us be flee or stay away from.
God paints us a picture in Haggai 2:12-14(Amplified Bible.) "If one carries in the skirt of his garment, flesh that is holy… and with his skirt or the flaps of his garment he touches bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does what he touches become holy…? And the priests answered, No!" (He is saying that holiness is not infectious.) "Then said Haggai, If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because he has come in contact with a dead body should touch any of these articles of food, shall it be [ceremonially] unclean? And the priests answered, It shall be unclean." (He is saying that unholiness is infectious.)
As Christians, we are to be influences of Jesus and a light to the world, influencing others toward the love of Christ. At the same time we need to understand that our right living is not infectious—it’s not just going to automatically cause someone else to live for God just by our association. But, if we hang around or take in ungodly influences, it will dilute and negatively affect us and our influence. Unholiness is infectious!
It isn't just people that we associate with that can drag us down and away from God. It's whatever we let in our sense gates—primarily our hearing and seeing. Without developing a standard against the filth the media that surrounds us with, you will become the victim of it. It will drag you down and away from God. Satan will use it declaring you a carnal Christian that God is upset with.
I've seen far too many Christian men and women think they can convert the unbelieving person they have allowed themselves to fall in love with, only to later be disappointed and heartbroken. That will always be the result of disregarding God's instructions.
When it comes to ungodly influences, there is pressure that comes from those associations. Jesus said we don't hide from the world. We live in it. We work to influence it. But, when it comes to the relationships that we become close friends in, follow David’s example from these verses in Psalm 119:59-61,72 (NLT). "I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your statutes. I will hurry, without lingering, to obey your commands. Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions... "Anyone who fears you is my friend-- anyone who obeys your commandments…" "Your law is more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver!"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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