For most teens, one of the most important things in life is friends.
Yet statistically speaking, approximately 90% of teenagers living right now are experiencing peer pressure. Peer pressure is extremely common in teen years, whether they are Christians or not. As Christians, even though we are willing to serve God and follow Him, the world thinks otherwise.
A classic example is when your friends plan a hangout on a Sunday, and all your friends are going to be there. You know that you have church every Sunday. But if you say no, you are afraid of the consequences: Your friends might think of you as ‘too churchy’ or even question you about why you value all these Christian things so much. You know it’s wrong, yet, you still question yourself about it. This is because, as teens living in this society right now, we try to seek acceptance from friends since it’s a very important component of our teen lives. We want to have friends and be accepted by others, even if it may mean risking some things in life and doing what we might not want to do. As John Piper, a theologian, states: “You desperately want to be liked, but deep down you know this is slavery.”
Saying ‘no’ to your friends
So we know that there are many side effects to saying ‘no’ to your friends, whether it’s good or bad. We might think that there are more negative effects than positive. Losing friends, acceptance, reputation… etc. They are all negative effects.
But we were created to be different from the world. We were made to be set apart from the world – to be loved and owned by God forever. Hence, we have to know when to say ‘no’ when something goes out of the boundaries of what’s right, even if it may mean losing friends and being rejected by them.
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.
What’s more worth it: Friends, or God?
When debating on whether you should value your friendship or God more, due to our state as sinful humans, we would probably choose friends. However, there is something big we all are missing. That is, we often forget, or even do not realize, that friends will not last forever. Friends will eventually go away. As it is written in Colossians 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” As humans on this earth, we must set our eyes not upon the stuff on earth, because all these earthly things will eventually pass away, but rather, set our eyes on something of eternal value – your everlasting God.
“Nah, I won’t get influenced.”
This is a very common phrase that we say. We think we’re strong enough to hang out with our friends without being influenced. Yet often when we say such things, it turns out we’re very weak, and we don’t have the strength to pull back from the wrong things our friends do. There are only two options when talking about influencing each one another: Either you influence the person, or you get influenced by the person.
Proverbs13:20 clearly says:
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Having the freedom and privilege of choosing your own friends can be nice, but it becomes riskier for us as we can choose the wrong friends to hang out with – that is, the ones that may become a bad influence on us.
Whoever you choose to hang out with, they can definitely influence you. That’s why it’s important to choose friends who truly value God and are true followers of Christ.
The Importance of a Christian Community.
Having a Christian community is very important. You might not find friends at school who actually value Christ. We all need a Christian community where we can all be comfortable with each other and share whatever it is that’s in our hearts, that we might not be able to do with our school friends or other friends.
A Christian community can support, help, and pray for you when you are facing troubles. And together as a community, we tend to be stronger in faith than when we are facing them alone. It’s important to know people that you can trust that to support you, and may even be having the same problems as you, so you can face them together, as a community.
So what now?
We must remember that as Christians, we will never fit in. We must expect that already, and as a result, we cannot “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Instead of trying to fit in, we can “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” as 1 Timothy 4:12 says. And you never know, by doing the right thing, maybe you might become a good influence on those around you!
Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.