Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Peer Pressure in the Church

 He who walks as a companion with wise men will be wise, But the companions of conceited, dull witted fools are fools themselves and will experience harm.

Proverbs 13 20

The Bible warns us not to get caught In the way of evildoers. In my walk with God, I have learned to remove myself from ungodly people, so that God can use me. Someone once said: “Show me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are”. The bibles tell us to “Be imitators of God”. Jesus told his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mathew 16:24).

I wonder if you ever found yourself in a situation, with a group of people and the behavior turns from being rowdy, good fun to crossing a line that you are uncomfortable with? As followers of Jesus Christ we need a mindset of strength and discipline so that we can stay strong in faith, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. 

Growing up I was very selective with friends. My childhood friend has been around for more than 38 years for the Glory of God. I recently found another very good friend from middle school through facebook. She was a close friend in middle school and I praise God for reuniting us again. We speak everyday since we found each other through our middle school reunion. I have a very special sister in Christ who I met in my walk with God. Those who stay and teach us the value of being a follower of Jesus Christ. Those that you can pray with in time of trouble.   

My father used to say: “A friend is like a dollar in your pocket. The word friend is defined as:”Mutual Unconditional love”. In life we get to meet different people, and every single person will have a purpose. Some people are meant to stay in your life, others are going to leave, others are going to teach you a lesson, and others are going to be removed by God. We all have co-workers that become very close, colleagues, and mentors that come to bring a lesson. 

We all went to school with someone that we remember as a trouble maker or a bully. Just like in today's society there was bullying and drama in school. There were two kinds of groups. They were the kind of group where you needed to be like them, walk, act, laugh at their jokes, and most importantly you needed their approval. On the other hand there were groups of those who had good academics. If you didn't have good grades you couldn’t be part of their group. In today’s society we see peer pressure in the house of the Lord. Unfortunately, people do not always make the best choices, and sometimes this can cause many new believers to stumble and be part of these toxic groups. 

The beginning of my ministry was tough. I believe some leaders are born, but more are made. As leaders we navigate forgiving people and trusting them. I believe that in my ministry I was trained in the battlefield. I learned to be an imitator of Jesus and not people. I stay away from the companions of fools, there is nothing we can learn from them. This does not please God.

Before I was ordained pastor, I saw many groups inside the church. I learned that this is a sin. You expect for those in your group to behave the way you do. I learned that these groups are more like a fraternity initiation inside church. These groups expect for you to sit with them to damage someone else's reputation. These groups will not want you to be a friend, to those who they do not consider friends. These groups of people think that they are the only group that God can use.  Sadly, they think that they are the only spiritual and holy group inside the church. They get mad if they don't get picked in the church event. They want to shine in front of men. Sounds familiar? The bible is very clear when it says: “Blessed is the one who does not walk with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is the law of the Lord, Psalm 1:1 This is a sin and we need to repent. “Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have crushed others”. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. 

“He will place his sheep on his right the place of honor, and the goats on his left the place of rejection”. Where do you want to be when Jesus returns? Often when we fall into peer pressure, it is due to our desire for acceptance or other’s approval. I was very athletic growing up and was always involved in sports. I did track, participated in school activities, and I played professional volleyball. I did not have many friends. As much as I tried to win their love, fit in, or have many friends like everyone did, I was never involved in groups. Since I was a little girl God always gave me dreams. I always saw how God warned me. I didn’t understand this until I gave my life to Christ. I didn’t not only see others in my dreams, God also warned me to repent of my sin. Unfortunately, as a new believer I felt in this trap before. God warned me through many dreams. I saw so much destruction, division, evil, betrayal, I never understood, until I was in that same position. That's when God removed many leaders and those who I consider friends. It took me some time to recover from the pain; “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”. Indeed. Hallelujah:)

In my ministry I learned to remove myself more to pray more. It’s so easy to be caught feeding in and listening to gossip. There are many of these fools all around us. They can really destroy with their tongue. 

Peer pressure can sometimes lead us to ungodly actions of sinning. People eventually realize that intimidating others to feel important is manipulative and insecure. Those who have been followers will usually realize it is more important to follow Jesus' standards and ways than to follow people. Unfortunately, there has been a culture of peer pressure in church that can be manipulative leaders to keep toxic secrets in the dark. These groups are the ones that divide our church today. They choose themselves in church activities and become pastors friends, later divide and separate the church. I've seen people come together to destroy others' reputation. Let's not be overcome by these fools who want to destroy and divide the church today. If you know anyone like this, stay away. Separate from the corruption of gossip and peer pressure groups, But pray for their hearts. 

Don't allow these sinful things to take away your crown of life. “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish”. 

In today's blog, I want all my readers to understand the importance of being the light of this world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. We all have been under peer pressure. It is time for the church to break every chain of peer pressure inside the church. As believers we need to check our hearts. This is ungodly.  Are we honoring God with our actions or are we following others? 

Lets, pray,

Father God, forgive us for being part of peer pressure. We have sin against you God. Forgive our spiritual  immaturity and spiritual blindness. Today we humble ourselves knowing that you are a merciful God, Even when we sin and gossip you are still God you are still king. Help us see this sin for what it is, hateful, hurtful, and ultimately sin that separates us from you. Father God, change our hearts. Take everything that is toxic and has been impending our spiritual growth. Lord, give the word a greater affection for you. Help the world love you so much that it brings real repentance and real breakthrough. God you are a father and love all the sinners, but you don't love sin. We want the world to see that Jesus transforms lives. 

Lord forgive us for the time that we were blind and try to fit in. Forgive us for the times we participated in all the evil actions. Holy spirit move, in a way that only you can. Holy Spirit move through social media and let people feel your immense love. In the name of Jeus, Amen.

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