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5

Resisting Negative Peer Pressure

February 2, 2019

LEARNING TO STAND

One day Margaret went to visit her friend Lisa. After the two friends talked for some time, Lisa suggested that they watch a movie together. Margaret hesitated for a moment. However, because her friend insisted, she agreed. Pretty soon, however, Margaret regretted that she had consented to such a passive endeavor. She realized that they could have spent quality time together instead of watching the movie. As Lisa proceeded to set up the devices to play the movie, Margaret started to pray silently, saying, “Dear Jesus, if You don’t want me and Lisa to watch this movie, please don’t let it work. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.”

When Margaret finished her silent prayer, Lisa was still trying to get the device to play. After a few moments of trying in vain, Lisa concluded that perhaps the wires were not connected properly, so she called for her neighbor, who was a mechanic. Meanwhile, as Margaret continued praying, a well-known Bible passage came to mind: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The mechanic was unable to fix the problem, and Lisa could not play the movie. This experience strengthened Margaret’s confidence to resist negative peer pressure with God’s help. The two young women found a useful activity for their afternoon.

Years later Margaret moved away. As a Christian she was often confronted at school with difficult situations that forced her to take a stand publicly. Yet it was those very situations that helped strengthen her trust in God.

One time a teacher decided to show a movie that featured life in the suburbs. To Margaret’s disappointment, the language in the film contained lots of swearing and using God’s name in vain. Margaret knew that it was not sufficient to disagree inwardly with the content of the movie. She felt that by watching the whole movie she would appear to consent to what was being presented. Margaret stood up to leave and walked over to her teacher, careful not to disturb the rest of the students. Quietly she told her teacher that she could not watch the rest of the movie because the language used was very offensive. The teacher nodded and gave Margaret permission to leave. That evening Margaret felt at peace.

During the following class period Margaret was in for a surprise. The teacher apologized in front of the class for playing a movie that used offensive language. She specifically directed her apology to Margaret and gave her the opportunity to speak to the class. Margaret quickly thought about what she should say. The Holy Spirit inspired her to use this opportunity to point the attention of the students to the Word of God. Margaret talked to the class about God’s law and specifically about the third commandment. She explained that it grieves God when people break His law and take His name in vain. Listening passively to swearing that includes God’s name also dishonors God, who is holy. A hush fell over the class as the students listened to Margaret.

What a different outcome would the story have had if Margaret had decided to stay and watch the whole movie and remain silent about her convictions. To this day she is grateful that the Lord gave her the opportunity to be a witness for Him.

A group’s influence along with the desire to belong can lead young people to yield to negative peer pressure. However, some decisions made to go along with the group can result in a lifetime of regret. It is very important to be constantly aware that as a son or daughter of God you are His representative. If you take a firm stand for God and the teachings of His Word, the Holy Spirit will help you to resist negative peer pressure. Remember God’s promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and pray for His help to remain faithful to Jesus.

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Sabbath

FOR STUDY

Memory Text: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Our Beliefs, no. 7, The Nature of Humanity: “God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment.”

Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 91-93.

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Sunday

RESPONDING

Read Proverbs 1:10.

Suppose that you are invited to a party at which alcoholic beverages and unclean foods will be served, at which there will be loud music and dancing until late at night, and at which most of the entertainment will not be suitable for Christ’s followers. How will you respond to such an invitation?

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Monday

BIBLE ANSWERS ON THE NATURE OF HUMANITY

Read Genesis 3; Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Peter 5:8-10.

Man was made in God’s image. Humanity was given free will and the ability to make decisions. When Adam and Eve sinned, they became subject to sin. Satan uses any means he can to get us to sin, and that sometimes includes our friends putting pressure on us to do something wrong. It is only through Christ that we are forgiven and reconciled back to God. It is necessary for us to study the Scripture and, like Jesus, be ready to say “It is written” when tempted to do wrong.

What can you do to stay true to God and to His Word when someone entices you to do something wrong?

How can you set an example and help a friend who is heading down a wrong path?

“Build a wall of scriptures around you, and you will see that the world cannot break it down. Commit the Scriptures to memory, and then throw right back upon Satan when he comes with his temptations, “It is written.” This is the way that our Lord met the temptations of Satan, and resisted them” (Ellen G. White, in Review and Herald, April 10, 1888).

Write the person’s name next to the item(s) they were tempted with. Some Bible references are given to help you.

1. Bread

2. To doubt God

3. Idols

4. Worldly riches

5. Tree of knowledge of good and evil

6. King’s food

7. To doubt God’s promise

8. Presumptuous protection

9. To follow his own will

10. To lie to God

Eve Samson Meshach Daniel Azariah Jesus Abed-Nego Adam Abraham Sapphira Shadrach Hananiah Mishael Ananias

Acts 5:1-10 Judges 13-16:30 Genesis 3 Daniel 3 Daniel 1:8-17 Matthew 4:1-11

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Tuesday

REFLECTING

Read Judges 13-16; Luke 22:54-62

When your grandparents were teens, most people around them probably believed that the Bible set the standard for what was right and wrong, even if they didn’t follow it themselves! Today more and more people today believe that the truth is something that comes from inside you. People question the authority of the Bible and of God, and look to other sources or to themselves for truth. A lot of the old standards of right and wrong don’t seem to apply anymore. How do you make decisions about what’s right and wrong when it seems there are more choices than ever before?

Though we need to respect others who make different choices, as Christian young people we still need to stand firm on the Bible as our authority.

It doesn’t change. Basing your beliefs and your actions on God’s Word will give you solid ground to stand on in a world in which everything seems to be changing so fast, it’s almost impossible to keep up with it.

“Yielding to temptation begins in permitting the mind to waver, to be inconstant in your trust in God. If we do not choose to give ourselves fully to God then we are in darkness” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 92).

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Wednesday

BIBLE INSIGHTS

Fill in the blanks using the Bible references and the words below. All Bible passages are taken from the New King James Version.

“Create in me a heart, O God, and renew a spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

is the man who walks in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).

“Therefore to God. the devil and he will from you” (James 4:7).

“That is, that God was in Christ the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20).

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you; and may your spirit, soul, and body be preserved at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

blameless blessed clean completely flee implore not reconciling resist steadfast submit whole

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Thursday

CONNECTING

Read Romans 5:12-17.

Review the memory verse.

Peer pressure is a fact of life. Even adults have to deal with it. It never really goes away. The important thing is to know whose you are. You are a child of God and an agent of the kingdom. As such, you have to adhere to a high standard and be faithful to God.

Surround yourself with people who know Jesus personally, who put their beliefs into practice and encourage you to do the same. Practice resisting peer pressure. It’s easier to say “No” when you’ve done it a number of times!

“God calls for strong, brave Christians, whose influence is always exerted for the right. His cause needs men and women whose every word and act draws those around them to Christ, binding them to Him by the persuasive force of loving service” (Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, October 21, 1903).

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Friday

APPLYING

Read Jeremiah 17:9.

“There is not an impulse of our nature, not a faculty of the mind or an inclination of the heart, but needs to be, moment by moment, under the control of the Spirit of God” (Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 421).

Formulate a Christian response to the following situations. Remember to include prayer for strength and guidance before, after, and all the way through the steps.

1. Your teammates want you to skip church to play in an exhibition game for charity. The winning team gets to name the amount of money that will go to help orphaned children. Your teammates say they can’t win without you; besides, it’s for a good cause.

2. Your cousin invites you to spend the night at her house. Her parents call to say that they will be late returning home from a meeting because they have some issues with the car. Your cousin invites some friends from the neighborhood as well, although she knows she isn’t supposed to have guests when her parents aren’t home.