Paul has urged us not to conform to this world but to be changed by making our minds new. Our minds are changed by studying the word to increase our faith and strengthen the inner man. We know about peer pressure among teenagers. Most adults won’t admit that they succumb to peer pressure and feel the need to conform to those around them. We see this in our communities, in our workplaces and even in our churches. The pressure to be liked and accepted by others forces people to fit into moulds that have been created by society. Many Christians compartmentalise their lives and have a persona for church and a different one for different settings.
The question is; If Jesus visited your place of work, would he find that you are demonstrating his message to your colleagues? Do we ensure that our churches are inclusive and treat everyone with dignity and respect? Do people feel the pressure to conform in terms of a particular style of dress or ways of speaking and acting? I am not referring to the biblical concept of modesty and the instructions about our speech and conduct. I am referring to the pressure to conform to church cultures and the way cliques appear in our churches. Do people feel the pressured to try to fit in even on a Sunday?
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13). Do not be afraid to stand out and to stand up for righteousness. There are times when you will be a lone voice at a time when someone needs to speak up for the oppressed and disadvantaged. If God has given you the conviction to speak, then speak up. We have been called to stand up for righteousness and be ready to give an answer about your faith in God. It is better to stand up for God now and be unpopular than to go along with the crowd and miss out on eternity.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “bad company ruins good morals.” You cannot be close to or friends with everyone who desires to be friends with you. You have to please God more than people. You have to constantly evaluate how your relationships affect your walk with God. Any relationship that jeopardises your walk with God or pulls you closer to the darkness is not worthwhile maintaining. “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet” (Amos 3:3)?
“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible” (Ephesians 5:13).