The Power of a Young Person's InfluenceChildren are natural imitators, not only of their parents, but also of each other. Paul alludes to this inborn mimicry when he commands us to "be imitators of God as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1). So, children are "imitators." We know this. But we get so focused on "peer pressure" as a negative thing that we forget that young people can and should influence one another to do good. Yes, it is possible for them to imitate good. In fact, the Bible commands it! The Bible says, "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good" (III John 11).
There are important reasons for young and old alike to work at imitating good. For one thing, we'll have much less to fear in the way of negative consequences for our behavior. In II Peter 3:13, Peter asks, "And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?" It's just not very likely that you'll ever get in much trouble or be punished severely for following a good example. Besides this, the Lord will love and appreciate you if you will allow yourself to be influenced to do good. Proverbs 15:9 says that, "The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness."
The fact that young people can be influenced BY others necessarily implies that they can also be influences ON others. The Bible commands the young to be good examples, so that others will have something worthwhile to imitate. The young man Timothy was told, "Let no one despise your youth, but BE AN EXAMPLE to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).
So, to the young we say BE INFLUENCED and BE AN INFLUENCE:
- let yourself be influenced to obey the gospel, and then influence someone else to do the same.
- let yourself be influenced to use pure speech, and then influence someone else to do the same.
- let yourself be influenced to dress modestly, and then influence others to do the same.
- let yourself be influenced to reverently participate in worship (no note passing, giggling, whispering), and then influence someone else to do the same.
- Let yourself be influenced to be kind to others, and then influence someone else to do the same.