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Be an Influencer, Not an Influencee

Overcoming peer pressure — Part 3

Doug Britton, MFT

Page Summary
Summary: Be an Influencer, not an “influencee” (someone who is easily influenced). Remember that you are Christ’s ambassador. Be prepared to be seen as different. Look for ways to help others. Reach out to lonely people.

Part 3 of a 4-part series on “Overcoming Peer Pressure”

Part 1      Part 2      Part 4

Review of Parts 1 and 2 on “Overcoming Peer Pressure”

Part 1 — Who’s Pulling Your Strings? This Bible study illustrates how you may give in to  peer pressure and go along with others, unaware of how you are being controlled.

Part 2 — Please God, not others: The best way to overcome peer pressure is to change your focus from pleasing people to pleasing God, not other people.

Choose to be an influencer

You have a choice as you go through life—to be an influencer or an “influencee” (someone who is influenced by others). Most people are influencees. They are highly influenced (or controlled) by peer pressure.

Make it personal

1. Would you describe yourself as an influencer or an influencee. Explain your answer.

2. Describe someone you know who has been a positive influencer in your life. Describe what he or she did that was helpful.

If you are an influencee, I’d like to encourage you to develop an entirely new way to think about yourself—as an influencer. When you develop this attitude, you will discover it is a powerful antidote to peer pressure.

An influencer is someone who thinks, “I’m going to make a difference.” Whenever an influencer is with other people, he or she is praying to love others and be a good representative of Christ.

You may be a carpenter, homemaker, city mayor, or unemployed. Whoever you are, you are “God’s handiwork,” created to do good works. You will have numerous opportunities every week to interact with people, numerous opportunities to silently pray for people, and numerous opportunities to represent Jesus in your words and attitude.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

What do you think?

3 What is the difference between an influencer and an influencee?

4. Would you like to be an influencer? Why or why not?

5. How can being an influencer help you break free from peer pressure?

Redefine true strength

If someone dares you to drink a quart of eighty-proof vodka, or to take a handful of unknown pills, you may think you have to accept the challenge to prove you’re fearless or strong.

Actually, just the opposite is true. If you go along with something as foolish as that, you are being weak. It’s much easier to go with the crowd than to say “no.”

Your “friends” may define strength as drinking the vodka or taking the pills. But true strength is taking a stand against what might harm you, no matter what people say or how much they pressure you.

What do you think?

6. Do you agree that “true strength” is taking a stand against people who want you to do something harmful? Why or why not?

You are an ambassador for Christ

Wherever you are, you are representing Christ. As Paul wrote, you are his ambassador. Pray to represent Jesus well.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Don’t be obnoxious about your faith, trying to force people to become Christians. Instead, pray for opportunities to lovingly share the good news about Jesus’ love.

Being an ambassador is more than talking about Jesus. It is also being a good example in friendliness, honesty, and behavior. Every kind word you say, every way you reach out to others, can make a difference.

What do you think?

7. What is an ambassador?

8. What does it mean to be an ambassador for Christ?

Related: You have a purpose

Related: Who Do You Think You Are? (book)

Be prepared to be seen as different

If you are an influencer, you don’t try to be just like everyone else. After all, you are representing God, and his values and laws are very different from those of some people around you.

If your peers reject you because you don’t give in to their pressure, be willing to stand alone, as an “alien and stranger in the world.”

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

What do you think?

9. Are you willing to be seen as different, as someone who doesn’t give in to peer pressure? Why or why not?

Related: Don’t take things personally

Look for ways to help others

You may not be a leader or have a position of authority, but there are many ways you can make a difference in others’ lives. For example, you could:

  • Visit someone who is home-bound.
  • Talk to the administrator of a skilled nursing facility and ask if any residents would like a visitor.
  • Volunteer to tutor children in an after-school program.
  • Volunteer to help in a rehabilitation program.
  • Help someone move.
  • Mow a neighbor’s lawn.
  • Send an encouraging email, text, or letter.

There are countless ways you could reach out to others. Each time you reach out, you are redefining who you are. You are someone who cares. You are someone who makes a difference.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Make it personal

10. What are some ways you could help others?

11. Do you think this might help you start to break free from peer pressure? Why or why not?

Reach out to lonely people

Whether you are in school, on the job, at church, or in another social group, look for people who seem lonely or who don’t seem to fit in. Reach out to them. You can make a tremendous difference in their lives, and it can make a big difference in your life.

Discussion question

12. Where do you think you could find some lonely people or people who don’t seem to fit in?

Related: Be an encourager

Memory verse

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Make it personal

1. Define “influencer” in your own words.

2. Define “influencee” in your own words.

3. When you get together with your peer group, can trying to be an influencer help you resist negative peer pressure? Why or why not?

4. Describe someone who has been a positive influencer in your life:

5. Are there ways you could influence others the same way that he or she influenced you? Explain your answer:

6. How can being an influencer help you break free from negative peer pressure?

7. This lesson says to be prepared to be seen as different? What does that mean?

8. Are you willing to be seen as different? Why or why not?

9. What are some ways you could reach out to lonely people?

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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