My son, listen to your father’s discipline, and do not neglect your mother’s teachings,
because discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a ⌊golden⌋ chain around your neck.
My son, if sinners lure you, do not go along. (Proverbs 1:8-10 GW)
How can anyone resist the pull of peer pressure? It's easy to say, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything!" But resisting the influence of others is often not so easy.
At times, the forcefulness of other people intimidates us. Some people sound so convincing when they present an opportunity or plan as an adventure or a sure bet that we need to get in on.
Sometimes, we don't want to be left out of a group of people who seem like they have something special. These are some of the ways we get pulled along in a way we should not go.
This initial exhortation to pay attention to the discipline and teaching of parents includes two important points.
- First, it's a clear warning against the foolishness of trying to gain riches the wrong way with the wrong people. This is illustrated by the allegory that follows (Proverbs 1:11-19).
...these people set an ambush for their own murder. They go into hiding only to lose their lives. (vs 18)
- It's also an encouragement that discipline and wise teaching are much more valuable than any riches gained through violence or a supposed shortcut to success.
...discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a ⌊golden⌋ chain around your neck. (vs 8)
It's a natural stage of development for young adults to throw off what appears as the constraints of parental guidance. The emphasis here is there needs to be a strong foundation for godly living established at home as a guide for later life.
As we grow older, we need other people in our lives who are able and willing to warn us and encourage us. These are mentors like guidance counselors or something on the line of Big Brothers and Big Sisters or organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America.
We can also be mentors for others who need wise counsel and guidance, especially when we've been mentored by others. But we need to do so based on godly wisdom.
God is our best source for gaining wisdom. The Scriptures are our resource to draw out God's wisdom. The Spirit of God will help us understand it.
We are responsible to live our lives in accordance with this wisdom, for our benefit and as an example for others. The glory of riches and fame are empty and useless compared to the glory of a disciplined and godly life founded on the wisdom of God.
What is your source of wisdom? What is the moral and spiritual foundation for your life? When you have a solid foundation of truth and wisdom for your life, you'll be able to withstand the pull of others towards destructive behaviors and be a help for others.
Ask God to help you build, rebuild, or firm up a good, godly foundation in your heart and mind based on His word of truth and the guidance of God's Spirit. Pray for opportunities and a willingness to mentor and encourage others.
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