Copies of Student Handouts
Blank sheets of paper
Students will have a better understanding of how to make right choices that reflect their Christian faith and impact their friends, rather than sitting on their faith and being negatively influenced by their peers.
The choices that we make affect those around us, for the good or the bad. It is important by the end of this session that students understand the power that is behind their choices. Teens love to get chatty, so start the class off by asking the following question, "How can you be a positive influence to your friends?" You will get various answers, but it all narrows down to making right choices. I have given five scenarios of different choices that young people may deal with. Read them one by one, pausing after each, for a time of discussion. Ask the following questions. 1) How would you respond? 2) Would it be hard for you to make the right choice?
1) During a test, your best friend quietly passes a note asking you for a couple of answers, you see the teacher is not looking and know you can get away with it. Your friend is urging you to hurry up.
2) It is Friday before spring break, and your friends want to skip school and go to the mall. You just received birthday money the week before and you hear there is a great sale at your favorite clothing store. Your friends jump into their car and encourage you to come with them.
3) Your friends are talking badly about another friend that they had a falling out with; they turn to you and ask what you think about this person. You like this person, and are hesitant to tell your friends how you really feel.
4) You are at a friend's house and he/she is flipping through the channels on television. Your friend stops on a channel that is known for having shows that contradict Christian values.
5) This really good looking guy/girl is interested in you. You know they do not share your same morals or your same faith in Jesus. Smiling, they approach you and ask for your phone number.
Teens are faced with these types of choices everyday, and sadly peer pressure gets the best of them. Learning how to stand up for what is right and make wise choices is not always easy. Teens greatly fear rejection from their peers. It is important to remind them that the choices they make, as simple as they may seem, greatly influence those around them. Through their choices, they can become a light in the darkness. To many of their peers, they will be the only reflection of Jesus they ever see. With this said, it is of upmost importance we invest in their lives, so they can reach their generation. In 1 Timothy 4:12, we are instructed to not underestimate our youth. They are our future and what they learn from us, they will use to impact the world for Christ.
Jesus faced several opportunities that could have been intimidating; and if He allowed, they could have caused Him to bend under pressure. Intimidation is a negative threat that seeks to silence the truth. When we choose to speak or act out truth, despite our fear of rejection, we impact those around us. Some may not like our stance and let us know it in an ugly way; while others are blessed and greatly encouraged. Emphasize to your students that we must be prepared to accept the bad with the good when we choose to follow Christ. Making right choices does not always bring praise from the other side. Therefore, our concern should not be what the other person thinks of our choice. Instead, our focus should be to do what is right in the sight of God. When we are reminded of this, so does our perspective. Below, I have added several Bible references relating to choices Jesus made that were not popular with the religious leaders of the day. Through the reading of them, your students will soon discover that Jesus was not concerned about the response He would receive from those that disputed Him; rather, His devotion was to please His Father, in Heaven. Because of this, He held His ground and lived the truth He knew OUT LOUD!
Have volunteers read the following passages. Bring out two points in each Bible passage: a) What the religious leaders did to oppose Jesus b) How Jesus responded to them.
As we read from these passages, we see how those that opposed Jesus attempted to snare Him in some way. The Pharisees and Sadducees approached Jesus numerous times. These were the ones that people in the city looked up to. They were prestigious and well learned in the law of God. No one dared question their authority. Yet Jesus was not intimidated by their attempts to silence Him. Instead of going with the sway of the religious leaders, He always stood up for what was right. The leaders of that day were corrupt and hypocritical in their actions. Jesus saw straight through their deception and made the right choice to speak the truth despite the fact He was ridiculed and opposed by them.
Why was Jesus so adamant about choosing truth? Because He would rather please God than man. Because of His stand, He not only influenced those closest to Him, but He changed generations after Him. He did not give in to the pressures of the false teachers and as a result, many were healed from sickness, delivered from oppression and came to understand the truth of God's word.
It is important for your students to apply what they have learned to their own personal lives. Our faith should be the most important aspect of our existence. There are a range of activities we partake of to nourish it. Bible reading, scripture memorization, prayer and worship are just a few. These are tools for equipping our spiritual lives, so we can take what we have learned privately into the world around us. Making right choices does not just happen; through our personal time with God, we become strengthened to be bold in our choices.
Pass out Handout # 1 and allow time for students to complete it. After everyone is done, go through the questions with them to make sure they have a clear understanding of what they just learned. The purpose of this handout is to reinforce the importance of making decisions that are pleasing to God.
Close by challenging your students to examine their own lives to see what kind of choices they are making. Do they glorify God? Do they define our morals? Do they speak our faith out loud? These are questions we all need to think about. What we live out signifies what we stand for. Commit yourselves to be true to what you believe despite the fears you may feel. Throughout life, we will be faced with various choices and the right choice may not be the popular choice. The easier option may be to follow the crowd, while our convictions are compromised. Although, if we want to be courageous and make a difference in our generation, as well as future generations, we might have choose the not so popular road. In the end, as long as our choices are pleasing to God, we can rest assure we have somehow impacted the world around us.
Finish this session off by passing out a blank peace of paper to each student. Have them write out two to three typical scenarios that teens face any given day. They should be scenarios that require them to make difficult choices as well as ones that they have faced personally themselves. They should not write their names on the papers nor should they state how they may have responded. Give them 5 minutes to complete. Collect the papers face down, so not to identify anyone with their scenarios. Once all have been completed, read some of them out loud and ask students as a whole the best choices to make if they were in each situation.
(If you would like the handouts to go along wkith this study, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with "student handout" in the subject line.)