Verses 18 and 19 discuss the enemies of the cross. The chapter closes like it began, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation." (3:2) To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
For many walk of whom I have told you often
In verse 17 Paul encouraged the Philippians to mark out those who are mature. Mature believers live on earth as if they were already in heaven. (v.20) Now by graphic contrast he sets forth the flip side–those who detract from growth. The negative crowd we run with, influences our values.
This is a major problem for teenagers who are in the "identity crisis." They gain their identity from what others in their group think about them. Teens are vulnerable to the crowd. When they are by themselves they seem to be fine. When they run with the crowd that is another story. They are easily led. Group pressure sweeps them along in values they would not otherwise hold. If they get into the right crowd where they can see living, flesh and blood, examples of those who walk with the Lord, the impact will be for good.
Paul reminded the Philippians many times of those who would detract from their lives. He told them "often." Paul employed "redundancy" as a valuable device. Leadership takes responsibility to constantly warn their followers of danger.
PRINCIPLE: Good leadership identifies negative influences and structures countervailing principles into the people they lead.
APPLICATION: As a leader in your home, do you forewarn your family about negative influences? Peer pressure cannot transcend fifteen years of values inculcated into the life. If our teens are secure enough in themselves that they can stand against the crowd, they have reached a maturity beyond most. If we are to build teens who are independent of social pressure, we need to communicate biblical convictions at a young age. We need many young men and women who, like Daniel, dare to stand alone.
God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds.
He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.