1 Timothy 4:12
‘”Let no one despise you for your youth, but set an example for believers in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
Entitled, self obsessed, irresponsible, inconsiderate, lazy, indifferent, immature and the list goes on. These are a few ways that you’ve probably heard people describe your generation. I know I’ve heard these things from time to time and, let’s be honest, we all fit this description on occasion. We’re sinful people living in a fallen world and unfortunately we yield to our flesh more than we should.
But so was Timothy. An Paul saw great things in him.
Paul looked at Timothy and saw in him the reality of a transformed life, change effected by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Timothy had been installed as an elder in the church at Ephesus to continue the work that had been started there (Acts 19). Through the years leading up to this, Paul spent a great deal of time and energy instructing Timothy in the ways of faith, continuing what Timothy’s mother and grandmother had started (2 Tim 1).
Paul tells Timothy a whole host of things he needs to be mindful of and on the lookout for in order to shepherd the flock at Ephesus to God’s glory. Paul does all of this with the encouragement to Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was younger. At this point Timothy was probably in his mid 30’s, certainly not a teenager, but still a younger man, and given a great deal of responsibility.
How is Timothy to go about not letting anyone look down on him because he’s young? Simply by being an example in his speech, in how he handles or conducts himself, in how he loves, in his faith and in his purity. He is to function in these areas in such a way as to not provide people any opportunity to bring accusations against him, or at least accusations that would stick! He is to be diligent in his study and teaching of the Word of God.
Now while you may not be one with the gift to teach the Word, you absolutely have the responsibility as a child of God to honor Him in the other areas mentioned.
As youth group leaders this is our challenge to you. Be examples to others, both Christian and non Christian alike. If you have younger brothers or sisters, be examples to them. Be examples of sacrificial , Christ like love to your friends and families. Set an example, even as young believers, for your older friends or relatives to emulate. Take Paul’s words to heart to “not neglect the gift you have…and to practice these things”. Immerse yourselves in the things of God so that others “may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven”. (Matt 5:16)
Regardless of your age you have a responsibility as children of God to be an example. We’re divinely blessed to have the Holy Spirit do this work in us and empower us to die daily and pick up our crosses and follow after Christ.
Over the next couple months we will be releasing a series of blog posts highlighting each of the five areas Paul tells Timothy to set an example in. Speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Each leader will write on one topic to be shared on the website. We pray that these will be challenging, encouraging, thought provoking and ultimately helpful to further your relationship with Christ.