“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
There are times (more than I would like to admit) that I HATE being young. The fact that my age group tends to spend their days getting drunk, having sex with anyone/everyone, and playing HOURS of video games does not help. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have realized that 18 seems to be the new 12. NO ONE wants to grow up… I feel like my generation is in a screwed up version of Peter Pan.
What I love about Scripture is how practical it is. As a young pastor in ministry, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and looked down upon. Paul writes to a young pastor named Timothy and gives him five ways to set an example while he’s young. This applies to you EVEN if you are not a pastor. This is some rock solid advice.
- Set an example with your speech.
What are young people known for? Probably NOT speaking with wisdom and intelligence. Unfortunately, the vast majority of young people seem to breath vulgar and disrespectful language.
If you are young, people are EXPECTING you to be like that.
Prove them wrong. Speak life and not death. Be an encourager!
- Set an example with your conduct.
Once again, young people are known for getting drunk and being stupid (occasionally on video). DO NOT give into that stereotype. Be the type of person that when people ask your age, they are visibly surprised when you tell them BECAUSE of your maturity and conduct.
Set your eyes on eternity and pursue the joy that is found in Jesus. I can speak from firsthand experience when I say it is FAR BETTER than living for the next high!
- Set an example with your love.
If you are married, a great way to do this is by treasuring and cherishing your wife. I got married when I was 19 (which is considered almost crazy in our culture). My goal is to place my wife above EVERYONE except God.
Another way you can set an example in love is by serving people. Unfortunately, our generation is known as being self-centered and lazy. PROVE this wrong!
Put down the controller, get off the coach, and serve someone for FREE.
- Set an example with your faith.
This one applies ESPECIALLY to Christian teenagers and young adults. Most of us grew up in youth groups where Jesus nor the Bible were taught. It seemed that the focus was more on drinking soda out of a sock and less on worshiping the Living God. As a result, many people abandon their faith when they graduate high school.
Do NOT be that person. PURSUE the things of God! Yet be careful that you are known NOT by how much you know, but instead by how much you actually live it out.
Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.
Let your faith be the fire that enables you to set an example in speech, conduct, love, and purity.
- Set an example with your purity.
This one is completely counter-cultural to popular culture today. We are told to live our lives “young, wild, and free”. Have sex, look at pornography, and fantasize in your mind; everyone is doing it so you should join them.
PLEASE do not give in to the culture on this issue. MAKE WAR against sexual immorality. Every time you are tempted, God WILL provide a way out.
Being young may honestly suck at times but God has called YOU to live out 1 Timothy 4:12. Which one of these do you find the hardest to live out? What are some good resources YOU recommend? Let me know by leaving a comment, I would love to hear from you!