This week at Movement, LCC’s youth group, we looked at Paul’s encouragement to his young apprentice in 1 Timothy as we wrapped up a series focused on the impact made by faithful youth in the Bible. The Apostle Paul met young Timothy on one of his missionary journeys, and eventually placed him in charge of overseeing a new church. The problem was, the new church and Timothy’s community was a mess. There were people misrepresenting the story of Christ, inventing doctrine, and misleading people about what God wanted them to know. In the middle of it all was young and shy, yet faithful Timothy.
In 1 Timothy 4:12 we read Paul’s famous words: “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Paul tells Timothy, “Don’t think that God’s calling on your life is diminished because you are young.” He encourages him to set the example for the church and the community in the way he speaks, acts, loves others, and devotes himself to biblical truths. While many of us reading this are way past the point of being a youth, I strongly believe we can replace “youth” with whatever it is in our lives that we think disqualifies us from living out God’s calling on our lives.
Let no one despise you for your (insert perceived disqualifier here), but set the believers an example in all you do. That blank will look different for each of us: addiction, past failures, insecurity, financial status, job status, marital status. We all have something to put in that blank, something that we use as an excuse whenever we know God is calling us to do something bigger than ourselves. I love the way these verses are worded in The Message.
Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching.
1 Timothy 4:11-14
“Teach believers with your life…” That is powerful. Translation: you don’t need all the answers, you don’t need a perfect past, you don’t need anything other than God and a willingness to be used by Him. You are teaching others about your faith each day as you choose to walk the path of faith, as you choose to live differently than the world lives. My prayer for you this week is that you will not allow anyone to look down on you; instead, you will boldly claim the promises of God and teach people with your life.