1 Timothy 4:11-16
11 Command and teach these things. 12 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. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Here is a passage of Scripture that is both encouraging and challenging to young people. Firstly, Paul clearly tells all Christians not to discount a believer because of their young age. In fact, the youth are called to step up and be an example to all in the following areas; speech, conduct, faith, love and purity. A big ask for anyone really! Paul believes in youth!
I love clear instructions and Paul leaves some pretty clear guidelines to anyone – young or old who wants to live an exemplary Christian life. The first step is not to neglect your gifting but rather devote yourself to developing it. In Timothy’s case he was a gifted teacher so Paul encouraged him to read the Scriptures publically, and to teach and preach. He then tells Timothy to be diligent and persevere in what God has called him to do. It’s the diligence and perseverance that causes us to move forward in our faith. Most, if not all of us know this on an intellectual level. We just need the encouragement to keep going, Timothy was no different.
This passage ends with a warning to watch your life and your doctrine closely. Know what you believe and live your life with conviction.
Dear Lord, please help me to be a good example to other believers and give me the strength and willingness to develop the gifts you have given me for the advancement of your Kingdom, Amen.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods