Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let no one despise you for your youth

1 Timothy 4:12  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

It would be very easy to mis-read the main push of this verse and mistakenly interpret it to mean that we should just flat out not let anyone despise young people for being young.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we should despise anyone for their age, old or young, but that is not the message of this verse.

The main push is for Timothy to behave in a godly way as described in the last part of the verse, rather than contrary to that example which is how undisciplined and immature young people tend to behave.  

We could read this verse as:
Don’t be a stereotypical immature youth who behaves poorly, instead behave in a godly way so that people won’t despise you for being young.

“set the believers an example” is a call to be a leader amongst other people who need an example set before them to inspire them and give them knowledge in a visible and active way how to behave.
Godly “speech” and “conduct” are the applications and out-working of the attitudes “love”, “faith”, and “purity”, but all five can be identified in his actions by onlookers for whom Timothy is encouraged to be an example.

Perhaps you could try and see these five things in your life, in the lives of others around you, and encourage young people to walk in them so that they are not despised for their youth.