(The following is the September 29 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read 1 Timothy 4 and pay close attention to verses 11-16.)
1 Timothy 4:12 is encouraging to young people: “Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Teens and young adults may have few official church positions, but they can still positively impact others inside and outside the church through exemplary living.
Consider each part of Paul’s statement:
Don’t let anyone despise your youth. We can’t dictate what others think, but we can prevent their thoughts from negatively impacting our thoughts and behavior. Young people can ensure others’ negativity is not because of anything the young are doing.
Set an example for the believers:
In speech. Refrain from unwholesome, immature talk that dishonors Christ and his Word.
In conduct. Flee temptation and invest time and energy in serving Christ and his church.
In love. Do the loving thing for others even when you don’t feel like it or when the other person is hard to love.
In faith. Work at growing in Christ and the knowledge of his Word.
In purity. Resist the fallen world’s practices and show the difference Christ makes in living sexually pure.
If you’re young, take Paul’s words to heart, knowing that the Holy Spirit who indwells you is the same Spirit who indwells older believers. If you’re older, invest in the growth and maturity of young believers. Encourage and love them. Mentor them into positions of responsibility and leadership.
Can you recall when you needed Paul’s encouragement to young Timothy? What young Christians can you encourage in the faith?