Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
It is unclear just how old Timothy was when Paul wrote these words to him, but we clearly see that he was young enough to be considered youth. This particular verse has been a challenge to me throughout my life, because here we see some clear commands. Though this was written to someone in their youth, it undoubtedly applies to each of us as believers.
First, to the young people – the youth: Are you setting an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity? Each of these are traits of a godly person. Do other believers, no matter their age, see a reflection of Christ through your words, actions, love for God and others, faithfulness to God, and the purity of your mind and body? To those who are no longer youth – how is your example? This applies to us just as much.
It has occurred to me through pondering recent national events that many believers, young and old, need your example. We need your Christlikeness to shine forth and point to Jesus. It is heartbreaking to see the hate spewing forth in words and actions throughout our nation from those who do not believe, and sadly even some who claim a belief in Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us love as God first loved us. Let us choose today to set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.