Let me set the context to this post. I turned 25 last year, October 7. Apart from feeling old, this being a landmark, I wanted to thank God for the life I’ve lived so far. As I was praying and thanking God, I began to think about the people who shaped me thus far. This list was pretty extensive— my parents, family members, pastors, leaders, colleagues; the list was quite exhaustive. I am thankful to each of them and cherish them in my heart. After a while, it began to dawn on me. There was not one young person on this list. How could there not be one young person that has influenced me?
Soon after, I got talking to a few young people and the consensus was in. There really is a dearth of young people making a difference in our Christian circles and in society at large. It really got me thinking.
We need some young people to rise up and take their place. I am noticing so many young people straying away from being an influence in God’s Kingdom. Here is my focus verse I will be using in this blog.
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.
— 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
I have read this verse over and over so many times it has encouraged my soul. I pray it encourages you as well. Paul writes in his final words to his spiritual son Timothy on what it takes to be set apart. Although the context of this verse is meant within the Church, the application of this verse in our lives will transcend outside the walls of the church.
Here a few thoughts I had from this verse…
First, God can use YOU!
First and foremost, just because you are young doesn’t mean you are not qualified to serve God. Age is no barrier to God’s kingdom. Even a child can be used mightily by God for His purposes. Now, this does not mean we are to despise authority and turn everything upside down. It is also important to realise there is a time and purpose for everything. My point is larger though, let not your age become a limitation to what God has in store for you. God used an ordinary shepherd boy David to become the greatest instrument for His kingdom in the old testament, He used average people to start His Church after Jesus, God can use us as well! When we are used by God, there is no limitation to what He can do through you. Always remember that.
Traits of a person of example
Words carry power. We’re all too familiar with the verse in Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Although this is such a familiar verse of scripture, we tend to overlook it. Our tongue is a powerful weapon, what we release from it is powerful. So many times we hurt ourselves and others by what we release from our mouths. We see so many young people getting hurt by what we say. Even in the name of making fun, we hurt those who are close to us without even realizing it. Jesus is our best role model. In John chapter 8, the Pharisees bring an adulterous woman to Jesus with accusation from all sides. But look at our saviour Jesus. They even had rocks in their hands but Jesus stood there silently and then spoke life to her. I believe if we can submit our tongue to Jesus, we will transform our communities. Let’s choose to speak life. Let’s set an example in our speech, in the words we release.
In today’s time, it is rare to find true Christ-like character. Ravi Zacharias said this – “One of the greatest failures of our generation is not living out the biblical precepts which we so clearly articulate”. We all need a reality check. Let’s track back a bit, our actions don’t automatically come out. It is built by our character, our mind, basically what we are on the inside, our inner man. How is your inner man today? Philippians 1:27 says to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”. Our character is the greatest asset we can carry. We need to be a people that build character before anything else. (see Proverbs 4:23) A lot of times we can get carried away with our strength and talents, especially this generation with the kind of access we have to other people’s lives and influence. God is looking for people who submit to Christ and live from there. I believe the world needs to see a set of people who will walk in Christ-like character and conduct. It is from here, we start to represent Jesus to the World.
First, we need to describe the ‘Love’ here. 1 John 4:10 simply says – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”. Meaning, Jesus is the ultimate description of love (AGAPE) itself. It is only through Jesus, you can experience and showcase this love. I think half the battle lies within us as Christians. There seems to be so much division among ourselves. We Christians are funny, we can do powerful things like going for a Missions trip and yet at times can’t even sit together in the same row. I’m reminded of the song by Black Eyed Peas – “Where is the Love?”. Let’s learn to love as Jesus did. I know it is not easy, it’s going to be ugly. But Jesus did it and through Him, we can love like Him.
We need to set an example of Faith in our generation. We’re living in a time that is devoid of Faith. But faith in what? In the things of God, His Word. Faith by definition is believing in the things unseen (see Hebrews 11:1). In most cases, it will require us to take actionable steps. Sometimes these steps are uncertain and comes with some risk attached. God loves people of exceptional faith. In Luke 7:8-9, Jesus was actually amazed at the faith of this Roman soldier. Imagine that, Jesus was marveled at someone’s faith! Hebrews 12 talks about the Hall of Faith. They are mentioned here because of their Faith. In the same way, we need to be people of Faith in a faithless generation.
We need to set an example in being pure, set apart! God loves people who care about purity (see Matthew 5:8; Psalms 24:4-5). A lot of times we compromise with God. I also realise that we live in a sinful world. It is a problem and God knew that. He sent His Son to die on the Cross so can live Free. It reminds of one of my friend’s, who got a brand new car sometime back. A few days later as he was parking his car, without him realizing, he hit a pole and got this huge scratch mark on the side. He couldn’t live with it until he got it fixed. In the same way, most of us carry scars in life because of circumstances or ‘life’ as we know it. Don’t fight it yourself, it is only Jesus that can cleanse us of ALL sin (see 1 John 1:7). Let’s draw unto Jesus to live a life of purity in this generation.
I end with this, one of my favorite verses you will keep hearing from me…
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
—1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
I pray that each of us become examples wherever we are placed. In our homes, our churches, our schools, our colleges and our workplaces. May we be the generation that carries forth God’s mandate on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s do it together!
Hope you have been blessed with this short read. Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Don’t forget to share this with friends and family. Check out my other blogs on the PivotPost page.
– Sam D. Mathews