“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (conduct), in charity (love), in spirit, in faith, in purity.”I Timothy 4:12
Rebekah and I were engaged and were not attending church anywhere. We have been raised in church but it is easy to slack off as one missed week leads to another missed week. Naturally, my father-in-law was displeased with us and desired that we find a church we could call home. We promised we would start attending a church, and God led us to one not far where we would be living. We attended that church for 11 years, and were given many service opportunities not usually afforded to young people.
The church was small and I was asked to be a deacon at age 24. I was shocked when the pastor asked me as I was definitely not ready for such a position as I lacked maturity and the execution of spiritual discernment. The other deacons were quite older than me but yet were patient in teaching me the ropes. My spirit was willing but my flesh was definitely weak.
I had a desire in those days to be an example in word, conduct, faith and love, but I fell quite short of setting the right example. I was thrust into a position at such a young age, but God definitely grew me through the whole experience. We often equate wisdom, knowledge and maturity with age, but this does not have to be the case. I have seen some mature young people, and I have met some immature older people. We are called to be examples no matter our age, and I am always grateful when someone calls me a young man, even though that ship has sailed a few years ago. Youth is not an excuse to not be a godly example, and we must always strive to lead by our actions.
Where are you in setting the example, in word, in conversation (conduct), in charity (love), in spirit, in faith, in purity? If we are to see any changes in the world, then it must begin with us as Christians. It is not enough for us to preach Christianity, but we must live it and teach it through our lives. What does your conduct say about you? Are your words edifying and encouraging, or are they offensive and ungodly? Do people feel guilty when they say ungodly things because they know your walk with God? Are you a clear example of God’s love? What would your spouse, children, coworkers, and close friends say about how you love? It is no mystery that we are known more by our actions than we are by our words. “Do what I say, not what I do” has never worked and is in stark contrast to the Word of God. Be the salt and light to a world that desperately needs it. If put on trial, may there be overwhelming evidence of us being a Christian, and may we be an example the world can follow.