Saturday, July 23, 2016

Let no one despise your youth

"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" - 1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV).

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Though the apostle Paul wrote the foregoing text to his protege, Timothy - a young minister - over 1900 years ago, I believe its message very much applies to young people in Christ today.

Here, Paul (of course, inspired by the Holy Spirit), gives us the recipe for a life of influence, such that is worthy of emulation and admiration, regardless of youth.

From this Scripture, we glean the key to living a life that will not only glorify God our father, but will also make us influential figures in our circles, and thus, effective ministers of the gospel.

Now, we'll take a moment to break up the text to understand what's required of us as young people in Christ. Our text again (1 Timothy 4:12): "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in WORD, in CONDUCT, in LOVE, in SPIRIT, in FAITH, in PURITY".

We are enjoined to be examples in:
1. Word (what you say)
"But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2 Timothy 2:16).

"Let the words of my acceptable in your sight..." was the Psalmist's plea, and it should be ours as well.
Let what you say be such that edifies those who hear them. Shun empty, idle, vain and useless talk, for... "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).

2. Conduct (your behaviour)
"With my whole heart I have sought you; oh let me not wander from your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:10-11).

The man who delights in God's word and conducts himself in a way that is consistent with it is indeed blessed (favoured, honoured, admired).
As a young person, let the word of God regulate what you do, keep away from all filth; that way, you'd lead a life that will influence others for God.

3. Love (live selflessly)
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you... You are my friends if you do whatever I command you...These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:12,14,17).

"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love...Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:8,11).

The message of love is the best anyone can share! Love is the panacea to our world's myriad illnesses. Love is the answer to our world's many puzzling questions! Love is the fulfilment of the law! The love side is always the right side! The love-inspired decision will always be the right decision! You can never go wrong by loving like God.

God is love, you can't claim you love God and not love His image - people. Be selfless and people focused, put the interests and concerns of others before yours.

4. Spirit (in your thoughts)
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).

The Psamist's desire that "Let the...meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord..." should be ours as well.
Beyond just what we do and say, what we think is very important.

Thoughts are a really big deal with God (1 Samuel 16:7), as it is the roots of all that a person is and will ever be. As you well know, as a person thinks in his heart, so is he. You can't be better than the level of your thoughts.

To be an exemplary youth, be spiritually minded. Think like God. Fill your heart with His thoughts. How does God think? God thinks big. God thinks eternity. God thinks long term. God thinks possibility. Think like that. Think according to His word.

5. Faith (believe God's word)
"Do not be unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:26).

Indeed, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him"; because, "he who comes to God must believe that He is".
Without faith, we'd put every occurrence down to pure coincidence or act of nature, and nothing divine!
Without faith, we won't even believe there's something called "sin", since it is only when you believe in God that you know sin to be the violation of God's word.

As young people, we should express and live in faith. Such faith that believes everything is possible with God. Such faith that believes God's every word. Such faith that refuses to give up on God even when the dream seems to be fading.
There has been no great accomplishment in life without a commensurate measure of faith.

6. Purity (flee youthful lusts)
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

But in a great house - like God's - there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for special occasions and others for putting trash.
Therefore, if any young person FLEES from youthful lusts and passions - like sexual immortality, indulgence, alcohol and drug abuse, and other frivolity - he will be a vessel for special occasions and assignment, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:20-21 paraphrased).
Live holy, there's no other standard in God's kingdom.

As a Christian youth, how do you stay pure and live an exemplary life? Do share with us in the comments section.

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