ODJ: not too young
March 25, 2014
READ: 1 Timothy 4:7-16
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity (v.12).
Recent research has revealed what teenagers truly desire from the adults in their lives. The Search Institute study found that teenagers want parents and other older influencers to do the following: 1. Look at us. 2. Spend time talking with us. 3. Listen. 4. Be dependable. 5. Show appreciation for what we do. 6. Relax. 7. Show that you’re interested. 8. Laugh with us (and at yourself). 9. Ask us to help you. 10. Challenge us.
I believe the apostle Paul did many of those things as he built into the life of a young man named Timothy. And, as number 10 on the list states, he truly did challenge him, writing, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). What’s impressive is that Timothy was dealing with the difficult challenge of tackling false teaching in the church at Ephesus, along with some bitter persecution. Yet Paul told him to boldly live out his faith—to be an example. And Timothy needed to look no further than the great example provided by Paul himself (Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:10-11).
If we want those who are younger to walk confidently in their faith, we must provide for them a living model. We need to show them the “living God, who is the Saviour of all people” and “keep a close watch on how [we] live” (1 Timothy 4:10,16). As they witness Jesus alive in us, it will help them take their own bold faith steps.
Let younger believers know that they can be an example to all believers. And, as you do, “stay true to what is right for the sake of [your] own salvation and the salvation” of these precious younger ones (v.16). —Tom Felten
1 Samuel 14:1-23 ‹365-day plan
Read what Paul wrote to a friend in Titus 2:7 and consider how you can be an example to other believers—particularly younger ones.
Today, how will you encourage some younger believers you know? What example have you been setting for other believers in Jesus?