Be a good Example

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

Age is not necessarily a disqualification for leadership, but character certainly is. Timothy received this letter while in his thirties. Under 40 was considered youth, or literally, "of military age," to the Greeks. He was to overcome this relative youthfulness by being a good example to the congregation that he was called to lead. Paul pointed to six areas of Timothy’s life: It was vital that his WORD, or conversation, be godly – free of foul language, cursing, lying, gossip and all non-edifying speech. But good words would mean little without good CONDUCT. “Do as I say, not as I do,” just would not do! What could be worse than one who claims to be a Christian but is unloving? Timothy must also set a good example by showing true Christian LOVE – the kind of love that always seeks another’s good, no matter how it is treated. Next, he must have a sweet SPIRIT – a disposition that is gentle and kind. (How offensive it is when a believer comes across as mean and sour). If he were full of worry, and overwhelmed with anxiety it would show a lack of trust in God, so he must have a quiet, reliant FAITH in God’s care and provision. Finally, his life must be lived in moral PURITY. If he would set this good example it would not matter if he were young or old!

The Bible has many examples of men who failed in these areas but it tells of only one Man who was victorious in every one: JESUS! To say, “Be an example...” is to say, “Be like Jesus.” He is our perfect example: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (Eph 5:1) But to be “imitators” we first have to be “partakers.” We may look at this verse as something unattainable, but remember, Jesus came to save us from our sin and give us His life. It is Christ in us enabling us to be this godly example for our spouse, children, co-workers, friends, and fellow believers. Do you have Christ in you?

- From Study #5155