Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young. Instead, make your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity an example for other believers. I Timothy 4:12
The youth among us are the future church. However this encouragement is not only for youth but for Christians of all ages. I would like to highlight what the learned Barnes has written on the subject which is to young and old who are ministers of the gospel. Are we all not ministers of the gospel in one way or another?
Let no man despise thy youth – That is, do not act in such a manner that any shall despise you on account of your youth (it could be age or experience) . Act as becomes a minister of the gospel in all things, and in such a way that people will respect you as such, though you are young. It is clear from this that Timothy was then a young man, but his exact age there is no means of determining. It is implied here:
(1) that there was danger that, by the levity and indiscretion to which youth are so much exposed, the ministry might be regarded with contempt; and,
(2) that it was possible that his deportment should be so grave, serious, and every way appropriate, that the ministry would not be blamed, but honored. The “way” in which Timothy was to live so that the ministry would not be despised on account of his youth, the apostle proceeds immediately to specify.
But be thou an example of the believers – One of the constant duties of a minister of the gospel, no matter what his age. A minister should so live, that if all his people should closely follow his example, their salvation would be secure, and they would make the highest possible attainments in piety. Believers should be ensamples one to another, especially ministers of the word; pastors of churches are not to be lords over God’s heritage, but to be ensamples to the flock. They became, as it were, a model or pattern after which the piety of others should be moulded, or showed what the piety of others ought to be.
In word – In “speech,” that is, your manner of conversation. This does not refer to his “public teaching” – in which he could not probably be an “example” to them – but to his usual and familiar conversation.
In conversation – In general deportment It undoubtedly implies that, as citizens, we should act, in all the duties which that relation involves – in maintaining the laws, in submission to authority, in the choice of rulers, etc., as well as in other relations – on the principles of the gospel; for the believer is bound to perform every duty on Christian principles..
In charity – Love to the brethren, and to all;(a) To love in general; (b) To the love of God and of Christ; (c) The love which God or Christ exercises toward Christians, (d) The effect, or proof of beneficence, favor conferred
In spirit – In the government of your passions, and in a mild, meek, forgiving disposition.
In faith – At all times, and in all trials show to believers by your example, how they ought to maintain unshaken confidence in God.
In purity – In chasteness of life; There should be nothing in your contact with the other sex that would give rise to scandal. There are no other institutions on the earth which have done so much to corrupt the chastity of the race, as those which have grown out of the doctrine that celibacy is more honorable than marriage.
Whether young or old the Lord speaks to us that we must be examples of the believer, glorifying to God and with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as given to us through the Holy Spirit.
Are we good examples of believers?
If not, let us repent, ask for forgiveness and strength to overcome our weaknesses and have the victory in Christ Jesus.