“ Let no man despise your youth, but be you an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" - I Timothy 4:12
There was a concern that Timothy being a young man in ministry, may not be serious about the work of the ministry, or may regard it as a light thing. So Paul tells Timothy to act as becoming a minister of the gospel in all things, governing himself according to the principles given in the word of God, that he will be respected as a minister, and that the ministry would not be blamed, dishonored or disgraced.
Although Paul was speaking to Timothy, this advice is applicable and advisable to all believers in Christ, whether you are a minister of the gospel, or not. We are now living in a time where many leaders are not taking their roles and their work serious. And as a result, the church is being viewed with shame and disgrace.
Even though there is a remnant who would live to sincerely serve and please God, and make great sacrifices to be good examples of the gospel, a little leaven leavens the whole lump (I Corinthians 5:6).
Every believer in Christ, whether you are old or young, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, leader or laymen, should live as examples of the gospel in every area of your life, that others may follow your example.
Your Manner of Life should be with integrity beyond the walls of the sanctuary, as well as in the sanctuary, that you may obtain a good report from them who are without Christ.
The words you preach, teach, testify or speak, whether on the streets, in the pulpit, on the job, or in your home should be in harmony with the life you live. You can't fake living right. It's only a matter of time before it will be discovered who you really are.
How shameful it is when words full of wisdom and eloquence are preached, taught and spoken, while the lifestyle behind the mouthpiece is crooked, deceitful and dishonest.
If the church is not practicing what we are teaching, how can we lead others? You can't just tell people how to live, you have to show people by being an example yourself.
And then again, there may be those who would still follow you, but what a price to pay when you knowingly and intentionally lead others contrary to the teachings of Christ.
Your communication should be seasoned with grace, edifying, not foolish talking, but with wisdom, speaking the word of God without corrupting or taking anything away from it - "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).
Your Love should be to all mankind without respect of person, regardless of their color, background, living status, position, and what's in their wallet.
Your Relationship or Dealings With Others should be with no occasion for laying stumbling blocks, or starting scandals.
Faithfulness should be given to doing whatever has been entrusted to your care, or in keeping up with whatever has been given to you to be managed or maintained.
We are not claiming that believers in Christ should be perfect, but that there should be a consistency in your character and faithfulness to your duty as a believer in Christ - "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12).
As the world has its role models, we have Christ as our role model. How He lived, how He handled situations in His life, how He dealt with His enemies, how He treated those of the household of faith, and most importantly, how He handled the word of God in teaching the people of God. These were all perfect patterns to which we can follow after.
Live as role models by being an example of the life expected of believers in Christ, in such a way, that if any who has had the opportunity of knowing you, can testify to your consistency and faithfulness in walking according to the word of God - "You are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and un-blamably we behaved ourselves among you that believe" (I Thessalonians 2:10).
When you follow the example of Christ, others will follow you - "Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as you have us for an ensample" (I Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17).
Copyright © 2017 by Gale Wilcox. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages quoted are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.