Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12
As a young person, you have tremendous power in influencing everyone around you for good by being more than people expect. Think about this, the typical stereotype of someone in their teens is one of rebellion. Along with being disobedient to their parents, some of the normal expected behaviors of teenagers is people who disrespect adults, use filthy language, gossip, drink, experiment with drugs, have premarital sex, and selfishly live with a sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, this stereotype is not too far from the truth for many of the young, but it doesn’t have to be this way for you.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy was written to a young Timothy estimated by scholars to be in his 30s at that time. Timothy is charged to overcome others looking down on his youthfulness by being an example above and beyond their expectations. Though at first people may be hesitant to listen to him because of his age, I believe his youth gives him an immense opportunity because people take special notice to those who don’t fit the typical mold and particularly to those who greatly surpass it. I don’t gather that Timothy was involved in rebellious behavior, but even at that, Paul was still instructing him to strive for more excellence in his godly service.
Think about Timothy’s age, the impact he was challenged to make at his age, and then consider your own age now. What kind of impact could you make at such a younger age as a teenager or someone in their 20s? What if you chose to live a life devoted to faithfulness by respectfully honoring your parents in necessary submission to them, using words that uplift and encourage others, humbling yourself by putting others needs before your own, and committing to abstain from sinful pleasures such as fornication, drinking, and drugs? What if you do all these things and then still ascribe for more godliness? By maturely choosing to flourish apart from the crowd, you can maximize your youthfulness and give optimism to a society that has lost its confidence in the young.
To be successful in this endeavor, you must not look to others around you as the ultimate gauge of how you should live, but to Christ, and Him alone, as the incomparable pattern of complete righteousness. You have no idea as to the level of faith and love you are individually capable of, so don’t waste your time comparing yourself to others and reaching for mediocrity, but boldly and humbly reach to become as Jesus who sets the standard of perfection. Surround yourself with others that are diligently seeking this same goal and you will patiently bear through each other’s failures, create synergy to be better disciples by learning from each other’s godly wisdom and example, and motivate one another to take full advantage of your personal potential to grow progressively better in speech, conduct, faith, love, and purity as you hold each other accountable to imitate Christ. In doing this, you will not only show yourself as a model of those who believe, but create a faithfully grounded army of believers who light this world at a time when we need our young to bring back hope in what is beautiful and good as we live this life in anticipation for eternity.
My God, in Whom I submit my life to, I choose today to maximize my youthfulness by striving to become more like my divine Teacher, Jesus. I will be the example that others can look to as a young Christian who is devoted to righteousness. I will surround myself with people who are also seeking the way to eternal life as I know this will be beneficial for our growth as we support each other to reach higher levels of godliness. Please continue to forgive me, Father, for I know there will be times where I will fail, but in failing I will do what it takes to make it right and learn to get better. Keeping in mind my own faults, I will look compassionately upon others and esteem them better than myself. This is the mind of Christ, and this is the mind that I choose as I imitate Him. Amen.
Truth in love,