Set an example…

1 Timothy 4:12

It is no secret that in most cases, age often comes with wisdom.  The more experiences you have the more likely you are to have gained some sort of knowledge from them.  But Paul is warning us in this verse to not think that our lack of age, experience, and maybe even wisdom, means that we do not have value.  Not just a value to our peers, but a value to all, old and young.  This value that Paul is explaining is all about the example that you set for others.  When everything you do is with God in mind, the example that you set is not contingent upon how long you have been on this earth. 

This is a time in your life when you will have many different examples being set around you: some good and some bad.  Unfortunately, it seems like there are way more bad examples than there are good examples.  But just because everyone is doing something does not mean that we should follow suit.  We are called to live uncommon lives and do things that others won’t because God asks us too.  Your speech, your conduct, your love, your faith, and your purity will show to others where your priorities lie.  Take pride in these things and know that you are an example for all around you, no matter your age.  

And as you grow and become wise, never forget that the younger generations have wisdom and insight too, and we need to be able to listen and learn.

Now let us take a second to actually reflect on if we are worthy “examples”.

Now is the time to take a look at your own life. This verse gives us 5 areas we can look at in our own lives when it comes to how we live and what kind of example we are setting. Take a look at the 5 areas listed below and ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Speech – When the scripture uses the word speech here, it is not just about the words that we use, but it is about the total expressions of what comes out of our mouths. Are our expressions complete, logical, rational ideas based in truth and knowledge? I am not talking about brainstorming here, but about standing firm on ideas that are grounded in Truth.
  2. Conduct – How are we acting? This is a daily focus on our behavior. Are we upright in our choices about what we are doing? At any moment could someone peek into our lives and question if we are a faithful follower of God? How are we spending our time? How are we fighting for justice in the way we live?
  3. Love – Is our Love self sacrificing? How are we treating those around us? Are we patient? Are we a safe haven for people? Are we pointing people to Jesus? Do we gossip? Do we spread rumors or spill others “tea” as we say these days? Are we grace filled and compassionate? Are we holding grudges or offering forgiveness?
  4. Faith – How are we seeking and following Christ? In this context. Faith is not just our belief, but our unswerving commitment.Are we pursuing Jesus daily? Are we spending any time reading the Bible and getting to know the character of God? Are we trusting God in prayer to change our hearts and lead us as we make 1000 little choices every day? Are we spending time making decisions for our life that mimic those of Christ? Are we seeking to be like Christ? Are we engaging in community that encourages us and prays for each other?
  5. Purity – How are we pursuing purity? A lot of people just box this in to sexual purity, but I believe it is so much more. How are we keeping our eyes and ears on things that are Holy? Are we engaging in talk that is negative and discriminatory? Are we filling our hearts and mind with things that numb us to the things that break Jesus’ heart? Are you crossing lines we don’t need to be crossing emotionally and physically with people? Purity is complex, let’s not simplify.

Setting an example is not easy, but no matter what we are probably setting an example for someone. The question is, what kind of example are we setting?

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