Don’t Look Down on Me

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Have you ever felt like your age gets in the way of experiencing something big, or doing something important? Have you ever been treated a certain way, or not trusted to handle responsibility because you’re too young? You might even feel like because of your age, you can’t really do anything big until you’re all grown up.

1 Timothy 4:12 says: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” Age does not restrict God (nothing can) from using young people in amazing ways! In fact, if you look through the Bible, you can see that God loves to use youth for important tasks. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were only teenagers when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Josiah was crowned king of Judah at the age of eight, the Bible saying “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.” (1 Kings 22:2). David was a youth when he fought Goliath, and though his own father overlooked his abilities, God did not. In the New Testament, Mary was a teenager when the Holy Spirit came upon her to conceive Jesus. She gave birth to the Savior of the World!

While we’re young, we are often seen as “unprepared” or “unready” for certain responsibilities, both big and small. And the fact of the matter is that it’s true in a lot of circumstances. You’re still growing up, finding your talents and gifts, and figuring out who you are. But it’s important to remember that your age doesn’t prevent you from changing the world!

1 Timothy 4:12 goes on to say: “…but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Well how do we set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity?

Ephesians 4: 24, 25 & 29 says, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” This is how we can set an example for other believers in speech. By not exaggerating the truth about things in our lives, and by lovingly telling the truth even when it’s difficult. James 4:1 says, “Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law.” Don’t gossip!

Matthew 5:14-16 says: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” This is a way we set an example for other believers in conduct. That way, not only are we showing love to those around us (another commandment by God, but we’ll get to that later), but we are also being good witnesses of Jesus.

John 13:34 says: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” In love (I told you we’d get around to it), we should serve one another with good heart, which could be giving our time to someone, or showing God’s love through our actions, like not retaliating in anger when someone wrongs you, or making friends with the kid that no one hangs out with, or maybe sending an encouraging text to someone when you know they need it.

Hebrews 11:1 says: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” As humans, we often want evidence of something before we choose to believe in it, and that’s why having faith can be so difficult. But true, unwavering faith has great outcomes, as seen in the Bible. The Bible gives us plenty of evidence of God’s faithfulness to His people. You just need to READ it and your faith in Him and His Word will grow more and more.

I encourage you to read the rest of Hebrews 11 (yes, right now), which is also known as the “Bible Hall of Faith”. It refers to about twenty different people who had faith in God and His promises. In verses 33-35 it says, “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.” How awesome! Never underestimate the power of putting your faith in God!

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says: “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” This is one way to set an example of purity. Staying away from sexual sin can start with what you wear. Help protect your brother or sister in Jesus from impure thoughts that can lead to sexual sin by dressing modestly. Also, keeping your own mind pure will empower you to live in purity and set a good example for others. This may take not watching inappropriate things on TV or in movies, not being around friends that are poor influences in this area, and not reading novels and listening to music that are sexually explicit.

Recently, the library was giving away free books in the “Teen” section, so I picked up what I thought looked like a good book involving mythology. In Chapter 2 it implied that a high-school girl was going to sleep with her boyfriend, and I wasn’t sure where the book was about to take me, but I didn’t want to go wherever it was. What you watch, read, and listen to can either promote pure thoughts or poison them. Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Naomi’s Nugget: Notice how 1 Timothy 4:12 says you are to set an example to all believers, that includes adults too! And don’t worry, everyone sins, messes up, and stumbles from time to time. Those in the “Bible Hall of Faith” were FAR from perfect – just read their full stories!

— S. Naomi King

Severn Run