READING: Jeremiah 3-5, 1 Timothy 4
“Let no one despise you for your youth.”
1 Timothy 4:12
We don’t know how old Timothy was when Paul wrote 1 Timothy to him, but scholars place him somewhere in the range of 25-35 years old. However old he was, he was still young enough that others saw him as “young” – perhaps even too young to lead. His mentor, Paul, knew exactly how Timothy might overcome that perception, though. He could counter that thinking by making sure that he gave attention to being an example “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).
Externally, Timothy would show his maturity by his words and his conduct. His words would not be rash, impetuous, or unthoughtful. His speech would not be filled with filthy talk and immoral jokes. Other young men might follow that pattern, but not Timothy. Likewise, his life would be marked by godly living; his evident righteousness would suggest that he was much older than he actually was. Internally, Timothy’s maturity would be evident in his love, faith, and purity. He would serve others in love – unlike the self-focus that so often marks youth. His commitment to God would be an example of faith. In contrast to many young men, he would fight for godliness in his thoughts and his actions, choosing purity over the temporary pleasures the world offered. By his personal conduct and his biblical teachings (1 Tim. 4:16), Timothy would overcome his apparent age deficiency.
The words to Timothy, though, speak to all of us. If we gave intentional attention to these five areas – our speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity – our gospel witness would be significantly stronger. The world would see our faith in our actions and hear it in our words.
- Review your life in light of the five areas of witness Paul listed. Pray about your weakest area.
- Make a deliberate choice to live in purity today.
PRAYER: “God, I want to be a better witness in these areas. Help me to be filled with Christian integrity.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 6-8, 1 Timothy 5