The Apostle Paul wrote the book of 1st Timothy as a leadership manual for his young protege. In chapter 1 Timothy 4:12-16, Paul writes:
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with laying on hands of the leadership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing you will save yourself and those who hear you."
Great example of righteousness by a young person is so powerful. Why? Because young people are supposed to be mistake ridden, they are supposed to be immature, they are supposed to say things that are dumb, they are supposed to move in and out of life changing and life threatening choices on a daily basis, they are supposed to sow their wild oats right?
I used to believe that. But along my way I've met young people who do not fall into this trap of thinking you have to, "get it all out." Jesus was 33 when he started his ministry. When he was 18 to 22 years old I doubt he went on a 4 year partying and drinking binge. We are what we surround ourselves with. We become these things because we have nothing inside that tells us that this is just not what I do.
A great example is Tim Tebow, current QB of the Florida Gators. He is not only the best player in college football, but he is a great example of a young person living a righteous life. He has his skeptics, but I've done my research. I know kids who know Tebow well, who go to practice with him everyday, who hang out on campus with him. They say everything you hear about him is 100% true, he is a authentic in his walk. What a breath of fresh air this guy is. I guarantee, just because this young many walks his talk, he will change lives drastically around him. He shows us that you can be young and not dumb. That you do not have to do what young people think they have to do. He shows us that if you believe you were individually created in Gods image, an being of greatness and infinite power, that you too should not settle for any other path than greatness in your life.
Listen to the words of Paul my young friends. Keep your mouth closed and your walk upright. The more you walk the less you have to talk. People would rather see your message than hear it.
1. Let no one despise your youth (v.12)--Do not let anyone tell you you are too young to make a difference
2. Be an example in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity (v.12)--Walk your walk, keep you words short and uplifting, conduct yourself as an example to the believers. Practice love, faith, and purity.
3. Do not neglect the gift that is in you (v.14)--You were created by a supreme God in his image. You were created for greatness. Do not neglect this gift you've been given. To unleash your gift you must believe in it. You must be live righteously, humbly, and with a desire to change the world around you.
4. Meditate on these things daily (v.15)--Pray for your example, Pray to help resist temptation, drink from the Bible, study the great lives who have been examples in their own lives.
5. Give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all (v. 15)--There is no grey area in an authentic life. You understand that a delving into a little of this will always lead to a lot of it. You must commit to your example. The more you commit, the greater conviction you will have. Your yes will be yes and your no will be no. Only in this will your progress be evident to all.
6. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (v. 16)--Perseverance is the key to greatness in anything. You will be mocked, you will be slandered, you will be called a fake, a fraud, a holy roller. Persevere, my friend. They say the reason that Jesus loved people so much is because he didn't need people. Not that he didn't care, but he did not care about their opinions of Him. He could lead because he was so confident in His life's mission, that He was a off-spring of the Holiest being, the creator of the universe. Your mission, your purpose, and knowing that you have greatness in your DNA should help you continue to walk through the gauntlet of persecution. This perseverance changes lives and changes the world.