Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1 Tim 4:12-13
In this two-line instruction is found a lifetime of Christian activity. If we simply exclude the entry sentence, “Let no man despise thy youth,” we have some very clear and profitable goals for all believers.
Instilling this handful of basic life principles would increase us more and more in most areas of our christian walk and make us very well-rounded.
Here, Paul is explaining to Timothy the specific basics that will keep a church going and growing. When followers look at christian leaders, they expect to see certain characteristics as an example of what they themselves are to grow into.
Paul is placing high expectations on a young Timothy, but Timothy’s desire was always to please his God, and he was a willing and worthy junior to Paul.
Firstly, Purity is the strength of the church, and therefore should be exampled by leaders and the elderly in Christ.
In word and conversation, whether in letter, email, text, or face to face, or face-time, does it exude purity and cleanliness, or do we slip into unhealthy words and discussions?
In charity, giving our words and efforts, and sometimes our goods, without a single thought of recompense?
In spirit, ensuring we are prayed-up and in our righteous mind, before we enter into conversations or type/write any words, realising that our words can lift or lower others.
In faith, knowing that everything we do for the kingdom’s sake has its own reward, and every word of scripture we speak into the lives of others will not return void. So, we just keep building ourselves up, faith upon faith, and we are ready at any time to provide blessings to others based on that faith.
Reading and doctrine, which these days includes listening or watching sermons, and realising that not everything we hear is sound doctrine, and many people have been taken from the truth very slowly by not discerning the difference.
Exhortation, reminding ourselves that many people we meet are going to perish, and we can do one of two things. We can either sow the seed of salvation in their hearts or water it, and save someone from hell; but let us not say nothing!