1 Timothy 4:12-16
12 Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Someone is watching you. What are they seeing?
As I write this devotional, the NCAA basketball tournament is going on, and a story was shared about this very question. It seems that the grandson of one of the college coaches was seen on TV imitating his grandfather. Not only was the grandson imitating the actual gestures, hand movement, crossing his arms, stroking his chin, but also he was dressed in the same shirt, tie, and coat.
The story gave strong evidence to the focus of this text. In it, Paul reminds Timothy that people are watching him, and regardless of his age, he should endeavor to present an image worthy to be imitated. The obvious question here is regardless of age: how can one live with such authority, integrity, and focus?
Paul then lays out several avenues of focus for Timothy to cast this image that others will decide is worthy to follow.
Paul first lists five charter traits that young Timothy should adopt and allow to shape his life: speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Timothy is already living according to these values. It seems that maybe Paul is referring to those as reminders of how to live, not only for Timothy, but as an example to others – including you and me. These values expressed in personal relationships provide the context for increasing influence.
The most influential of these verses for me is verse 16. Paul says, “You will ensure salvation for both you and those who hear you.”
What do you think must happen for Timothy to see this accomplished in his life and then for the same to happen in the life of each believer? I will leave you with two suggestions that will influence people – “authentic living” and perseverance in life’s experiences. What will it be for you? Remember, people are watching. What are they seeing?
- Initially check out your faith relations with our Lord. Ask yourself the question, “What is God doing in my life right now?” One way to discover more from this question is to have the conversation between you and a friend. I have found discussing this question with a friend brings out ideas and thoughts I might not have related to.
- Another idea of applying the Scripture is to reflect on the believers who have contributed spiritually to your spiritual journey. What have they taught you? How have they contributed to your recognizing and living out your calling? How have you passed on from them the powerful positive truths to others? Pray that your calling and spiritual giftedness will take root and grow from these past believers in your life.
- Finally, whatever you find to do in your spiritual journey – understanding your calling, applying your spiritual gift – do it with intentionality. The writer of 2 Peter 1:3-5 uses a word translated “make every effort.” Whether you are applying the words of 1 Timothy 4:12-16 or other New Testament truth, the phrase “make every effort” inspires your diligence in making these truths fueled by the Holy Spirit to happen in our life.