The verse I’m writing about today is one who has been a victim of multiple hijackings. It is a verse that has been adopted by the teen community. One that they often tend to use for a sense of entitlement. Prof that they are just as valuable as an elder. Proof of equality in age amongst the body of Christ. Prof that the youth in our churches have value.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) We like this verse. It tells us that the youthful should not be ignored. It tells us that we have a voice. It tells us that we have something to offer. We often forget that it explains how to do this though.
A few things to understand about this verse. This was not written to a teenager. This was written to Timothy who was helping run a church in his mid-thirties. A young adult can be intimidated when he is leading others who are older than him. How does he do this? Should he demand respect because of his title? Should he demand respect because of His devout relationship with God? Should he demand respect because Paul tells him his age should not be a factor?
This verse makes me laugh. Paul gives Timothy some wonderful advice that is painful to hear? Seriously, this verse is an incredible painful verse to follow once you grasp what it is saying. Paul is essentially telling Timothy that people can’t look down on him for being a kid so long as he does not act like a kid.
Want to be treated as an adult? Act like an adult. Want to be treated as wise? Be wise. Want to be treated as a leader wroth following? Be a leader worth following. Want respect? Earn it. We are plagued with a generation leaving college who believe their circumstances required them to be treated like an adult.
As a young college student we used to have goals in mind on leadership to help these boy becomes men during their time at school Looking back on all that I can’t help, but feel it was all a little silly. The goal was sound. We should want boys to become men. However, I was not really a man myself. How could I help others become men when I was not one?
Here is the simple truth. We should have no reason to worry about our age. Our age should not keep us from making an impact in the lives of others. Our age should not keep us from leading. It should be the qualities of a character that define our capability. Do you want to be worth listening to? How is your speech? Do you speak with truth? Do you abstain from crude joking? Do you speak with love? DO you know how to listen or do you just control the argument? Are you quick tempered or do you know how to control your tongue? Age has nothing to do with it.
Want to be an example? Be someone with integrity. Let your actions be worth emulating. Do the things that make others desire to be like you? Being an example comes from actions that are worth emulating. Age has nothing to do with it
Do you want to be trusted and valued? Be someone who shows compassion and care for others. I never have pity one someone who gets angry when they feel their voice is not being heard when it is clear they have given no effort to listen to anyone else. We all feel entitled to receive a sense of love, compassion, and respect from others. Adulthood absent form age demands a much higher toll though. It demands a requirement to be the mature one in leading the charge for compassion, love, and respect on others. Age has nothing to do with it.
Do you want to be looked at as a strong Christian to exemplify? Do you put your faith in Christ? Do you base your value on what other think or on the price God has already paid for you? If you want to be treated as a spiritual mature Christian then you need to start being a spiritual mature Christian. Some people complain how they are still being treated as a child when their behavior tells me that all they are doing is being treated as a child. Age adulthood tells us adulthood means independence. True adulthood tells us the further we go in life the more we must depend on our creator. Age has nothing to do with it.
Do you want to have a serious adult relationship? Do you want to be someone worth confiding in? What are you like when no one is watching? How strong is your discipline when you are giving the opportunity to do something where you know you will never get caught? Age adulthood tells us we are capable of more responsibility. It tells us we are capable of making age adulthood decisions. True adulthood tells us being a man has more to do with whether or not we have been with a woman. It tells us a relationships depth is not defined on the physical elements of the relationship. It tells us that purity is something that extends even beyond sex and takes place in our minds and hearts. It tells us that a life worth emulating is a life that has innocence.
I struggle with all of this. There are times in my life where I feel I am being treated like a child. In those moments I need to stop, and think on this verse to see what I am doing wrong. That is just it. We often take this verse, and believe that anyone who treats us like a child clearly has something wrong with them. The simple truth is this, if you are being treated like a child it is because you are acting like a child. It has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with character.