God’s Word Goes Forth: Encourage One Another in Faith
1 Timothy 4:1-16: Today’s passage includes warnings about false teachings, along with personal advice to Timothy. Timothy is told not to let anyone undermine him because of his youth and to continue sharing his gifts by reading Scripture, preaching and teaching.
Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:12b
Be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity.
1 The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. 2 Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. 3 Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. 4 Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, 5 because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God. 6 If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7 But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9 This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. 10 We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe. 11 Give them these instructions and these teachings. 12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. 13 Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things and devote yourself to them, in order that your progress may be seen by all. 16 Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Timothy was probably younger than other church leaders of his time. What advice does he receive that could help him be a respected leader despite his youth? How are younger leaders treated in the church today? How do you respond to young church leaders? How can the church embrace new styles of leadership from young people?
God of Grace, at the height of his ministry, Jesus was a young man. May his example remind the church that young people are particularly gifted to share your word. Lift them up and empower them. Amen.