Have you ever felt too young, or really too anything, to serve Jesus in boldness? You read the Word, feel a deep burning inside to live what you are reading, but then step back from it because you are afraid what people will say? You see something in Scripture that you don't see anyone in the Church doing so you back away from it even though you have a conviction to live it? Please don't do that. There are many things that Christians are not doing as we lead a life of duplicity. We are not living as we aught and if Jesus returns soon we are going to have to answer for it, but don't let that stop you from living the life of bold faith.
Paul had left his spiritual son, Timothy, in Ephesus to oversee things and to guide the saints in God's way and in solid Biblical understanding. We have no idea how old he was but he was young to be in this position. He must have been a remarkable man for Paul to put such trust in him. He told Timothy this:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
I know many young people like to quote this verse but not many actually do anything with it. It is great to read it and to be encouraged by it but it is even better to put it into practice. The only way you can do this is by a complete, and I mean complete, surrender to Jesus. So many young people are distracted by their own false sub-culture. They get caught up in fashion, entertainment, friends, even education. They lose sight of the greater values of faith, love and family. A complete surrender is when we come to realize that there is nothing greater than Jesus; when we "sell" everything we possess to follow him. Consider what Paul wrote to his friend.
Set an example in speech. The words you choose to use say a lot about what is on your mind, in your heart and what you are allowing in through what you read, listen to and watch. Your vocabulary is often the result of your environment and your entertainment choices. When you spend the majority of your time hanging out with Jesus he will become your greatest influence. Your vocabulary, the kindness of your words, the priorities you show in your speech, will all reflect this. May I add, the stuff you blog about, that you re-blog or re-tweet is an extension of your speech. I follow a lot of Christians on Tumblr and you would be hard pressed to believe that some of them were followers of Jesus by the things they include in their re-blogging. Set an example, not for the world but for fellow believers. They need some good examples.
Set an example in life. What is life to you? What is it's purpose? What is your attitude toward it? Understanding this will impact what you do with it. We are only here for a short time and we are here as servants. Servants operate in obedience, doing what they have been instructed to do. Servant's are not here for their own pleasure and enjoyment. You must realize that our reward is in the life to come but here we must work hard and in boldness, to present Jesus to those who are lost. Acts of kindness are important but our higher calling is to testify concerning Jesus and to make disciples. This is life for us, not to be thrown away on pleasures but to be invested in the lives of the lost. Set an example for the believers.
Set an example in love. This is a big word in a teenagers life. It is a big word in an adult life. It is a word that is abused and it is an emotion that gets trampled on. The fact is Jesus has defined love as a willingness to lay down our life for someone. He then tells us to love our neighbour, to love our enemy. He also tells us that this love must be of the same quality as his love for us. Wow! Have you studied 1 Corinthians 13? Have you considered the cross? Is this how you would define love? Is this what you are living every day? As long as we allow ourselves to be injured by offenses and seek revenge for what is done against us, we know that we have not yet matured in love. Love is constant sacrifice and giving without any expectation of getting back. Love is pouring ourselves into the lives of other people, especially into those who hate us. Love is giving up everything for the benefit of other people. Set an example for the believers.
Set an example in faith. This is a big one considering that most people don't even know what faith is. Faith is beyond belief, it is actually acting on that belief. Faith is being certain of what you cannot see. Faith is stepping out into the dark, trusting that what Jesus said is true. Faith is not words alone but words that provoke us into action. Faith is doing and being. Faith is taking God at his word and living our life according to that word. Faith is leaving behind everything that makes sense in the natural and striking out on a new path that very few people can even see, where we speak to mountains to make them move, where we walk on the water, where we give sight to the blind, give hope to the hopeless, heal the sick, raise the dead, pass through the dark valleys while singing and dancing to the Lord. Go beyond belief and enter that realm of faith in action, which pleases God. I will tell you this, faith without cost is no faith at all. Set an example for the believers.
Set an example in purity. Sex is what probably jumps to mind but purity is more than a physical thing. It is a lot of what I have already written. It is a purity of spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is where God speaks with us and where we worship him. We do not want to allow anything to pollute this part of us. We do not want to introduce any idols, including self in this place. Keep it pure, for God's use alone. Our soul is really everything that makes us human. You may think of it as your personality and it includes your intellect and emotions. The Word tells us to keep our mind and heart fixed on things above. These two areas are so open to other influences, we need the Spirit's help to keep our soul pure. Being careful of what we allow in goes a long way. Stop watching movies and shows that we know do not honour God and use sin as entertainment. Then there is our body, which often follows the lead of our heart and mind. Your body is no longer yours, it was purchased at great cost. Honour God with it by keeping it pure. Sexual sin and and abuse to the body are the most devastating sins as they are done inside of us, they go in deep and are long lasting. Set an example for the believers.
You want to live your life for Jesus? Then stop sitting on the fence. Stop trying to keep a foot in both worlds. Stop living a double life. Go for it. Dive in the deep end and give to Jesus every aspect of your life, the whole thing. Set an example for believers in what it is to live a passionate life for Jesus, especially living by faith. Don't fit into the crowd of believers who are going in the wrong direction. Instead, set an example as Paul has told Timothy to do and consider this:
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (Timothy 4:16)
You have no idea who you are influencing by the example you are setting, so make sure it is an example you can be proud of when you stand before the King of kings.