As we see the things that are taking place in our society, we become aware of young people who are crying out for mentors. They are looking for those who believe in them and are willing to lead them into something meaningful, exciting and fruitful.
Regardless of your current occupation or profession, in spite of where you live - in a rural neighbourhood, or in a busy city - you are called to be an example. Whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed, if you are a true believer, you are called to be an example. We are given every opportunity to be examples and mentors in our society.
1 Timothy 4:12 gives us a very special key to being examples. In this passage, Paul encourages Timothy saying, “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” (KJV). This suggests that we all should model what a believer should be.
Being an example in word and in our conversation is a very serious charge. Very often people judge us by what we say. It is therefore necessary to weigh the thoughts that precede our words. Our speech and our conversation should be such that others can listen to us and be edified. The words of our mouths and our meditations and thoughts should always be ‘acceptable’ in the sight of Yahweh and in the ears of men. In addition, we are not to be gossipers or loose-tongued. Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” Very often our unwisely spoken words come out of an unguarded heart and mind. We are to speak cautiously, knowing that we are being both watched and followed. How will we be able to rebuke others if our own word cannot be trusted?
Proverbs 4:23 charges, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (KJV). As believers, we should not allow our circumstances, and the emotions that arise, to dictate the words that come out of our mouths. Our hearts should be filled with words of wisdom and life for those who look to us for direction.
1 Timothy 4:12 goes on to tell us that we should be an example in our conduct. Our actions should be a reflection of our words. Our conduct, meaning our behaviour and our lifestyle, should be an example to others. Being an example in conduct may mean at times that what is considered the ‘norm’ for others may not be right for you. When you are called to a position of influence or example, you give up the right to say and do whatever you want to do, at any time and in any way. As a believer, you may have to sacrifice some of your liberties for the sake of unbelievers or others of our brethren who are weak.
There is a lack of love and compassion in this world. The absence of love has resulted in an unhappy and often violent world; a world filled with war and hatred. There is a love vacuum. The believer should strive to fill this void, by expressing Yahshua’s unconditional love to one another and to the world. People should be able to come to us and know that they can receive love on a consistent, constant basis. Showing love to people means being genuinely interested in them and having a servant’s heart toward them. Has someone left your presence feeling personally uplifted because he/she has felt and experienced the warmth of Yahshua’s love in you?
If we are to be examples in spirit, then we must be under the control of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit at all times. The spirit of the world is wreaking havoc in the hearts of sinners and we are to effectively show the power and the effect of salvation on our lives by being exemplary in spirit. We demonstrate Yahshua and His righteousness to the world by living and walking in His Spirit. The influence of His Holy Spirit upon our lives will in turn influence others.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that, “…without faith it is impossible to please [Yahweh].” The exemplary believer is one with whom Yahweh is pleased. Very often we are given to anxiety and worry. The true believer, should not only talk ‘faith’, but should possess faith. We should be constant in faith and full of conviction. People today are looking beyond words and are looking for those who truly possess what they profess to believe. They are looking for those who are genuine, joyful and at peace. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to [Yahweh], and the peace of [Yahweh], which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in [Yahshua the Messiah]” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Being chaste and pure is a challenge in this immoral and corrupt world. But Yahshua has equipped us with His Word and His Spirit and will enable us to be examples of purity. Purity suggests blameless lives, without blemish, sober and dignified. Moral purity in behaviour is a must for all believers. Your behaviour as a true, dedicated believer should never cause anyone to doubt your faithfulness in Yahshua.
There is a cost involved in being a true, dedicated, committed disciple – a person of influence. The cost may seem too great, but it will be for your blessing and for those who are following your example. Paul closes 1 Timothy 4:16 with the clear challenge: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Think of your reward!
1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you..."