What Does It Mean to “Despise Your Youth?”


By: Waylon Bailey ~

What did Paul mean when he counseled Timothy not to let anyone despise his youth?

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

As a youth, I heard that verse many times and read it many times. Never did I hear any preacher tell me how I was supposed to live by that verse.

What does it mean, and how are we to apply it?

First, let’s talk about what it doesn’t mean. It certainly doesn’t mean that young people (or any other believers) should bow their necks and demand their rights. There are many people in the world who demand their rights, but that is not for Christians. We are called to be servants, to be servant leaders. When we speak the truth, we speak the truth in love.

Paul was not encouraging Timothy to exalt himself. Christians must exalt Christ–Christ alone.

Second, let’s talk about what the verse does mean.

Paul is calling on Timothy to lead by example and to show believers what it means to live a holy and Godly life, exalting Christ alone.

Paul meant Timothy should not think of himself as young, weak, or insignificant. Instead he should see that he had a significant responsibility to encourage believers in their faith and to show them the ways that please God.

If you live in ways that displease God and harm the church, people might have a reason to look down on your youth. If young people take up the challenge and live to please and honor God, they will be seen as they are–Godly leaders who should be respected and revered.

Paul wanted Timothy–though young–to be faithful to God in all things and the kind of leader who leads by a Godly example.

God wants us to do the same.

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Have a great week!