Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12 NIV
This was one of my favorite passages when I was a young believer. As a young man, and new believer, I remember feeling like many of the older people in the church did not take me too seriously; sometimes maybe for good reason. It was oftentimes frustrating, but I took encouragement from this verse.
It told me to set an example for other believers. To let my speech be pure, edifying, and encouraging. That my conduct should be above reproach, something that could be challenging for a young sailor. To demonstrate love, faith, and purity in all that I do. Being an example to older believers who might otherwise dismiss me because of my age and inexperience. Earn their respect. And be an example as well to my peers, who all too often are more interested in worldly pursuits. Show them what the Christian life is all about.
While this was written to a relatively young man who had some responsibility for multiple churches, it is applicable to all believers. Is your life a good example, not just for your children, but also for the believers around you, both younger and older? If someone were to ask you how to live worthy of the gospel, could you respond with ‘like me’?