3. “Set an example for the Believers…”
Wait. What?! Didn’t Paul JUST say to not let anyone “look down on us because we are young”? I didn’t know I had to make an effort in this thing! It’s the man that needs to see me for who I am. It’s the old folks in the church that need to excuse my behavior. It’s my parents who need to look past my smart mouth… because I am who I am. I will be mature one day. Nope. Wrong. Paul says WE have to be an example…now. WE have to be the ones that earn our reputation! Who cares that you are young?? If you are a believer, your age no longer matters. Do what is right. Stand up. Stand out. Stand alone, if you must…But BE AN EXAMPLE! It’s a common misconception that older people are more spiritually mature than younger people. Guess what? I think if God were to momentarily strip off the flesh and let us view the members of our churches for who they really are in their spiritual walk, we would be surprised to see so many little babies, wearing their spiritual diapers, relying on others to feed them their spiritual milk. Our pews might very well be filled with little babies who can’t do anything on their own. What are you? Are you a baby that relies on someone else to bottle or spoon feed you, or are you digging in on your own, eating spiritual meat, and walking alongside Jesus every day? How can we be the ones to “set an example”?
4. “In speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
-Speech-Does it glorify God?
• “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
• “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
• "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7 (One of the Ten Commandments)
• “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
• “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.” Psalm 63:3
Am I okay with being around bad language, even when I am not using it? Am I okay with watching movies or listening to music that has bad language, or that takes the Lord’s name in vain? Am I conscious of every single sound that comes out of my mouth?
-Life-Does it glorify God?
• "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
• “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:7
• "I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." Psalm 86:12
• “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
• “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23
Am I honoring God with my life? Can other people see something different about me? Am I allowing God to transform me into the likeness of His son? Am I pointing to Jesus with my actions and interests?
-Love-What exactly do you love?
• “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (Ouch. That one hurts a little!)
• “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21
• “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Matthew 12:30
What you do and who you’re with clearly shows people what you love. We really do wear our hearts on our sleeves! If so, I want to wear only Jesus sleeves!
-Faith-Are walking in faith? Do you really believe God is who He says He is?
• “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” Romans 10:17 (Are you in the word everyday?)
• “We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
• “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20
• “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9
• “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16 (Put on the FULL armor of God!)
The way in which you live should reflect the faith you have in Jesus. Are there strangers that watch you in public and wonder if they should share Jesus with you? We are all guilty of letting our flesh take over at times, but are you striving to live a life that is crucified with Christ? I and my sinful desires and actions should no longer live!
-Purity- Are you living a life that is pure?
• “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” Matthew 5:8
• “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” Philippians 1:9-11 (Do you know what is pure and what is not?)
• “so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” Philippians 2:15
• “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4:8 (We like to call this the “Philippians filter”. Anything we do, think, watch, or listen to should make it through this filter!)
• “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22 (Ah- here we are. We have come full circle! This is the same dude that just said, “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” and now he is saying, “flee the evil desires of youth”. PURSUE a life in which you can be an EXAMPLE, regardless of your age!!)
It seems whenever people (especially students) hear the word “purity”, they think of “sexual purity”. This is great and VERY VERY VERY important… but that’s not all. God calls us to live a life with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:4). He asks us to have pure motives behind what we do and an ultimately live a pure, sinless life just as His son did. Is this humanly possible, no, and God knows it too- He just wants to see us strive and work and labor and put forth effort to be like Christ. God ultimately wants to fill heaven with a ton of Jesus’. Are you using this brief time on earth to let God turn you into His son?
So, having broken down this verse, does it seem to take on a different meaning? I’m sure it might not be a favorite after really digging in and seeing it for what it is. We often times tend to go with what defends us and makes US feel better about ourselves. But this life is not about US. It is about God’s only son, whom He sent to die on a cross to save us from death and hell. That is not something we should ever take lightly- even if we are young. No more excuses. Be an example!