“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 AMP
Paul spoke these words to Timothy, but they are true for all of us, who are disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who has been trained by God’s word and by His Spirit; someone who has grown up in the Lord over time; not a brand new believer or a baby Christian. As with natural children, spiritual children grow and mature. As our children mature, we expect more of them. As we mature, God expects more of us. We must not behave like a spiritual baby or make excuses for it. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should not sin or make excuses for sin. We have no grounds for excuses. The blood of Jesus not only washed away our sin, but it deprived sin of its power over us (Romans 6:6-7).
Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). 1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP
Paul obediently submitted himself to the Word and Spirit of God, following the example Jesus set, not for his own benefit alone, but as an example, or a pattern, for us to follow. Jesus is our ultimate example. We are to follow Him and be an example and pattern to others of His love, humility, grace, and purity. Even if we are young in age, we can still walk in the wisdom of God and His righteousness, earning the respect of others. God expects us to be a good example to other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. James 3:2 AMP
The person who can control his mouth is a person who is mature in God and who has submitted himself to God’s word and His Spirit, to the best of his ability. This person is wise in his speech, gracious and loving. Ephesians 4:15 says that we should speak the truth in love. Colossians 4:6 says that our speech should at all times be gracious, as if it were seasoned with salt.
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Titus 2:6-8 NKJV
God wants us to show a pattern of good works – integrity in word and deed. That means it should be a habit for us; a way of life.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV
The love of God manifested in our lives demonstrates two things: that we know the Lord Jesus Christ and that we are disciples of His. This means that we have allowed God to do a work in us so that He can work through us. We are conformed to His image and we obey Him in all things.
We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds. 4 And this is a cause of our mentioning you with pride among the churches (assemblies) of God for your steadfastness (your unflinching endurance and patience) and your firm faith in the midst of all the persecutions and crushing distresses and afflictions under which you are holding up. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 AMP
Faith is manifested in two ways: belief and commitment (faithfulness). Because we believe in the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and His Word, we obey Him and therefore we stand firm through all kinds of persecutions and difficulties. This is an example and encouragement to other believers.
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 NKJV
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 AMP
The Word of God tells us to flee everything that is impure and fix our thoughts on those things that are pure. Just as Jesus and Paul are our examples, our models, so we should desire and strive to be a good example to others so that they too can live a godly life and experience the joy and the blessings of obeying and serving our wonderful, gracious Lord and Savior!