“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.”
This is another foundational verse that I hope you will find as encouragement! I get excited every time I read this verse because I have witnessed so many youth, including several of you, who have not let your age be a hindrance to expressing your faith in Christ.
This verse was Paul’s instruction to a young Timothy who he knew would go forth after Paul in leading the early church. What I hope you will take away as we study this verse is that you have more influence on others than you may realize. You can share your faith with another teen in a way that has far more impact than me. You set the example in your actions and in your words. You have the ability to set the bar with your friends on how to conduct yourself.
When I was in high school, I was a “locker hugger”. I was the guy (before backpacks became the norm) who carried all of his books, stacked under one arm, leaning against the lockers as I walked down the hallway so that no one could knock them out of my arm. Yes, I was not the popular, cool guy who walked down the center of the hallway, watching the crowds part before me. I was the guy who just tried to stay out of the way.
As such, I was not an influencer, but was influenced by others. I was a follower, and I was willing to follow anyone, good or bad. You may feel this way at times yourself, but I want to encourage you that you have been given a gift. You have a gift of faith in Christ, and there are “followers” like I was, who are looking for someone like you who will show them this gift of faith in Christ. You, yes you, can change someone’s life. I wish I had met you when I was a teen, as it would have changed my life’s direction for the better. You can do this now with the friends you influence. Remember, Jesus only had twelve disciples, yet from those twelve, they changed the world.
There’s someone in your life that needs you to share your faith. I have been blessed many times now to witness how a youth stepped out and lead a friend to Jesus and it changed the direction of their life. Reflect on these words today, and pray for the Lord to guide your steps towards someone you can have a life-changing impact on by knowing Jesus. You won’t be going alone in this. You have the Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you confidence, and you always have Joe or any of the youth leaders to bounce questions off of if you are certain about how to talk with someone.