Summer has gone by fast — for some, maybe too fast. It’s back-to-school time for teachers and students — public, private, homeschool, college. It’s back to reality, where it’s time to rearrange sleeping schedules and adopt a more structured daily routine. But as we make the effort to ensure our back-to-school checklist is complete, let us also examine what God expects of students — and for that matter, all of us — by considering I Tim. 4:12, which says, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Paul tells Timothy to be an example …
In speech: Our words carry a lot of weight. And as we get older, we increasingly find ourselves exposed to foul language, whether it’s in the hallways at school, workplace, music and movies. That creates a temptation to use profanity and use God’s name in vain. Be an example in your speech (Col. 4:6). Glorify God with your speech.
In conduct: Be consistent in your behavior. Live a life of integrity, not hypocrisy. Remember that someone is always watching you (I Tim. 4:15). They’re watching you to see what kind of progress you’re making, so show others what a life of discipleship is all about.
In love: Be an example in the way you love and show care and kindness. The temptation exists to be self-absorbed. We concern ourselves with having an image and increasing our self-worth. You’ll be around a lot of ungodly people. Let your light shine.
In faith: We’re going to meet people who have a different belief system than us, and we may be tempted to doubt. Study your faith. Know your faith. Hold onto your faith. Love God more than anything else or anyone else.
In purity: The body is the temple of God (I Cor. 6:19-20). There’s an incredible temptation to discard purity and fill our minds and lives with impure thoughts and actions. Flee those desires. Strive to be pure for our Father in heaven.
We’re in a battle and the stakes are high. This is heaven or hell, life or death; this is serious. In Heb. 13:5, God says He “will never leave you nor forsake you.” We are never alone. We serve a God who comforts us. We serve a God who knows us. We serve a God who loves us.