We are living in a time when there are not many positive role models or people whom we can look up to or whose life we can emulate. It is because of this you find that many teenagers are turning to a life of crime and violence and are not morally pure. This is why we all need to play our part in impacting the world around us. You may not be able to preach like the apostle Paul or travel the world preaching the gospel, but you can change the world around you one person at a time. If we all will play our part in making a positive impact on people we come in contact with then I believe this world would be a better place; and where better to learn how to do this but by going to the word of God?
The apostle Paul in the book of 1 Timothy 4:12 has some helpful ways in which we can make a positive impact on the world around us.
Before we look at these words, who was Timothy? Timothy came from a mixed parental background as his father was a Greek (Ac 16:1,3) and his mother was a Jewess. He was one of Paul’s convert who faithfully followed and helped to spread the gospel with Paul. It is believed that Timothy was a resident, and apparently a native, either of Lystra or Derbe, cities Paul visited and spread the gospel of Jesus on his 1st missionary journey (Ac 14:6).
Paul was strongly attracted to Timothy, and seeing his unfeigned faith, and that from a child he had known the sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament (2Ti 3:15), and seeing also his Christian character and deportment, and his entire suitability for the work of the ministry, allowed him to accompanied him on his missionary journey and encourage him to:
“Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”- 1 Timothy 4:12
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These are examples that each one of us can follow and thus will have a positive impact on others around us. The Bible said that the people that know their God shall do exploits (Daniel 11: 32), young people are not too young (e.g. children and teenagers) therefore to make a change in the lives of others as those who follow the words of God and know who they are will do great things. We all can make a change wherever we go, it just take ONE to change the whole world. For example, one young person can make a positive impact in the lives of one family, that one family can do the same thing to another family and this continue until what we have is like a domino effect.
Are you ready to be an example like Timothy and play your part in having a positive influence on your peers and others around you? Well let’s follow the words spoken to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4: 12 as to do this we will need to have these characteristics:
- In word- The bible said that we should refrain our tongue from evil, and our lips that they speak no guile (1 Peter 3:10) and that we are not to speak evil one to another (James 4:11). Instead, we are to speak things that will uplift, edify and strengthen others around us. Our conversation should be pure as God is holy with sound speech that cannot be condemned that no one will have any evil to say of us (Titus 2: 8; 1 Peter 3; 16). For us to make a positive impact on others our conversation should therefore not be corrupt or impure so that no one will be offended or disgusted at our speech. For this to happen we must all put away conversations that are mixed with bitterness, wrath, anger, malicious, slandering, and put on conversation that are be tender and peaceful (Ephesians 4:29, 31). Our words should be gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6)
If we murmur, slander, if we are whisperers, liars, speak curse words, always speaking negative words and not having control on what we say, we will not have a positive influence on others and thus will not be well respected and pleasing to God.
- In Conversation-The word ‘conversation’, as used in this verse, refers to behavior or in conduct and not literally having to do with speaking. What Paul was encouraging Timothy to do was to be an example to others in how he conducts himself. We cannot behave like everyone else and expects to be treated differently. Those who want to influence the world are not merely followers, but are leaders; they are the head and not the tale. They do not engage in behaviors that doesn’t become that of a Christian but they set positive examples for others to follow (Phil 1: 27). For example, if everyone around them is getting drunk, speaking vulgar, and destroying other people’s property, they will be the one in the group to say NO and stand by their believes that such action is wrong. They are not easily influence to engage in lawless and unchristian-like behaviors.
The people that have the greatest influence on the world are those that will not be like everyone else who are behaving in an ill manner, but they will practice discretion in their behavior and shine like the sun. These are the people that will stand out in a crowd.
- In charity- Another word for charity is love. It is important for us to have fervent love for, not only those who loves us or who are close to them, but for everyone, even people who seems unlovable (Romans 12: 18). As Christians we must manifest the power of love wherever we go.
Jesus told his disciples that if they are to be his disciples then they have to love each other (John 15: 12) and that he had showed the greater love and thus showed men how to love as he did the ultimate thing, he died on the cross for everyone, even the vilest (most dangerous or worst) of sinners (John 3:16; John 15: 13; Romans 5:7-10). If Jesus can love the homosexual, lesbian, murderers, rapist, liars, robbers, child molesters etc (God loves the person, not the sin or crime), to the point of laying his life on the cross for all of us, then we too can show love to EVERYONE we see and don’t see. If we love God with all of our heart, soul and with all of our mind (Matthew 22:37) then it will be very easy for us to show love with all sincerity to others out of a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5), for how shall we say we love God who we don’t see and yet do not show love to others (1 John 4:7-9, 20)? In this way we are telling God that we love him.
If we show love to others then we will: be kind, tolerate their mistakes, failures and shortcomings, do not steal or lie to others in such a manner that cause great pain, be faithful, will not slander (speak evil against others falsely), will not envy, or murmur against each other, will bear each other up (help each other through each person problems in any way we can, even in prayers), will not easily be puff up with each other, not boastful by belittling others, etc.
- In spirit- Those with an excellent character, and who are positive role models will have compassion on others, and have a mild, meek, and forgiving disposition.
- In faith- They are times that our faith in God will be shaken and at that time we might feel like we want to throw in the towel, but at these times we are to remember that they are others that might be looking up to us. Therefore even when we are dying inside and want to just throw in the towel, in the midst of our trials we are be an example to others showing them how to maintain unshaken confidence in God. It is while we are doing this that we will help others to overcome their struggles and overcome ours as God will work upon our faith and trust in him.
- In purity- We are now living in the last days when men heart has become desperately wicked and people no longer believe in godly morals (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 3:1-7), but in spite of all this, you are put on this earth to make a difference. Even if no one else is living holy and following biblical moral principles YOU MUST show them how to be morally pure. YOU MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE, why? because you are an example, you are a role model, you were born in such a time as this to show your peers and others around you how to live, YOU! You don’t be like everyone else. There should be nothing in your conduct with the others that would give rise to scandal and or cause persons to look down on you or become a cast away. YOU have a responsibility not only to GOD but a responsibility to the world around you. What will you do? Will you be as holy as him who called you is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16; 3:16; Matthew 5:48)?
It was very clear that Timothy was a young evangelist, and such it is possible that Paul feared that many will not give him the respect he deserve, Paul therefore encouraged him to be an example to the believers so that he will have sound speech that cannot be condemned (Titus 2: 8). We too should be strong and be an example to others around us.
Although Paul was addressing Timothy, a very young man in the ministry, everyone, not only young people, can apply these words unto their lives. We all need positive role models, people that will have a positive influence on us, will YOU BE ONE OF THEM?
The power of one is strong!!
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”- 2 Timothy 2:1, 3
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