My latest article. - Let no man despise thy youth.
Let no man despise thy youth.
As we go through life, I believe many of us believe we have grown or gained knowledge.
For example, if we talk to a 20 year old, he will readily admit he knows a lot more as a college student than he did at 10 when he was in 6th grade. When one talks to a person in their 40s, many feel that they know more today than they did when they were 20 and if they had to do it over, they would do some things different. I assume that as one reaches senior citizen age, they have additional life experiences that they can share with others.
Because of this the Bible instructs us wisely to honor the elders. While our society today teaches to put our older people away, and focus on the fleeting beauty of youth, it is stabbing us in the foot. The society, advertisers, companies wish us to focus on youth so that the wisdom of the elders is gone and that the media is the one replacing the godly father's leadership role with theirself for the purpose of influencing us the way that benefits them. The lie builds on our pride and is nothing new. It goes back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent told Eve, that she would be wiser than God and didn't have to listen to Him or respect His commandments.
Many youths through their lack of wisdom believe that they know everything and the adults know nothing, which is not true. When I was in high school, I noticed that there were people who applied them self. Some gained wisdom slowly, some who worked hard to improve had learned more. Those who didn't try had less.
Regardless any age, there are people who have more knowledge or less knowledge. A small part of it is genetics. A big part of it is what direction one desires to focus. Whether they desire to grow in knowledge and maturity or rather spend the time watching mindless entertainment or playing video games that teach little knowledge to one. Also, with the wide variety of knowledge out there one can learn through their life, everyone will know something a little different and all can learn from them. For example one who has a legal degree at 35 probably will know more about law than an 65 year old physicist, yet the physicist will know more about science. Some may have years of experience drawing closer and closer to God. Others might have years of experience being a criminal or a con artist, so we need to be careful who we have influencing us, and what knowledge we have entering our minds.
In our society because we have certain things revealed to us, (ie sciences, technology, etc.) we have many pieces of knowledge that were not known in the past. Therefore in these areas of our current society, we have knowledge which is greater than the past. TV, computers, space travel are examples of this knowledge that we have different. Conversely, the nurturing environment is not as sheltered from sin as it was 100 years ago in the united states/europe. There are many negative influences on the lives of our society today training their brains and becoming a part of their formative years. Therefore, those who grew up in the past, where learning the bible, morality and other pieces of wisdom isolated from the influences of our modern decadent culture in their early schooling, grew much closer to God and had greater wisdom in those saints than we do today in our world. So as I look at the christian leaders of many denominations, many appear be a blend of our current decadent/socialist values with christian principles, rather than those who were totally separated from that world and didn't have to be politically correct to pacify them. I need to also point out that there were also areas of enlightenment that they did not have. also. so the point being made here, is that if one does not have spiritual leaders as role models, one can also learn at the feet of the past saints in their writings as well as our blessed Lord through the holy scriptures.
Because of the lack of wisdom of the elders and the modern environment, many youths have less exposure to gaining godly knowledge from the elders. Many youths without the knowledge come across as wreck less or carefree. This may cause elders to think less of them. Yet at the same point, the way we overcome is not to merely brush it off but to strive to know our weakness and go to improve ourselves. And those who do, will reach greater hights and wisdom, growing on the wisdom of the elders which they will appreciate.
Timothy had a similar situation and Paul wrote to him the oft quoted phrase, "let no man despise thy youth". And I see so many youth quoting this as if it implied their youthfulness and immaturity should be appreciated. But what it is saying is that Paul's goal was for Timothy to be a youth that should not be despised.
How quick they forget the second half of the verse where Paul gives the solution to being despised. The way he says to gain the respect is to "be thou an example of the believers, in
word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Notice Paul did not tell Timothy, go out and demand respect? He showed him instead how to earn it.
Lets go through each part of this verse.
"an example"- the greek word here is toopos which means, a model for imitation, , pattern, form. So what this word is saying that instead of being despised, we should strive to be the best in these following areas where we will be one that others desire to copy.
in word. The word word here (logos) means something said, by implication of topic, reasoning, computation.
The bible teaches us to beware of idle words. Too often all of us at all ages speak frivolously, but rather it is teaching we must strive to watch what we say, that it is holy, godly and just and that we are a proper example of the king of kings. let us not strive to justify our self, but rather seek the truth of God and be able to have the verbal/logical skills to communicate it wisely to others.
Conversation- the Greek word here is anastrophe which basically means our behavior. We should strive to be a role model of perfect behavior. How sad in Christians of all ages we see behavior in our professing christian community focused on the things of the world rather than god. As we do our tasks, we should ask our self, is this what Jesus would do? Is this bringing me closer to the blessed lord? Or is this action causing me to fall farther from him.
in charity- The Greek word here is agape, which means the greatest love. The love of sacrificing one's self for another. how true the words in the holy scriptures which say," without love i am nothing". and when Jesus states, the greatest commandment is to love the lord with all your heart soul and strength. Paul is not saying that we should merely love others. He is saying that our love should be a role model. And the greatest source of love is the one who loved us the most, our blessed Lord Jesus. That when people see us, they see Jesus in us and his love though us, then we can truly be a light to his truth. How sad when many professing Christians say they do not love their brother or they do not love their neighbor. Is God happy with that? Is he not grieved like the ruler who forgave so much to a man yet the man refused to forgive something small of his neighbor? As we grow closer to God, we will understand his love, the truest and greatest love and that love will spread out to others.
in spirit-this is the spirit or one's rational soul. It is our essence. When people see us, our essence and our spirit should be in line with God's spirit, facing the same direction, desiring the same things. As John the Baptist once said, not my will, but thine. So should we have a heart seeking the things of God so when people see us, they know our heart is desiring the Lord.
in faith-the greek word here is pistis, which means our beliefs or moral convictions. when people look at us, what do they say as we believe? Do we mouth the things of God, but by our actions we live a different life and show a different belief system? Faith in God, our belief in HIm should be a centerpiece in our life where our actions flow. It is not following laws, but coming from a heart who truly believes God, trusts God and can not be happy in any other path than serving God. Let us look at our heart, and search out our beliefs truly are, and then use that knowledge to resist the lies of the devil.
in purity- the greek word here is cleanliness specifically chastity. or physical purity. The culture of our world is to sleep around outside of marriage. Our society, not only doesn't find it wrong, it glorifies it. Many churches don't desire to address this sin because it is so rampant in our society. Yet God takes a firm stand against it throughout the old and new testaments. Our youth today, many in our churches unfortunately are committing fornication and think its fun. Also we give our virgin children to men/women who have them as one of many women in their life because they are pleasing to us, or have things of the world, or are great seducers. Yet we see here, that it makes the person dirty, it isn't pleasing to God yet they don't care and commit deliberate sin because they believe it will be forgiven, yet they forget to realize that deliberate sin perhaps is a sign of problems with their relationship with God in the belief area. How sad it is that we no longer aspire to seek the purity of Body .the bible says that fornication is a sinning against our body, and describes it as marriage when it says the two become one. Let us not only remain pure for marriage, let us also respect purity and not hold it as a nice extra but rather a value that God desires of us, and teaches us leads to the best relationships of this earth.
So to summarize, understand those who are older than us, likely have more wisdom than us. That we should seek after godly elders for wisdom. Whether we are younger, or older, let us be willing to respect others, learn of others, and respect the wisdom of those who are older, wiser and godly. Rather than despise others, let us love them. Rather than defend ourselves, let us strive to be more perfect and pleasing to our master.