1 Timothy 4:12
In the last few months, I’ve had conversations with a couple of teenage guys. Though each of these guys is radically different in personality and style from each other, they share a rare trait.
Maturity. I have come away impressed by the seriousness, discipline, and determination to follow Christ with purpose and passion. I’m excited about what God is going to do through their lives.
But interestingly, I’ve heard others who know these guys say things like this, “This dude is so serious. He needs to lighten up, have fun. Don’t be in a rush to grow up.”
It wasn’t friends saying this. It was parents, leaders, and even ministry workers. It was as if something was wrong with a teenage guy demonstrating manliness and maturity.
How wrong. I gave these guys a bit of advice I want to give you today, if you’re a young person following Christ. It’s the advice taken straight from Paul’s words to Timothy.
“Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but be an example.” In other words, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a spiritual leader in your teenage years. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too serious. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to wait to make a serious impact for God’s church.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how we spend so much time whining about how “kids these days” are always screwing up and how “kids these days” are leaving the faith because they care more about Xbox and iTunes and Facebook. But the truth is that there is a generation of Christian young people who are passionate about making a difference for Christ in the world.
I’ve seen these kids and I’m excited for the church. But if you’re one of these kids, I’m telling you to ignore the negative voices, ignore those who say you’re not old enough to know the Bible and to walk humbly before your God (Micah 6:8).
Don’t let anyone hate on your maturity. Instead, be an example, even to those older than you. Don’t let them dumb down God as if you’re too stupid or too ignorant to follow Him.
That’s a strategy of the enemy, who would rather you live as a safe, air-conditioned Christian than a Christian who passionately pursues the best things.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.