I am very thankful to be the pastor of a church that places so much emphasis on the spiritual growth and development of teenagers and children. Our Associate Pastor Search Committee has prayerfully reviewed a lot of resumes, searching for that special couple whom God has chosen to come and lead our youth. In addition to their responsibilities in Teens for Christ, they will also have a lot influence in the various facets of our children’s ministries. To borrow a phrase from the late Jerry Falwell, our desire is to train our young people to become – CHAMPIONS FOR CHRIST. Can a child or a teenager be a Champion for Christ? Consider Paul’s words of encouragement and guidance to his young protégé.
1 Timothy 4:12 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. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
First of all Paul told Timothy to not let his youth hold him back from taking his relationship with Christ seriously. Age has nothing to do with our love for the Lord. Anyone who is old enough to know Christ as their Savior is old enough to follow Him as Lord.
Secondly, Paul told Timothy to build his life upon sound biblical truth. Pay attention to sound doctrine. Mediate upon the biblical principles that are found in scripture and give yourself wholly to them. Timeless truth is the sure foundation for a strong successful life.
Thirdly, Paul told Timothy to make full use of the spiritual gifts and abilities God had given to him. ‘Fan into a flame the gift of God’ is what Paul told Timothy in his second letter to him. (see 2 Tim 1:6) In other words – find out what it is that God wants to do with your life and go for it! I appeal not only to our teens, but also to our parents and our church family to do all that we can to encourage our youth to give their lives to the service of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that during the last days, it will become increasingly more difficult to live for Christ. (see 2 Tim 3:1-5) My challenge to our daughters while we were raising them was – “Don’t just be a follower. Be a leader. Drive your stake down deep for Christ and never waver.” That is now my prayer for my grandchildren. I am praying not only for their salvation, but for their Christian service. I pray that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and whoever it is that follows after them will love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength!
Lastly, Paul told Timothy to be an example to the rest of the church of what it means to be a committed follower. Don’t let some older believer who has fallen into a spiritual rut discourage you. Show them by the way you live what it means to be a Christian. It is amazing some of the areas where Paul told Timothy to be an example:
- In word – by the things he said
- In conversation – by the choices he made
- In charity – by the way he demonstrated the sacrificial love of Christ
- In spirit – by his attitude
- In faith – by his faithfulness and commitment
- In purity – by keeping himself sexually and morally pure
Can a teenager be a Champion for Christ? Absolutely. Just look at the champion Timothy.