Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for individuals, to encourage personal reflection and Bible study.
Spend some time reading and reflecting on 1 Timothy 4: The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some people will turn away from the faith. They will pay attention to spirits that deceive and to the teaching of demons. They will be controlled by the pretense of lying, and their own consciences will be seared. They will prohibit marriage and eating foods that God created—and he intended them to be accepted with thanksgiving by those who are faithful and have come to know the truth. Everything that has been created by God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected. These things are made holy by God’s word and prayer. If you point these things out to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus who has been trained by the words of faith and the good teaching that you’ve carefully followed. But stay away from the godless myths that are passed down from the older women.
Train yourself for a holy life! While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. This saying is reliable and deserves complete acceptance. We work and struggle for this: “Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.” Command these things. Teach them. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure. Until I arrive, pay attention to public reading, preaching, and teaching. Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you. Practice these things, and live by them so that your progress will be visible to all. Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.
Each year in our congregation we invite students who want to apply for a spot on our youth leadership team to answer three questions in a written essay. The invite is open to all ages (except for the youngest grade who needs time to grow into our traditions and particular culture). Inevitably, we hear something similar to the following in response from anyone we personally invite: “I’m not really an up-front type person.” Or, “I don’t think I’d be good at leading others.” These comments are frustrating to hear, and yet I know how the students feel. We often believe—mistakenly—that leadership is only about being visible and good at something.
Actually, leadership is much more about integrity, consistency, influence, and attitude. In the first pastoral letter to Timothy, the author charges him, regardless of being young, to set an example in his “speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure” (4:12.) Timothy is urged on so that in every aspect of his living, he would lead others to a more faith-filled discipleship. How can we help the young people in our congregations truly embody this truth as well?
It takes courage to lead, especially when the stakes are high. It takes faithfulness to live our lives in such a way that our actions continually lead others towards Christ. Leadership rarely looks the same from person to person, but it is always about influencing others and making wise choices.