Key Verse: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NLT)

6-10 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

Are you in shape both physically and spiritually? 

In our society, much emphasis is placed on physical fitness, but spiritual health is even more important. 

Our physical health is susceptible to disease and injury, but faith can sustain us through any tragedy. 

To train ourselves to be godly, we must develop our faith by using our God-given abilities in the service of the church (see 1 Timothy 4:14-16). 

Are you developing yuor spiritual muscles? 

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:10)

Christ is the Savior for all, but His salvation becomes effective only for those who trust Him. 

11-14 Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:12)

Timothy was a young pastor. 

It would have been easy for older Christians to look down on him because of his youth. 

He had to earn the respect of his elders by setting an example in his speech, life, love, faith, and purity. 

Regardless of your age, God can use you. 

Whether you are young or old, don’t think of your age as a handicap. 

Live so others can see Christ in you. 

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:13)

The “Scriptures” referred to here are, in fact, the Old Testament. 

We must make sure to emphasize the entire Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. 

There are rich rewards in studying the people, events, prophecies, and principles of the Old Testament. 

Reflection: (! Timothy 4:14)

Highly skilled and talented athletes lose their abilities if their muscles aren’t toned by constant use. 

Likewise, we will lose our spiritual gifts if we don’t put them to work. 

Our talents are improved by exercise, but failing to use them causes them to waste away from lack of practice and nourishment. 

What gifts and abilities has God given you? 

Use them regularly in serving God and others. 

(See Romans 12:1-8, 2 Timothy 1:6-8 for more on using well the abilities God has given us.)

15-16 Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:12-16)

Apparently Timothy needed some encouragement.

Most likely, so do many people around you.

Each day we have many opportunities to support and inspire family members, fellow workers, and even total strangers.

People need help and affirmation all along the way.

Paul modeled six important principles to help us encourage others:

  1. Begin with encouragement.

    People who know we will encourage them will be happy to work with us.

  2. Expect of others only what you expect of yourself. People will resist being held to unfair standards.
  3. Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity, and experience.People will reject or fail to meet expectations that do not fit them.

    Be patient with distracted or slow learners.

  4. Monitor your expectations of others. Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations.
  5. Clarify your expectations with others. People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified.
  6. End with encouragement. People love to be thanked for a job well done.

Reflection: (1 Timothy 4:!6)

We must be on constant guard against falling into sin that can so easily destroy us. 

Yet we must watch what we believe (“teaching”) just as closely. 

Wrong beliefs can quickly lead us into sin and heresy. 

We should be on guard against those who would persuade us that how we live is more important than what we believe. 

We should keep close watch on both, staying true to the faith.