Let No One Look Down on Your Youth

Holding a Bible

Paul told Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12). The apostle’s instruction to the young evangelist will also apply to any young Christian. But how can young men and women in Christ keep others from looking down on their youth? They cannot control the thoughts of others. Instead, they must control what is in their power to control – they must live in such a way as to give no reason for others to look down on their youth.

Though one may be young, he can still be faithful and be an example in the areas Paul mentioned.

In Speech

Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:6). In order to be an example, young people must avoid such things as “filthiness, silly talk, [and] coarse jesting” (Ephesians 5:4). Instead, words must be used that will build up rather than tear down: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

In Conduct

Contrary to what many in the world will say, youth is no time for one to “sow his wild oats” and live without the restraints of morality and righteousness. Yes, one can enjoy his youth; but the wise man warned, “God will bring you to judgment for all these things” (Ecclesiastes 11:9). Therefore, even in youth, one must be obedient to God and follow His word (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 7:21).

In Love

Love may be defined as putting God and others ahead of oneself. Young people are often guilty of being self-centered and self-absorbed. However, godly young people will put others first. Paul told the brethren in Philippi, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). It is also important to “remember…your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). One can show love for God by sacrificing for Him (Romans 12:1) and keeping His commandments (John 14:15).

In Faith

Even young people must develop a trust and confidence in God and His word. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6), regardless of one’s age. But this faith must be personal. A young person will not be saved because his parents are (cf. Ezekiel 18:20). When we stand before the Lord in judgment, “each one” will be judged for his own deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, even though one may be young, he must have his own faith. Since faith comes from the word (Romans 10:17), then the young person who is acting as “an example of those who believe” will be devoting time to the reading and study of the Scriptures (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:15).

In Purity

To be pure is to be free from sin. While this may be applied broadly, it is especially important to make the point about sexual purity. Purity starts with the heart. Solomon said, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Therefore, one must keep his thoughts on things that are pure and right (Philippians 4:8). Temptation must be avoided whenever possible by keeping far away from the adulteress (Proverbs 5:8) and treating young Christian women “as sisters, in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:2).


Even though Paul addressed the young evangelist Timothy, the instruction to walk uprightly with regard to one’s speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity is not just for those who are young. He told Timothy, “Show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12). This means that all believers, young and old, are to live according to these instructions. So no matter what stage of life we are in, let us strive to live as Paul told Timothy to live.

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