Written by: Isabella Morganthal
All Images from We Heart It
I think just about all of us have heard, read, or maybe even memorized the verse from 1 Timothy 4:12 which says: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (NKJV)
So often we look at this verse and think it means we aren’t to let others judge us by our youth. We aren’t supposed to let others think of us as “only” teenagers or not to let others assume we can’t serve God properly because we’re young.
If you view the verse this way, you would be right. This verse is encouraging us to not let people look down on our youth but show them an example of Jesus.
However, we sometimes look past the other side to this passage too.We sometimes miss the bigger thing God is saying here. Because I think he’s telling you not to despise your youth.
You see, it’s so easy to look down on ourselves for being young. We might look at other young people who are doing big things for Jesus and being an example to others, and think, “Wow, that’s great they’re using their youth for Jesus. They’re really inspiring.” But then we turn around and look at ourselves while thinking, “I’m only a teenager. I couldn’t possibly do anything big in this world for Jesus. I’ll just have to wait until I’m older.”
For ourselves, we become apathetic with our youth and allow it to keep us in this comfortable place of not doing anything because “we’re too young anyways.” We use what the world says, “You’re only a teenager,” as backup for our own thought processes about our youth.
Then sometimes we even begin to hate being young. We wish our youth away with thoughts like, “I can’t wait until I’m an adult and I can do more things.” Or, “I wish I was older so I could do something big with my life.” But, friends, can’t you see? These thoughts are lies! And do you want the truth?
A certain age number isn’t going to change anything for you. Growing up won’t make things much different. You will still be you.
But the sad part?
You will have missed out on the amazing years of your youth that God gave you because you wasted them away, waiting to be older. Age is merely a number.
So this is my challenge for you.
Don’t you despise your youth. After all, none of us know how long we actually have on this earth. We could die tomorrow. If I died tomorrow, would I be happy knowing that I used the twenty years I was alive to make my life count for Jesus and His glory? Would you?
Make today count. Don’t view your age as a hindrance or disadvantage.
Instead, use it to allow God to do something great through you. Look at the young people in Scripture who were probably early teenagers and how God used them! People like Jeremiah, a prophet of God. David, a man after God’s own heart who defeated Goliath. Esther, who God used to save an entire people by doing the right thing. Mary, the mother of Jesus.
I’m sure each of those young people felt inadequate at times. I bet each of them wondered why God chose them, especially because they were young. But I think God chose them because they were young for a reason.
He’s chosen you too.
God has hand-picked you for a specific task right this very moment.
He isn’t waiting to choose you until you’re older or until you’re an adult. He’s already chosen you. Right now. You’re chosen.
Now go out and make your youth count for Him.