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.”
When doing mathematics in school, they often give you an example to look at so that you know how to work an equation. When my wife and I purchase something that must be put together, the first thing I look for are the instructions and the examples that they give so that I know how to put that item together properly.
Likewise, the believer is to be an example in the Christian walk. Paul told Timothy to be “an example.” Whether or not you like it, people will watch you and copy what you do. Whatever kind of example you give them will often determine how they live their Christian life. One of the areas where Paul told Timothy to be an example was in his faith. Let me take that one word and give you several things that your faith should be like so that you can be a good example in faith to those who copy you.
First, you should have an edifying faith. In 1 Timothy 1:4, Paul admonishes Timothy to use his faith to edify people to be godly. Your faith should never be used to destroy others, but it should be used to build others. An edifying faith seeks not its own; rather, it seeks to build others to become what God desires them to be.
Second, you should have an unfeigned faith. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul encourages Timothy to be sincere and genuine in his faith. Your walk with Christ should never be a show that you display on Sunday, but it should be a faith that you live 24/7. An unfeigned faith has no ulterior motives other than to serve the LORD with all its being.
Third, you should have an unswayed faith. In 1 Timothy 1:19, Paul admonished Timothy to hold the faith. Never let others sway you from what you believe. You had better get grounded in the faith if you don’t want others to sway your faith. The ungrounded believer is easily swayed by feel-good teaching. No matter what may try to sway your faith, you must determine to stand strong in spite of the consequences it may bring.
Fourth, you should have a continuing faith. In 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul charged Timothy to “continue in faith.” There are times when you will become weary as you serve the LORD, but you must continue in your faith and never let anything stop you. People need to see someone who keeps going no matter what they face in life.
Fifth, you should have a bold faith. In 1 Timothy 3:13, Paul said that a deacon’s requirement is to have “boldness in the faith.” Never be ashamed of your faith. In other words, you should be a soul winner everywhere you go. A bold faith is never ashamed to talk of Jesus wherever you are and to whomever you are talking. The greatest secret to being a great soul winner is to have a bold faith to talk to others about how the LORD saved you and how He can save them.
Sixth, you should have a battle-scarred faith. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith…” The greatest examples of history are those who were not afraid to fight for the faith. My friend, you cannot be a good example if you avoid battles. No, you don’t need to seek battles, but you are going to have to fight battles if you are going to be an example in faith.