Dr. Anthony W. Adams
Dr. Anthony W. Adams

In 1 Timothy 4:12 the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (ESV). This scripture indicates that Timothy was a relatively young man. Because of his youth, Paul was concerned about Timothy’s influence among the congregation.  Paul’s advice to Timothy was that he needed to act in a way that would lead people to respect him in spite of his youth.
There are some who believe that because they have a title, they are automatically deserving of respect. This is rarely if ever the case. Peter Drucker stated, “All the effective leaders I have encountered – both those I worked with and those I merely watched – knew four simple things: a leader is someone who has followers; popularity is not leadership, results are; leaders are highly visible, they set examples; leadership is not rank, privilege, titles or money, it is responsibility.” The fact is just because you have a position or title does not mean that you will have the respect of your followers.
Please notice that Paul did not write to this church and demand that they respect Timothy because of his position or title. He knew that this respect would have to be earned. The words, “Be thou an example” in the Greek is “become a pattern.” What Paul was saying is:

Timothy, in all that you say in public and in private conversation, be an example.
In your behavior, be an example.
In your love for God and man, be an example.
In your faith or trust in God, be an example.
And finally, let your motives and life be pure and holy as an example to believers.
If we desire our children, spouses, friends, and neighbors to respect us, we must act in a way that is worthy of respect. As leaders we must exhibit a pattern of consistency in our Christian walk.

Questions and Reflection:

In the conversation (behavior) of our lives do we demonstrate a pattern of consistency in regard to our Christianity?

How do we show a pattern of consistency in our Christian walk?

If you are in a position of leadership and have to admonish or instruct someone who is older than you, how can you do this without this person despising your youth?

4 Replies to “RESPECT”

  1. Respect: As I see the problem the youth of this generation are moulded by our society, by teachers,by parents, by entertainers and by the church and i am afraid we have not set the best example. Public opinion, the tone of society the kind of civilization he/she is born into decides the developement of his/her character. to often the youth try to earn the respect of adults. There should never be condemnation without compassion

    1. I too believe context matters. Sallie Krawcheck stated, “humans are humans. When left to our own devices, many of us prefer to spend time with like-minded individuals. I’ll admit it: I often do. Frankly, it’s just easier. And it’s also easier for me to picture how somebody who looks like me and sounds like me will get the job done; this is particularly true if it’s a difficult job or a stretch assignment, because I can imagine how I would do it.” The point I am making is sometimes we have a difficult time seeing life from someone else’s perspective. Because of this people sometimes become dismissive of others and their viewpoints; often to our chagrin.

  2. In conversation we can demonstrate a pattern of consistency in regard to our Christianity, by truly putting God first (Matthew 6:33) Also in putting him first we naturally build a relationship with him, through Jesus. Then during conversation(s) our behavior/words should be consistent of who we are in Christ by becoming more and more like Jesus. The more we are like Jesus, the more uplifting, encouraging and anointed our behavior/words will be. (Hebrews 3:13, Luke 6:45, & Romans 8:28.) We can show a pattern of consistency in our Christian walk by remembering that he choose us first (Ephesians 1:4) also in remembering the truth in his holy word! Note: When I think of walking, I think of taking one step at a time. It is like that with Jesus. To take one step, one moment & one day with him.
    Last, I am the youngest in my family. Although it may seem silly to others but I feel as though I have a responsibility. I am the only one saved; born again (not for long), so I have a responsibility in leadership for my family. I pray for them, encourage, and of course love them and by God’s grace he helps me to live a life worthy of my calling. I have accepted this position as leadership and I stand on God’s anointing power of his holy spirit to lead the way. Jesus said to love one another (John 13:34-35) and they will know we are his disciples. I have never despised anyone for loving me, so I can assure that my family will not look down on me because i am the youngest. I show them love and since God has called me, I know he has given me the unconditional love!

  3. I think it is wonderful how concerned and burdened you are for your family. It is my hope and prayer that they will be won to the Lord very soon. Your comment also brings us back to our text. Although you are the youngest in your family, by setting a pattern of Christian maturity, consistency, and love you will earn the respect of your family and increase your influence as it relates to them. I also agree that a reputation that will earn the respect of others takes time. Paul stated, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9, KJV).

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