Often when we hear the word overrated, we think people or things are overrated. To us, the list of overrated things that we have readily available in our heads seem as though they do not belong on the high pedestal that has been given to them, but rarely do we say that things or people are underrated. We are not as quick to calling things underrated as we are to calling things overrated.
In The Net, we are currently learning about what it means to have an underrated faith as a youth. Young people are often underrated, under-appreciated and underestimated in the church, but the Bible seems to tell a different story. It is clear that in this case, culture and Bible clash. Culture says “wait until they are older”, but the Bible says to give them an opportunity now. Culture says “they are too young, of course they are meant to act unwise”, but the Bible, even the young are to be holy as He is holy. Time and time again we read of teenagers (sometimes even younger) leading great nations or even historically birthing our Messiah (did you know that Mary was a teenager when she had Jesus?). It seems that God is in the business of using youth and we do them a disservice when we do not hold them up to the standard of the Bible.
Take 1 Timothy 4:12 which says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” An imprisoned Paul is telling young pastor Timothy to take heart and not allow those who are older to look down on him because of his age. I can imagine it now…Paul left Timothy to oversee the church, the older people in the church saying things like “you are not Paul, why should we listen to you?”, or “Who is this small boy coming to open up the Pentateuch and teach us? What does he know about Abraham?” See, just because he was young, they thought he could not have mature faith. Just because our young people are children does not mean they cannot be spiritually apt. Rather than limiting them in spiritual things, we are called to encourage them to grow.
The youth are the present. Paul gave Timothy a challenge, and that was to set an example fo the believers. Notice, it is not the unbelievers that he is to set an example for first. Those believers in the church who are gossiping, he ought to be setting an example for them in speech. Those believers who are lazy or too focused on worldly things, he is to set an example for them in conduct. If we underestimate our youth, we undermine what God has for them. Though they may be underrated in the eyes of man, in God’s eyes they ought to be standing firm in their faith and challenging older believers to continue the race. So the next time you see a young person, ask them how their faith in God is growing. Allow them to challenge you and set an example for you as a Christian. Will you be humble enough to not look down on them because of their age and allow God to use them to grow your faith?
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