According to 1 Timothy 4:12, as Christian parents and teachers, we are called to be an example to children in what we say, in how we live, in how we love, in our faith and in our purity. I hope this article will encourage you in each of these areas as you live out your God-given calling.
I want to share with you today how 1 Timothy 4:12 can motivate you to be an example to children as you teach them the Bible. This verse is not specifically written to Christian parents and teachers, but to all Christians in every walk of life. But since my audience mainly consists of Sunday School teachers, Christian teachers and parents who have a desire to see their children grow in their relationship with God, I want to examine this verse from a Christian teacher’s perspective.
1 Timothy 4:12 says this: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in they way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
I’ve been reading through 1 Timothy lately and I have been greatly encouraged by the words of Paul to his young protege, Timothy. Paul is often nurturing Timothy to be an example to all the believers even though he is still quite young.
I love the 5 points that Paul addresses and I want to address these as well for the benefit of those of us who work with children. I want to present a few thoughts of my own that will hopefully encourage us all to be an example to children especially when teaching the Bible.
Point One – Be an example to children in what you say
We all know that our words are very powerful. The word of God is the most powerful of all. (Hebrews 4:12) Paul often warns those who teach and share God’s word about the importance of rightly teaching God’s word.
Jesus, Himself, stated that we should not put any stumbling block before anyone, especially children.
Matthew 18:6 says: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
As Christian teachers of the Bible, I encourage you to diligently study the stories and scriptures that you will share with your children. Be ready and careful with what you are going to say. If you are not sure about a point of a verse, study it or ask for help from someone you trust.
What you say to the children from God’s Word matters. Take it seriously.
Point Two – Be an example to children in how you live
As a Christian teacher, does your “walk match your talk?”
Kids are smart and many of them are watching your every move. If you are teaching them about Jesus, are your every day choices honoring Jesus?
Are you showing your kids that YOU love the Bible? Or are you just telling THEM to love the Bible, without being and example?
Are you spending time with Jesus in prayer so that your children know that you care about your relationship with the One and True Living God?
Living out your Christian faith is a moment by moment journey – a journey that God, the Holy Spirit, wants to guide you through every day.
Point Three – Be an example to children in how you love
Of course, all the points I am addressing today could have books written about them. The topic of “how we love” is in thousands of books. So, what little tidbit can I share regarding this topic to the Christian teacher? I want to share this: I get lots of hugs after my programs.
One of the best parts of my job as The Scripture Lady is receiving hugs from kids after one of my performances. If I may be so bold, I think (and hope and pray) I get these affectionate squeezes because I am showing the love of God to the children.
I want to be an authentic Christian in front of the children I serve. Yes, I am performing, but I believe that kids get to see a glimpse of Jesus through me when I am sharing a song or a story from the Bible.
I hope and pray that the children see my genuine love that I have for God and for them.
You, too, will experience this outpouring of love from kids when you consistently show a genuine love for Jesus and the children He’s given you to minister to.
Remember, true love ONLY comes from God. As you connect with God, He will pour out His love through you to others.
Point Four – Be an example to children in your faith.
As a Christian teacher, who do you put your faith in? Here’s a similar question: Who do you put your trust in?
It is an awesome honor to be an example to our children of where we put our faith. Life is difficult and kids are not immune to the hardships of life. Whether in your homes or classrooms, you get to walk through this life showing your kids that you are choosing to have faith in God and to trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit to get you through all the ups and downs.
I think we do a disservice to our children when we shield them from difficult situations. Of course, we need to be sensitive and appropriately share the circumstances. But your kids need to see you living out your faith and trust in Jesus.
You are not perfect. Sometimes you are going to be afraid and even freak out at life’s mishaps. But don’t be afraid to let your kids watch you struggle in your faith. You might be surprised. God might use your children to encourage you in your faith and give you the hug that you desperately need at the moment.
Point Five – Be an example to children in your purity
What does purity have to do with teaching kids the Bible?
Titus 1:15-16 says this: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”
Ladies and gentlemen, our children are being taught lies, daily.
The rhetoric of today is bombarding them and they are on a battlefield for their minds and souls.
Whether it is lies about morality or the questioning of whether God even exists, our children are taking these “bullets” every day. BUT…
we can give them the Armor of God to help protect them. Let me remind you of God’s amazing armor from Ephesian 6:
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- The Belt of Truth
- The Shield of Faith
- The Sword of the Spirit
- Feet Fitted with the Readiness to Share the Gospel
- The Helmet of Salvation
Are you wearing the armor of God?
Are you fighting for the pure Word of God to be spoken into the hearts and minds of your children?
Are you allowing the pure Word of God to wash over your own life so that you are able to stand firm by God’s power and grace?
I hope and pray that we all are.
Let us be an example today to the children we teach.
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