Oh, They're Just Young
You have probably heard it before. When a girl can’t seem to find clothes that fit properly, or when a guy seems to not be able to walk at a brisk pace without removing his shirt, we hear “Oh, she’s just young” or “He’ll lose that in the years to come”. So, when people are seen actively seeking to cause others to sin, we excuse it because of their age. You may be saying, “Well, they aren’t responsible for if others look”. That’s all good and well, Cain, but you are your brother’s keeper. Or you may be saying, “They just aren’t aware of what they are doing.” Has ignorance ever excused anyone from the law? Can they even claim ignorance? Is the law of God written on their hearts? (Romans 2) Has God not made His wrath known to all? (Romans 1). Sometimes this behavior is taken to such an extreme that people will even quote Scripture, twisting it to encourage adultery. They will paraphrase First Timothy chapter four, saying “don’t be ashamed of your youth”, neglecting to read a full sentence.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1Ti. 4:12 ESV).
Paul instructs Timothy to not allow himself to be despised for his youth, but in what way is Paul talking about? Is he telling Timothy to not let the older people despise his rocking, hot bod? NO! He is encouraging Timothy to be righteous and holy. He is telling Timothy that, even though he is younger than many, he is still indwelt with the same Holy Spirit that indwells all other believers. This same Spirit is sanctifying him in ways for which he should not be ashamed, rather he should be an example. In spite of his youth, Paul tells Timothy that he is able to set an example in speech, love, faith, and PURITY. Timothy is able to be an example of purity to those older than him. How often do we hear that? Typically, we shove sin to the side when it involves someone young; however, here, Paul is saying, “No, being young is not an excuse for licentiousness, loose lips, wrath, or impurity.” Once someone is saved, they are given the Spirit of the Lord and are equipped to fight sin. This is not just a truth for old believers but young, as well. All believers are to follow Paul’s exhortation written to Timothy in the second letter.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2Ti. 2:22 ESV).
As we have all been guilty of neglecting the importance of killing sin and the ability of the believer, by the Spirit, no matter the age, to do so, let's pray with the psalmist:
"Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!" (Ps. 25:6-7 ESV)