“Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 HCSB).
The attribute of love represents one of the five areas of life where we should set an example for others according to 1 Timothy 4:12. As mentioned earlier, genuine love involves a Christ-oriented commitment to act in the best interests of others. Jesus illustrated this aspect of love in the New Testament gospel of John when He said, “…the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 provides some additional insight that can help us set the right example for others in this area…
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT).
While there are many ways to express love, the action items given to us here in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 will enable us to demonstrate sincere, authentic, Christ-like love in every situation. If we seek to measure our actions by this definition, we can be confident that we are displaying genuine love as we interact with others.
Faith: The next attribute from 1 Timothy 4:12 is faith. Genuine, Biblical faith is associated with the confident belief that God is who He says He is, and will do what He says He’ll do. One Biblical dictionary defines faith as “A belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His will for one’s life.” (1) However, the New Testament book of Hebrews provides us with the best definition of faith…
“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” (Hebrews 11:1-3 AMP).
Faith involves the confident expectation that God will act in a trustworthy manner to fulfill His promises even when external appearances may seem to suggest otherwise. This kind of faith serves as a defining quality of Godly life, for as Romans 1:17 tell us, “…it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith'” (NIV). This makes faith something we possess and a lifestyle that characterizes the attitude of a God-honoring person.
(1) “Faith” Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers