"Set the Example!"

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By: Mary Geer

1 Timothy 4:12, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (NIV)

I have a very hard time with being disrespected. In fact it makes me angry. I’ve had toddlers hit me when I was trying to care for them and older people yell at me on the phone because they felt they were “allowed.” The truth is that neither is acceptable behavior.

I have also experienced what it’s like to be respected. When I was 19 years old, I spent 81 days in the hospital due to a brain stem injury from a car accident.. The doctor came in to change my feeding tube but before he started, he asked me some questions. I was very impressed with him because though my speech was very poor at the time and I had to speak extremely slowly, he took the time to listen to what I had to say. I felt heard and respected by him.

How about you? Have you ever been disrespected? Maybe someone felt you were too “young” or inexperienced and therefore didn’t pay any attention to what you had to say or kept you from doing something you were capable of doing. What is it like for you to feel disrespected? For me, it is frustrating and hurtful. I feel like the other person does not consider that my opinion or who I am is important.

What about when someone shows you respect? How is it different? Maybe someone asks your opinion on an issue and this person is genuinely interested in what you think. Or perhaps someone shows you he trusts you enough to let you complete an important project for him.

The difference between the two is extreme, isn’t it?

Have you ever thought that showing respect is a way to be an example to others? God’s Word says not to let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. That’s a lot of example-setting! It means not just respecting others, but also speaking kind and truthful words and living love, faith, and purity through your actions.

When we strive to be our absolute best for God, we set an example for others of how to live an honorable life for Christ and that is respect-worthy! People will look up to you, no matter what your age, when you set a godly example.

You can do it! Set the example and set it high!


Dear God, help me to be an example to everyone I come into contact with, that they may see You in me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Being a Girl Who Leads: Becoming a Leader by Following Christ by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio

Think About It:

How has respect been shown to you?

How do you show respect to others?

Live It:

Evaluate yourself in the following areas using a scale of 1 to 10 in which
1 = Not so hot and 10 = Doing really well at this

How well are you setting an example in…
…What You Say?
…The Way You Live?

Choose one area you want to improve. Write down things you can do to improve it…and do them!

Tell Us About It:

How are you learning to be a leader in your family, among your friends, at school or at church?

Power Verses:

Proverbs 11:16, “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” (NIV)

Romans 13:7, “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Mary Geer. All rights reserved.

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