A Model of the Believers - Part 6

1 Timothy 4:12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example [or model] of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:1212Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)).
In previous issues we have considered the words of our Lord Jesus Christ as a perfect example for a believer, David as a good model of a Christian’s conduct, Timothy as a good example of divine love in action, and Stephen as a model of a good spirit. Now let’s see purity demonstrated in a believer’s life.
Purity Models
“Be thou an example [or model] of the believers... in purity.”
For this last characteristic that we believers are called to model in our lives, we’ll consider the young man Joseph. There isn’t a more vivid example in the Scriptures of purity in the life of a believer. From his youth, he had a living relationship with God, though his brothers grew to despise him for it. Who can conceive the awful anguish of his soul as he was wrenched from his family through the hatred and cruelty of his brothers, only to become a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Egypt?
But what we noticed with David in difficult circumstances was true with Joseph also: The Lord was with him and prospered him in the house of his master. Not only did Joseph have the encouragement of the Lord’s presence with him through his sore trial; “his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Gen. 39:33And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. (Genesis 39:3)). Also, “the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field” (vs. 5).
Just when it seems like life is going so much better for Joseph, able to forget the troubles and sorrows of his father’s house, he must face yet another difficulty. This time it came from the wife of his master. She lusts after his body and begins suggesting to him her desire for an immoral relationship.
His response to her enticements is important and instructive for us. “He refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not [is not aware of] what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (vss. 8-9).
First, he stands firm in the convictions of his soul and refuses to give her what her sinful heart desires.
Second, he reminds her that she is his master’s wife she belongs to another man, and her desires should be directed toward her own husband.
Third, he says that to give in to her suggestions would be to sin against God. Would it not be sin against his master? Yes, but Joseph lives in God’s presence under His eye and he traces the root of sin to its ultimate responsibility. He answers to God for all of his actions, and He does not want to do anything that would displease Him.
Does his answer make her temptations leave? No, they get worse, and one day she tries to force him to give her what her depraved heart craves. What is Joseph going to do now? “He left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (vs. 12). He ran away from that morally destructive situation.
We well know that Joseph’s stand for moral purity cost him his job and his reputation. His master believed his wife’s lies and put Joseph in prison. But there was something that Potiphar could not take away from Joseph: his relationship with the Lord and His presence with him. “The Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.... The Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper” (vss. 21-23).
There are multitudes of morally dangerous situations in the world of our day too. We need to be ready to run away from every one of them just like Joseph. When we do when we model moral purity we walk with God and please Him.
Conclusion
These young men modeled the traits of a believer. The Scriptures include the record of faithful, godly young women too, such as Esther, Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Rhoda. Each one stands as a monument to God’s grace and power, for He alone enables any one of us to display these characteristics in our lives. May we each be encouraged in our desire to exemplify what a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is really like through our words, conduct, love, spirit, faith and purity.
D. R. Macy