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Older Believers Encouraging Younger Believers

Older Believers Encouraging Younger Believers

by Randy Rice

In Paul's epistle to Titus, an admonition is given to encourage the senior men and women under Titus' pastoral care to set Godly examples for younger men and women. In Titus 2:1-8, Paul exhorts Titus:

"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us."

Paul's letter to Titus, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is a much-needed message to today's church. This was one of the last letters written by Paul--a small, yet powerful epistle. The central message to Titus and to us is the encouragement to keep sound doctrine, and to promote the importance of believers being Godly examples to each other, especially older believers encouraging younger believers.

Perhaps you have heard the saying, "Everyone needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas." The meaning here is that we each need in our lives someone older, someone younger, and someone to challenge us.

As someone who falls into the "older" demographic, I can stay that by this stage of life I have scars left by the battles of life--and I still have challenges ahead of me. In my experience, there is joy in being able to speak into the life of younger men from the Word of God and my own life experiences. It's not that I have all the answers, but I can exhibit the power of presence by just "being there" for younger brothers and pointing them to the One who does have the answers.

I am blessed to have older men in my life who encourage me. They have experienced life in ways I have yet to. When I'm going through a trial, I think of how each of these men have persevered through trials--and that gives me hope. Notice the mention of perseverance in verse 2: "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverence."

These men are real flesh and blood people I can talk and pray with, and that is huge. Some days I get a text message from one of these men that simply reads, "Praying for you, brother." That's very encouraging!

Having this level of involvement in people's lives is not easy. This kind of ministry takes time and intentional focus. When God brings someone across our oath that needs our care, we need to have spiritual awareness to know when that happens.

I think perhaps the greatest obstacle to being available for this kind of ministry is the fear of failure. Being a Godly example can be hard at times. For me, it's easier when I'm not driving!

The reality is that we all fail at times. That's when we need God's grace and forgiveness. But our humanity should not keep us from ministering to each other. The real sign of Christian community is how people support, encourage, and restore each other, even through our own struggles in life.

Grace & Peace
Randy Rice