"Let 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" (I Timothy 4:12).
Many has been the time when a Christian soldier on foreign soil has considered himself a missionary, not only to his fellow soldiers, but also to the citizens of that country which might otherwise be closed to "professional" missionaries. These young men and women have led Bible studies, dispersed Christian literature, and served the surrounding people in many ways. "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water . . . he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
Paul's admonition to young Timothy applies to anyone seeking to gain acceptance among hesitant observers, but especially to those with whom it is difficult to talk. Note the "exemplary" traits and habits necessary for such a one.
In word: "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6).
In conversation, or better, conduct: "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:22).
In charity, or true agape love, God's kind of love: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
In spirit: "Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit" (I John 4:13).
In faith: "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17).
In purity: "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands . . . and purify your hearts" (James 4:8).
If we exhibit spiritual maturity in all these ways, we can be certain God will grant a fulfilling walk with and a fruitful ministry for Him. JDM