1 Tim 4:12 “Let no one look down~| on you because you are young, but set~~ an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity.”
Intimidation is an inhibiting fear of criticism or rejection that quenches initiatives and the freedom to be creative and bold. Paul commanded the young Timothy (though probably in his thirties) to command and teach others to obey the Scripture.
Timothy was to “stop letting others look down on” him. The verb means to “hold in contempt, think lightly of, or not care for.” He was to be an “example,” or “pattern” (“an image in metal caused by striking a die to leave an impression”).
Paul repeatedly emphasized following a leader’s example as the means of discipleship and mentoring: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil 3:17; also see 1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 4:9; 1 Thes 1:5–-6; 2 Thes 3:7–-9). Timothy would earn respect for his ministry in five areas.
First, he needed to be an example in “word,” or “speech.” Because “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt 12:34), his godliness would become evident every time he opened his mouth.
Second, he was to be an example in conduct, demonstrating how he had “put off, concerning [his] former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt” (Eph 4:22). His daily habitual lifestyle was to purposefully demonstrate his obedience.
Third, Timothy was to be an example in love: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13; see also 1 Thes 2:7–-12). He looked forward to fulfilling the daily sacrifice of his personal interests or needs to benefit believers.
Fourth, he was to be an example of faith, a demonstration of his confident prayer for God’s control and intervention at critical times.
Fifth, Timothy had to be an example of purity by treating “older women as mothers, [and] younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Tim 5:2); in other words, he was to exhibit integrity and virtue in his dealings with the opposite sex.
Leadership is gained by respect in all these areas. Strive to be an example to motivate others to follow.
“If I will live in Your presence, Lord, and walk faithfully in the light of Your commands, my confidence will come from Your word, not what others might think of me.”