Paul was this letter to give instructions to his close associate, Timothy. Timothy was a young leader in the church. Others in the church probably did not listen to him because of his age (1 Timothy 4:12). However, Paul encouraged Timothy to be an example to all who saw him. His advice to Timothy should be heeded by all of us today.
Paul the apostle wrote to Timothy, saying that Timothy should stay away from youthful passions. The original Greek word for "passions" here is "ephithumia", which means "lust". It is a feminine noun. As such, it is the primary focus of this sentence. However, I suspect that Timothy was simply the recipient of this message. I believe that this was meant for the body of Christ as a whole.
Paul is telling Timothy that the body of Christ should not give youthful lusts a focus in its life. Instead, Paul spells out four things that we should focus on instead of lusts: righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
We should focus on righteousness and righteous living before God. We should be obedient to God, remembering that He has set the standard for living through the person of Jesus Christ. I am not preaching that works save, because our works are not what save us. Rather, as Christians, we should want to live a righteous life, following the example of Christ. I believe that this was a point that Paul was trying to make here.
We should also focus on faith. We should have confidence in God, knowing that He will never deceive us. We should have confidence in Jesus, knowing that He has made the ultimate sacrifice to make a way for us to come to the Father. We should be confident in the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will direct us, lead us, and guide us where we need to go.
We should also focus on love. As Christians, we are to love God (Luke 10:27) and our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). This ties in with righteous living before God. God commanded us to do both, and we have no excuse not to obey God's command to love. He did not intend to give us an excuse.
Finally, we should focus on peace. Strife will tear us apart. Therefore, we should avoid this at all costs. We should strive to live at peace with one another. This is not reason for us to stand down from our convictions when others disagree with them. Rather, it is reason for us to peacefully demonstrate obedience to God. We should live a peaceful life of service to Jesus, being led by the Holy Spirit.
These four things should be in our lives today. Let us therefore live them out, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.