2 Ways to Shipwreck Your Faith
By Jennifer Waddle
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.” - (1 Timothy 1:18-19 NKJV)
To experience an actual shipwreck would be one of the scariest experiences a person could go through. When we hear of cruise ships being stranded at sea, starting to sink, or having mechanical issues, we hold our breaths until people are safely rescued.
The apostle Paul knew the experience of shipwreck probably better than anyone.
“Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…” (2 Corinthians 11:25 NIV)
Three times he was shipwrecked! And yet, he survived to tell the story.
While most of us can only imagine such an ordeal, I’m afraid others of us may end up going through something just as terrible—the shipwreck of faith.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. - (Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJV)
Drifting away from our relationship with Jesus is a serious situation that requires serious action. We are in danger of reaching a place, in the open sea of life, where we completely abandon our faith and outright reject the Lord.
There is an interesting line, in 1 Timothy 1:20, that mentions a couple of men by the names of Hymenaeus and Alexander—men to whom Paul “handed over to Satan.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I never want to be “handed over” to Satan! The context of the passage is that Paul recognized two grave things that these men had allowed to happen—two things that basically shipwrecked their faith. When Paul warned Timothy to "fight the good fight with faith and a good conscience,” he was outlining two necessary things for the Christian walk. Unfortunately, Hymenaeus and Alexander had rejected these and been expelled from Paul’s leadership in order that they would learn a hard lesson.
Following the example of these men, here are 2 ways to shipwreck your faith:
In a world where everyone is encouraged to embrace “whatever feels right,” there is an extreme danger of being mislead toward ideas that are contrary to the Scriptures. These ideas plague our culture, our homes, and even our churches. Eventually, they may lead a person to outright reject faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16 NKJV)
Belief and the acceptance of Jesus as the only true God is foundational to the Christian faith. Any other ideas that try to distort this truth are ideas that can lead to shipwreck. It is crucial to our faith that we trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross and not try to add or take away from it.
When our conscience becomes hardened to the point that we no longer hear or heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, our faith becomes like a splintered ship, tossed against the rocky shore, useless and abandoned.
The Holy Spirit’s role is “God in us.” When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, His Spirit comes to reside. He guards, guides, and directs us in the way we should go. Without His navigation, our faith will surely be shipwrecked. It is of utmost importance that we remain in step with Him and listen to His still, small voice.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25 NKJV)
Paul’s charge to Timothy was to remain strong in the battle, steady on the open seas, and faithful in the Lord. He knew that temptations would come—temptations to reject and ignore the only God and Savior, thereby risking the shipwreck of his faith.
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1Timothy 4:10 NKJV)
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