Monday, July 20, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Shipwrecked Faith

Recently while reading the first chapter of First Timothy I came across a verse I’ve read before, but this time it seemed to jump off the page, and I saw it with new eyes. I love that about God’s Word—the learning never ends.

Verses 18 & 19 in Second Timothy One say, "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith."

What does a shipwrecked faith look like? My mind carries me to a picture of a ship on a broad ocean. Dangerous rocks are spotted far off and don’t appear treacherous. The waves then carry the ship closer and the crashing thunder of breaking surf can be heard. Finally the ship is carried onto the rocks and broken by the power of the sea. The ship sinks and ends its life on the ocean floor.

Like a ship at sea, we take gradual steps toward being shipwrecked. First we’re vigilant and wary and understand that trouble lurks “out there” somewhere. But sometimes we are carried away by the folly and temptations of the world and are unknowingly dragged toward calamity. Do we pray? Do we seek God? Do we know what’s at stake? If not, we’ll suddenly be overcome by the consequences of our choices and lose our grip on faith.

The Holy Spirit directs us through our conscience. When we are pierced or stirred by our conscience we need to listen. We need to pay attention. If we ignore His voice the day will come when we’re not certain whether something is right or wrong. And we will tell ourselves it’s not a big deal—all things are relative. But they are not. God’s Word is our standard.

Living with a shipwrecked faith is torture, so perilous that Paul went on to say in verse 20 that he handed over Alexander and Hymenaeus to satan because of their blasphemy. Our unwillingness to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit will drive us into satan’s hands. He waits, salivating.

This could be a tragedy, but there is hope. Suffering often restores relationships, especially those with God. When we find ourselves in the deepest pit, God waits for us. If we are willing, He will lift us out and set us on solid ground.

So, before you decide to disregard that voice inside think about the rocky shoreline that lies in the distance. We have options and although we’re unable to live perfectly we can live lives that inspire others and please God.

Grace and peace to you from God.


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