If you were offered the opportunity to become a shipwreck, I do hope you would turn the offer down! Shipwrecks speak of what was once useful and full of potential, but is now useless. They are romanticized not for what they now are, but for what we imagine they might have been in their glory days. They have no future, except to offer a glimpse into the past.
Is it possible to shipwreck our faith? Paul definitely thought so, and gave Timothy a few examples of those who had (1 Timothy 1:19-20). You may even know a person or two whose faith was once truly something to behold, but is now a faint shadow of what it used to be. Or perhaps you even know someone who was at one time a pillar of faith, but has now completely abandoned it in order to follow their worldly desires.
What could possibly cause such a thing? Here is what Paul wrote: “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples.” (1 Timothy 1:19-20, NLT)
How should we avoid becoming modern day shipwrecks?
Cling to Your Faith
Hang on to your lifeline for dear life! Your salvation is rooted in your faith in Christ. Let go, and you’re adrift in the sea of doubts, worries, fears, worldly desires, and temptations that can easily lead you off course. Faith is a gift from God, but there are things that we can do to help it grow.
Cling to your faith by spending time cultivating it through:
- The Word of God — “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16) If you’re stuck in a Bible reading or Bible study rut, there are many options to liven up your time in the Word! Check out Cru’s article, Learn 5 Techniques to Study the Bible, or visit Bible Journaling Ministries for a few different study methods.
- Prayer — “Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) There are a great many different ways to approach prayer, as well. You may not be a beginner pray-er, but this article at Desiring God may give you some guidelines you haven’t thought of before. If you’re looking to go deeper in your prayer life, Guideposts has a great article on 6 Ways to Prayer Journal.
- Getting together with other believers for mutual encouragement. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
When you learn new truths about what God wants from you as a Christ follower, put them into practice.
Keep Your Conscience Clear
We tell our children, “Make good choices!” Then we hope that they hear our voice in their heads when they’re tempted to choose unwisely, and that they love us enough to do right in the moment!
But there is a better guide for living with a clear conscience. Jesus promised his disciples, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26) We don’t have to rely on memories of human teaching, we have the Teacher with us always! If we will listen to his voice and obey his leading, we will keep our conscience clear. If we deliberately ignore his promptings, we will end up steeling our hearts against his voice and eventually running aground.
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Timothy 1:19)
Stay the course, my friend, and avoid shipwreck!
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