October 8, 2016
Avoiding Spiritual Shipwreck
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. – 1 Timothy 1:19
While reading the journal of a friend who had sailed around the world, I learned a great deal about ships. His writings indicated that when a ship is loaded too heavy in its lower part, it is called a “tight ship.” A tight ship will roll (rock from side to side) as often as every four seconds, compared to an ideal roll of every thirteen seconds. A fast roll means the vessel is responding quickly to the slope of the waves around it, causing an uncomfortable ride for passengers and increasing the risk of damaging important equipment. On the other hand, a ship loaded too heavy on top is called a “tender ship.” It will have a slow roll, which raises the chance of capsizing in rough waters. A ship loaded just right is called a “centered ship,” and it sails best. Finding that balance between rocking relentlessly and being unresponsive to the sea is necessary because either extreme can be detrimental to the safety of the ship.
Thinking about this concept, I was reminded that we must also find a steadiness in our walk with the Lord. If we think of sea waves as trials that come our way, we would want to find a balance between allowing trials to shake or weaken our faith, and leaving our faith unchanged.
For some, every trial might be devastating; their faith is rocked by even the slightest doubt planted by the devil. This can lead to spiritual highs and lows, which becomes disorienting and discouraging. To guard against that, we must be careful to always put our faith in God, trusting that the things we do not understand are in His hands. When the devil would bring doubts and confusion, we must resist him and keep believing in God.
Conversely, some might be resistant to even the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the Lord would use a trial to draw a deeper consecration, but they ignore His calls and become stubborn in their ways. This is also dangerous because continuing to resist causes people to be lost, without an active relationship with God. Thus, while we ignore the accusations and doubts of the devil, we must also remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is what will make the trials of our faith become opportunities to grow stronger, rather than times of discouragement.
Our focus verse speaks of holding on to faith and a good conscience to avoid spiritual shipwreck. Indeed, as we keep our faith in the Lord and our conscience alert to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will be overcomers for sure.