Keeping the Ship Afloat
1 Timothy 1:19
“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:”
Paul makes the analogy that the life of the believer is like a ship that is out at sea. He says that some “have made shipwreck” of their faith. This does not mean that they lost their salvation because salvation can never be lost, but what it means is that the actions of their life have ruined their faith’s ability to help those they were trying to influence.
Sadly, there are many casualties in the Christian walk. I have served the LORD for a few decades, and I have seen many believers who once used to serve the LORD are no longer serving Him because sin has made a wreck of their lives. Not only has sin made a wreck of some, but others have walked away for the pleasures of this world. Several admonitions are given in the verse above to guide you if you are going to keep the ship afloat.
First, realize you are in a war. Verse 18 says, “…that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;” You must realize that if you are serving the LORD that Satan has placed a target on your faith. Beware of his tactics and temptations so that your faith doesn’t get wrecked and those who you are carrying with you in this walk are not endangered.
Second, accept your orders. Verse 18 says, “This charge I commit unto thee…” You must accept the orders of the LORD in your life and stop putting it off. Many have put off the orders or will of God for the sake of making money, or entertainment, or to enjoy the pleasures of this world. Your faith will never stay afloat if you don’t accept your orders.
Third, fight! Paul said, “…that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;” My friend, don’t cower or run when the battle comes your way. You will never make it in the Christian walk if you don’t have the stomach to fight the warfare that comes your way. It is a battle, and many times the battle comes from within, and it is unpleasant; however, wherever the battle comes from, you must have the fortitude to fight the battle no matter what the outcome may be. A good warrior doesn’t fight for their own safety, but a good warrior fights to win.
Fourth, embrace the old. You will notice that Paul said to Timothy, “…according to the prophecies which went before on thee…” Timothy couldn’t fight without embracing what had been given to him. We live in days when many are attacking those from the past to justify their worldly religion when God commands us to embrace what they taught. You cannot fight the Christian warfare without embracing what those in the past have taught you to do to win this war.
Fifth, let the faith be your guide to all decisions. The verse above says, “Holding faith…” Your ship won’t stay afloat if your decisions are not guided by the Word of God. You must never let your desires be the guide for your decisions, but you must make every decision based upon what the faith, which is God’s Word, tells you to do. You will never make a wrong decision if the faith is your guide for every decision.
Sixth, listen to your conscience. The verse above also command to hold “a good conscience.” The believer’s conscience will be influenced by the Holy Spirit; thus, you would be wise to listen to your conscience about the actions you take. Your conscience will guide you away from those things that will destroy your faith if you learn to listen and heed its voice.