I Timothy 1:18-19 “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”
“Some have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith”…. have you ever suffered shipwreck in regard to your faith? No matter who you are, time, circumstances, and choices can bring us dangerously close to capsizing our boat. If we are not careful, we can drift into the troubled waters of life. But there are warning signs, buoy markers that can keep us from venturing too close, if we are watchful. Do you recognize any of these? Do you know what they are?
We get shipwrecked when we lose focus; we don’t pay attention to where we are! ( “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”) We can capsize our own boat by steering into dangerous waters. We get stuck on sandbars that keep us from going ahead and they don’t allow us to go back. We can’t move, and so we resolve to stay where we are.
We get shipwrecked when we listen to the wrong voices– we become complacent and follow whatever ‘sounds right’ to us. We don’t weigh the consequences, or count the cost. When we finally realize where we are, it’s messy. We need someone to rescue us! (His name is Jesus)
We get shipwrecked when we lean too far to one side, we become unbalanced, and find ourselves not in the boat at all, but in the breakers. The waves crash into us, carrying us away in a direction we never intended to go. We need a life preserver!
We get shipwrecked when we look at circumstances all around us rather than at the One who is directing us. He may be using the circumstances to move us away from head waters that could bring devastating results had He not changed our comfort zone. We fear the unknown and we need a push!
We get shipwrecked when we lack a plan. We let life happen, and then respond. We live life by default, rather than by design. We waste time meandering through life, unclear of who we are, uncertain what gifts we’ve been given, or how God could use us if we would only wake up. We need to be alert to life!
We get shipwrecked when we loaf spiritually. We don’t care to open the Word, we just want to attend church now and then, we “can’t memorize” scriptures (yet we can sing the words to an inordinate amount of tunes on the radio), and we’d never want to intrude on someone else’s life and bring them to Christ. We need to be energized with the Holy Spirit!
We get shipwrecked when we lose our way– the Way God is leading us: to discipleship, to leadership, to outreach, to ministry. We get busy with the things of life, unable or unwilling to do anything else, lest it would tire us beyond our own capabilities. Perhaps that is exactly what He wants us to get to: beyond our own efforts– so we’d have to trust His Power and His Ways. We need a compass!
At my workplace, there is a thought-provoking saying written on a wall I pass every day, “Are you living a life by default or a life by design?” I have purposed to ask it of myself every time I pass by. It is a good question and a great reminder of my Purpose, not just at work, but in life.
It says in Hebrews 1, that in the past God spoke to our ancestors through the Prophets in many and various ways; but today, God has spoken to us through His Son—God’s final word to us is through His Son. Hebrews goes on to remind us why we are to listen to His Son: He is heir of everything; through Jesus God made the universe; He is the radiance of God’s glory; the exact representation of Him; Jesus sustains all things by His Powerful Word; Jesus provided purification for sins; He sat down at the Father’s right hand in Heaven; He is Superior to angels-the angels worship Jesus; Jesus throne will last forever, His scepter of Justice is the scepter of the Kingdom; Jesus laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of His hands; and Jesus’ years will never end!
Because of all those things that Hebrews has told us in Chapter 1, we read in Hebrews 2: and so, “we must pay the most careful attention therefore, to what we have heard *(from the Prophets of old and from the Words of Jesus) so that we do not drift away.”
Oswald Chambers (His Utmost for His Highest) says it this way:
“If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His Purpose and you will get your eyes open… we aren’t meant to stay just inside the harbor, always moored. We have to get out through the harbor and sandbars into the great deeps of God…it is then we will know how Great is Our God, and His Faithfulness.”
Stop! You don’t want to be shipwrecked because you missed the signs! Look around you; do you see any warning markers, any buoys signaling ‘danger ahead'; ‘rough waters’ or ‘headed to the falls’? Are you stuck on a sandbar? Need to send an S.O.S? Hoping for a life preserver? Has your G.P.S. failed and taken you down the wrong road? Maybe your battery has died and you need a push or a jump-start? The writing, while it may not be on a wall you are passing every day, is clear. God’s Word has just what we need, but we must Purpose to hear it, be in it, and apply it. He is Faithful, are you?
REFLECT and RESPOND:
Where do you find yourself right now? Which buoy marker did you just pass?
Do you often see the same buoy? Are you land-locked, afraid to launch out into the Deep with God?
How long has it been since you read His word and expected to hear from Him?
Are you part of a small group, cell group, community group, Bible Study group that encourages and exhorts one another when needed?
How can you move from “by default” mode into “by design” mode?