(1Timothy ASV) Holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith:
This particular scripture speaks of the doctrine of faith rather than the grace of faith. The grace of faith is given to every born again believer and should be confessed without wavering.
The doctrine of faith has to do with the ministry of the Word. This too should be done with a good conscience and without yielding to cowardice.
However, the only part of the conscience that is good is the part that has been sprinkled by the blood of Christ and purged from dead works.
The particular part of our text that catches my attention is the part about “ship wrecked faith.” One of many ways to wreck a natural ship is by trying to sail it in shallow waters that are only meant for small boats.
One of the ways to wreck a spiritual ship is when a “man of God” is attempting to sail his “ship of faith” in shallow waters...meant only for the immature. However, when one expects the result of such a decision to be anything less than devastation…he is unwise.
In other words, living a lifestyle that is bound to damage one’s foundational beliefs is like sailing a ship over an unsuspected rock. As sad as it may be, oftentimes the result of this kind of damage is the loss of family, ministry, dignity and friends.
Even though the following is a ‘third hand’ story the truth of it ministers to me in a profound way.
A man from Scotland asked a sailor how he was able to navigate his ship in a very narrow harbor at night, since each side of the harbor was filled with rocks that could wreck the ship.
The sailor said that at the other end of this particular harbor are two lights…a higher light and a lower light. He said at night one had to line up the lower light perfectly with the higher light and then go directly toward them in order to get in safely.
The more I thought about that story the more I realized how important it was in regard to our text.
Perhaps in Luke 2:52 where it says that “Jesus grew in favor with God and man” is an indication as to how one should sail his personal ship in difficult times in order not to suffer damage. Among the many other things that this verse is saying…I believe it is highlighting relationships. In other words, a horizontal relationship with man (the lower light) has the potential of “ship wrecking” unless it is perfectly aligned vertically with God (the higher light).
The fact that Jesus won favor with God first and then with man shows the pattern for “sailing success” in life. In order to keep from “wrecking our faith,” one must walk close enough to God and man to be accountable.
Thank You for reminding us of the many dark and dangerous harbors in life that each of us are to face. I also thank You Lord for providing us with the principle of victory even before we ask. The story of the higher and lower lights is a simple reminder of how much You care for us, our safety and our relationship with our fellow man.