In my previous post ‘Don’t Shipwreck your Faith Part 1″ I created a metaphor by borrowing Paul’s shipwreck analogy in 1 Tim 1:19.
HERE’S A RECAP OF MY METAPHOR.
- Seawater-symbolize the sins our society values and affirms.
- Each ship-represents a Christian’s individual walk with Jesus.
- The ship’s hull– having Jesus as our Guide creates a natural separation between us and the sinful excesses of our culture.
- Tides and currents-the false advertising and pressure our society uses to draw people into a more sinful lifestyle
- Springing a leak-when Christians sin, a little bit of the ‘wayward, rebellious cultural seawater’ sprays inside our ship.
- Sealing the leak-repenting and going to God makes our hull watertight again
- The leaks grow-if we blame others for our bad behavior or find excuses for it, the leaks in our ship multiply and get worse.
Paul didn’t use the image of a ‘shipwrecked faith’ lightly–because he couldn’t. The apostle personally experienced this horrible trauma. Acts 27:9-44 talks about Paul’s ship being at the mercy of a ferocious storm for two weeks. Battered with rough seas. Driven off course by hurricane force winds. Enduring days of terror and uncertainty. Seasickness. Despair. Sleepless nights. Tossing everything overboard–cargo, sailing equipment, even food–to lighten the ship. Deliberately attempting to run aground. Feeling the ship start to break apart. Jumping overboard into stormy seas. No, Paul wasn’t ignorant. He understood the emotional trauma of being shipwrecked.
So when he writes advice to Timothy and says:
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. (I Tim 1:19) NLT
Paul is using a graphic word–‘shipwreck’–to describe the catastrophic destruction of a Christian’s faith. The saddest part is that it’s self-inflicted. The believer’s behavior causes all the damage.
There are times when a captain will deliberately choose to ‘scuttle’ or sink his own vessel. Ships have been deliberately sunk to partially block harbor entrances during wartime or avoid enemy capture. Sometimes defeated vessels are too badly damaged to be towed to the enemy’s port. Scuttling a ship might remove a navigational hazard or even enrich a marine ecosystem by providing a new “artificial reef.”
But Christians don’t shipwreck their faith to ‘avoid capture by the enemy’ or to ‘provide new habitat to marine life’. Their reason is much more foolish–they’re eager to get wet.
After all, what could be more fun then sinking the ship you’re on, so you can enjoy paddling around in the ocean for the rest of your life?
“For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”
No one violates their conscience accidentally. God says “No–don’t do that” and the Christian foolishly says, “I don’t care, I’m going to do it anyway.” Christians have violated their consciences and become greedy selfish unprincipled business people, unfaithful spouses, and depressed alcoholics. The more these Christians indulged in a sinful lifestyle, the more holes they punched in their own ship’s hull. Alcohol, drugs, stealing, adultery, greed–believers can mess their lives up horribly–King David certainly did.
Later, overcome by shame and guilt, they struggle to believe Jesus would ever want them back.
Yet He does.
In an earlier post, I mentioned Jesus is a lamplighter. It’s fair to say He’s also a “salvor”–someone who salvages shipwrecks. A salvor crew empties out the cargo, plugs the holes, pumps out the seawater, and re-floats the boat. Salvors sometimes board the vessel while it is in flames or badly damaged, fighting furiously to prevent the ship from going under.
Underwater shipwrecks can also be reclaimed from the sea by skilled salvaging crews. Likewise, Christians who have shipwrecked their faith can choose to repent and be reclaimed, healed and restored by their divine Salvor.
I believe this; I’ve seen it happen. We all know of prodigals who have come home.
All images came from Pixabay.com
In my first shipwreck post. I featured an image of a tipped-over modern passenger ship. This ship, the Costa Concordia, ran aground and capsized off the coast of Tuscany. This Italian shipwreck became the object of a massive salvage operation two years later.
Here are some links to the story:
Here’s the story of the Costa Concordia’s original accident on Jan 12, 2012:
My earlier post, referenced above, is titled “The Divine Lamplighter.” You can access it using the Archives.