Author’s Note: I will be speaking frankly about the perils of allowing sin a foothold, even to the point of a believer embracing and loving sin more than their calling or ministry to the Kingdom. I am speaking as a man, but temptation, sin, and destruction of faith can occur in the life of any believer.
1 Timothy 1:19
Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
2 Corinthians 11:25
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two [actually three] about shipwrecks. In carrying out God’s mission to spread the gospel, Paul saw and experienced many hardships. And a ship is a hard thing to slam into reef or rocks.
And thus, Paul – having experienced shipwreck firsthand three times – saw it as the perfect metaphor to describe what happens to certain believers in Jesus Christ who are sucked into temptation, sin, depravity, greed, pride, the lies of the Devil, perhaps even outright rebellion against God. Essentially – usurping His rightful place on the throne of their hearts. And suffering massive damage to their faith in the process.
Recently as last night I was told of a believer who is currently going through divorce. He has led ministry groups in the church. But now there is rumor of a long history of infidelity and affairs. To be fair, I haven’t spoken with the man in question, or even confirmed the rumor. But it brought to mind the devastation that Satan is wrecking on the church, especially with those in positions of ministry and leadership. Particularly with men and sexual sin.
Several years ago, a pastor friend of mine recounted the story of a church elder who was widely respected in the community, led ministry and Bible study, started new churches, etc… My friend relayed the story of an unnamed woman who came to him and described this elder often spending the night and getting up next to her in the morning. The Elder was unmarried.
Unfortunately, I have other examples of shipwrecked ministry.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be sexual sin; it could be greed. It could be pride and desire for power and control.
I have seen the darkness of the soul, and I have no desire to see it again. But always it looms, watching and waiting for an opportunity.
Here is the bottom line: We can never, repeat – NEVER – take a day off from guarding and protecting our hearts and souls from the demonic forces that foment sin. NEVER. We can never take off the armor of God, never allow some shallow, worthless pleasure in this life take the place of Jesus Christ the Messiah in our hearts. NEVER. Never give in to the siren song of temptation that leads us to steer our ship of faith right into the rocks. NEVER.
If you are struggling with a sin that is crippling your relationship with God, I am praying for you now. Father, we say “we are only human”, or “we have needs,” but that is a lie from the devil, because we use it to rationalize and justify sin. Forgive all of us who have glorified hedonistic pleasure, greed for money or material things, or the desire for power, as idols in place of you. Cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Give us a desire for more of You, then to be filled with the Spirit, to spread the gospel to others – who like us – struggle with sin. Hurl our sin to the bottom of the sea and give us new hearts for You. Turn our shipwrecks into monuments of lives radically changed; not drowned with sin, but rescued by the Life Preserver, Jesus Christ. To Him be all honor, glory and praise, forever and ever, and in His mighty name I pray. Amen.