“I put this charge before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, in order that with such encouragement you may fight the good fight. To do this you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to faith.” (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
Paul is expressing to his young apprentice, Timothy, the reality of Christians who have suffered shipwreck in their life. His concern is that Timothy, and those whom Timothy was ministering to, won’t be among this group. He uses the term “suffering shipwreck” to speak of the brokenness and ruin that will be experienced when one doesn’t navigate life properly, especially as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in these verses Paul not only warns Timothy of the danger but offers principles to follow that will prevent this possibility of a shipwrecked faith from ever happening.
The first navigational principle that will enable one to avoid a shipwrecked faith is to proceed in life confident in one’s calling. This is what Paul is referring to when he refers to, “in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you.” God had placed a call upon Timothy and this calling was being affirmed and confirmed by other godly believers. It is from our confident calling from God that we will willingly enter the spiritual battle field as a soldier and fight the good fight. If we are not confident in who we are in Christ or confident in who God has called us to be, then we will pull back or resist entering the arena and faithfully serve Jesus Christ as soldiers in His spiritual army. Being a soldier requires one be willing to suffer, to serve, and to live a disciplined life. “Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4) Peter writes “Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election.” (2 Peter 1:10)
What is God’s calling for you, my friend? If we are to avoid a shipwrecked faith then we must find out what God is calling us to be and to do and we must live out that calling. God’s call is what He created us for and will align with our temperament, gifts, abilities, talents, and passions. Notice that Paul believed confidence in our calling would be an encouragement. (see 1 Timothy 1:18) Be encouraged in and by your calling from God today.