The Serious Possibility of A Shipwrecked Life

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18-20)

There are some people who grow in their walk with Christ, gaining strength and usefulness year by year. They are far from perfect, but their lives demonstrate the sufficiency of God’s grace and the potential any person has for a godly and useful life.

Sadly, there are others who do not have the same testimony. Paul mentions two of these by name who had “rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” How did this happen and how can we prevent this tragedy in our lives?


The Christian life is never mentioned in lazy, battle-less terms. In fact, one of Paul’s main metaphors is that of a fight. We have strong adversaries in this life in the world and its warped philosophies, the weakness of our own flesh, and the devil and his hosts.

Paul reminds us to put on the full armor of God to be able to stand. He is constantly calling us (in every letter he wrote) to prayer and dependency on the Lord, knowing that we will not make it without the strengthening, directing, and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We must be battlefield ready at all times for our adversary is prowling like a lion, seeking to devour.

Are you fighting? Maintaining a diligence about your life? Or have you become lazy about your walk with Christ and others?


At the forefront of our armor is faith. This is not static head knowledge, but the living, active, daily dependency upon God for everything in life. Every moment of the common day should be filled with an increasing dependency.

This is why a man who guards against a shipwrecked life reads the Word voraciously and prays relentlessly. It is why he leans on others and does not forsake the gathering together with other believers in church to strengthen himself in the faith. When people talk of this man they say, “There is one thing about him—he consistently trusts God for every aspect of his life. He is full of faith!”

Are you walking in faith? What are you trusting God for right now, today? Are there any areas of your life where you are merely relying on your humanity and not the sufficiency of Christ?


A good or clear conscience is the inner knowing that there is nothing between us and God or us and anyone else. That, although we have sinned, we have sought to make sure things are right both vertically and horizontally.

If we sin against God or man and fail to deal adequately with it, it opens the door to the enemy. Lingering sin breeds a foulness in our soul. A crack in the foundation. And, it could lead, ultimately to a life broken on some sinful reef and make us ineffective for the purposes of God.

Is your conscience clear? As you meditate before the Lord with an open heart is their any sin of which you have not repented? Anything that someone has against you that you have not sought “as far as it lies within you” to make right?

Any person—anyone—can have a fruitful, powerful life with Christ if they will follow Him. Our Savior has positioned Himself with us as our ever-present help and is more committed to our perseverance than we are. But as long as we are in this sin-wrecked and sin-damaged world, we must be vigilant and surrendered to the One who is our only Deliverer and Friend.


©2014 Bill Elliff.  Originally posted at Bill’s blog, Graceful Truth.