Have you ever felt worn out while trying to live the Christian life? I have. There are times when doing what is right, going against the flow of culture, and living by faith is downright exhausting. But this is not how it’s supposed to be, and I can see that my problem is not my own weakness, but my attempt to live this life apart from the wisdom and strength God provides.
In 1 Timothy 1:18-19 Paul encourages Timothy, and the rest of us, to fight the good fight and to not shipwreck our faith, as some had done.
It looks like Timothy is a young pastor, possibly just recently ordained. Paul is telling Timothy to remember the truths that were spoken to him during his ordination. While we don’t have a transcript of what was said, we know that it was in accordance with the gospel and that those words gave the strength young Timothy needed during stormy times.
Paul uses two different kinds of metaphors. One is of a military nature and one is nautical. His point is that we need to be good warriors as well as good sailors.
- The Warrior
As a warrior we have two jobs. One is to fight against those things that are contrary to God’s Word and His honor. The world calls us to come and rest in her comforts and to amass her fortunes. She tells us to accept her philosophies in order to find joy, and to link arms with those who oppose God. But comfort is not found in stuff, and our value and dignity cannot be found in the world, but only in our relationship with Jesus. We are to fight against lies and injustice, perversion and evil.
But we also have to fight against all those same things that lurk in our own hearts. We are tempted to disbelieve God and we must fight that impulse. We are tempted to dishonor God by being lazy, unkind, thoughtless, or greedy and we must fight.
The second job we have as warriors is to fight for the gospel; to fight for righteousness and goodness and truth. It is not enough to speak out against what is wrong, but to speak clearly for what is right, and to then follow such words with holy actions.
But we must always fight with love and grace because this is how the Captain of Armies interacts with us and we are to be like our Captain.
- The Sailor
The second charge Paul gives us is to make sure we don’t shipwreck our faith. We believe that once you are saved you cannot lose your salvation. The sacrifice of Christ cannot be undone, the pardon cannot be taken back, and our adoption as children of God cannot be made void. Our salvation is secure, but we are capable of weakening and even wrecking our faith to the point of bringing shame on the name of God and earthly consequences to ourselves.
In order to be a good sailor we need knowledge and wisdom. We need to know how to spot false teachings that cause harm to people’s souls. We need to be able to distinguish between truth and error. We need to learn how to sail through different kinds of water, whether still, choppy, or turbulent. All of this knowledge and wisdom can only come through the study of God’s Word and communion with God through prayer.
Through all of this we need to remember that we cannot be strong warriors or smart sailors on our own. If you rely on your own strength you will become overwhelmed, fearful, worn out, and ready to give up very quickly. We must rely on the power and strength that God offers us on a daily basis.
Confess your weaknesses, ask for help, trust that God will answer, and watch him work in your life.
Looking To Jesus,
This Fall, be the one to reach out, the one to extend the invitation…the one to initiate unity and community among your neighbors, co-workers, moms, sisters, and friends. Gather together and join us as we study 1st & 2nd Timothy for the next six weeks!
You can find our women’s and corresponding kids’ journals here:
GET EXCITED… Natalie Grant & Love God Greatly are teaming up for one VERY special night of praise and worship on September 22 at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas!! Trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss this power-packed ministry night! And get this: for each ticket purchased, concert goers will receive a FREE Love God Greatly Bible study journal! How amazing is that?!
*A special invitation to GIVE BACK: For those in our LGG community who are not within traveling distance or simply can’t make it to the concert, would you consider GIFTING a concert ticket to a very worthy cause? We’re giving YOU the opportunity to purchase concert tickets for our amazing friends at a local women’s and children’s services ministry here in Rockwall. Your donated ticket(s) will give one (or more!) of these precious women a unique worship experience, plus their very own LGG study journal to take home with them! What a sweet way to still be able to participate in this exciting night AND get more women around the world in God’s Word. THANK YOU for helping us reach and dream BIG in order to make Him known!