Monday, September 12, 2016
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. 1 Timothy 1:19(NLT)
More than thirty five years ago I met evangelist Vance Havner. Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, this Southern Baptist legend oozed wisdom couched in down-home sayings and sermonic gems. He spoke on this passage that day, about faith that gets shipwrecked. The gem that stuck in my mind all these years was:
Faith that Fizzles at the Finish
was Fickle at the First
What makes for fickle-ness at the first? According to the advice Paul gave Timothy it is tied to a failure to consistently filter your actions, words and even intentions through a conscience that is governed by the constraints of Jesus.
A number of years ago the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) movement tried to highlight this important aspect of Christian discipleship; keeping our conscience clear has to do with measuring everything we think, say and do against the life and example of Jesus. While that “movement” devolved into cult status, the seminal thought stands well in passing the Biblical test. Imagining Jesus doing what we are about to do is not a bad way to check our motive, and what it might reflect on the Kingdom of God.
A shipwreck of faith can happen quickly; and picking up the pieces can be like trying to gather the feathers of a pillow torn open in the wind!
The most worrisome part of Paul’s warning to the young preacher, Timothy, is that part about those who deliberately violate their conscience. In the ancient language of the Bible, the word used means to push away, like intentionally giving a shove to something you no longer wish to have close to you.
There are many possibilities to offer as to how people wind up in this condition, where they find a way to silence their inner voice of reason and conscience just so they can do what they want. But one thing is certain; that condition is always born of a failure to cling to faith in Christ. When, out of carelessness, or calculation we choose to leave off daily communing with Jesus, we are cutting the anchor line that holds our ship of faith to Christ’s kingdom. And when you cut a ship loose to drift, it will not be long before it is in deep trouble!
Before you hit the road today, check the anchor lines of your devotional life. And when you find what you find, ask the question: What would Jesus do?
Then ask another: Am I really satisfied with Faulty Faith that will Fizzle at the Finish?
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