——–you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. (1Tim 1:18,19)
A shipwreck derails a journey, cuts short your progress and leaves you high and dry without arriving at your destination. Paul suggests that it is very much possible for a pilgrim to be cut short in his journey toward the cross. He also elucidates three resources that could prevent a shipwreck.
First he asks Timothy to fight the good fight. What does Paul mean by this phrase? Our earthly life is characterized by struggles or fights of several kinds-the struggle to be safe, to be prosperous, to obtain an education, to work a job and so on. There is no life without a struggle. Now, when a person turns to Christ, another struggle starts- the struggle to live a holy life and please God. Our natural selves do not want to submit to God. The cross calls us to a life of denial- in small and big things. Denial has to characterize a Christian lifestyle. Right from getting up on time to spend time with God before starting the day, to refusing to spend hours of gossip time on Facebook, to being courageous, to stand for what you know is right, the list goes on. It is difficult, it’s a daily fight, and it’s a good fight- because this fight will ensure that you are well on the highway to eternal life.
Paul next talks about holding on to faith. Life can be lived in two ways- by faith or by sight. The latter entirely depends on the input you receive from your senses. What is seen is precious-the worldly, material things around us that become the basis for all decisions in life. For a Christian the call is to value that which is unseen- the things of God and base all decisions for our life on the godly, unseen, eternal things. Now this requires faith. For you to say, that you will reject material things in favor of the godly and spiritual requires faith. Generally, routine life is unlivable without faith. When you plant a seedling, you cannot be digging up the ground everyday to see if its roots are taking hold of the soil. You have to believe that if you do the right things, in the right conditions, the seedling will grow. In Christian life, faith is carried to the highest form and the reward is also the utmost.
Finally, Paul says we need to have a good conscience. The conscience is our moral compass. It tells us if we doing the right thing. Living by our conscience is natural for all men- even the hardcore atheist who denies the presence of God, will ironically live by his conscience. Now, it is crucial to remember that the conscience is ultimately subject to the will. With repeated actions that deny the conscience’s call, we can alter our conscience to suit our needs. A serial thief, no longer feels the prick of his conscience when he steals. A person who all his life has disregarded the poor around him, no longer feeds the compulsion to help others. This is a bad conscience- one that has been damaged and altered by our excesses and inadequacies. A good conscience is one that is shaped by God’s laws and tuned to guide us in the path of righteousness in accordance with God’s perfect laws.
Where do we stand with regard to these resources? What is your opinion regarding the use of these resources? Do leave a comment on the website.
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