"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck" (I Timothy 1:18-19).
In this passage the young preacher, Timothy, is warned of the regrettable fact that there are some who fight the spiritual warfare for a while, but then they loosen their hold on the basic tenets of the faith and a sensitive conscience and ultimately become spiritual shipwrecks.
That spiritual giant of the New Testament era, the apostle Paul, lived with a constant concern. As he labored each day, he told the Corinthians that there was a deliberate discipline that he kept in the forefront of his mind. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27). Did Paul fear the loss of his salvation? No, he knew that was settled with God (II Timothy 1:12). The term "castaway" can be translated "disapproved." Paul feared that he might do something that would forever mar his testimony so that he would be useless in Christ's service.
A few verses earlier Paul recollected the Old Testament examples of such spiritual shipwrecks and recounts three things that can ruin one's spiritual service: improper worship (I Corinthians 10:7), improper appetites (v.8), and improper attitudes (v.10). Still today the church is plagued with these same three pitfalls that shipwreck spiritual leaders! Paul urges each of us to contemplate his own life: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:11-12). DW