The Stories of Shipwrecks

March 2, 2020

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

1 Peter 5:6-9

I love stories. I love stories with heroes and action, with comedy and surprise endings. I do not like many dramatic stories, romance comedies and above all things, I do not like dog stories. (The dog in most stories dies every time. Why do we always kill off the dog?)

As I was thinking about stories this morning, I found myself considering what stories have happened in the lives around me, and I unfortunately remembered many about friends who had gone through some painful things.

As I was thinking about these stories in their lives, the image of a shipwreck passed through my mind. I thought about how many of my friends have shipwrecked their families, ministries, etc., all because of the sin they never saw coming.

This led me to think about pirate stories and how many of those that sailed their entire lives on the seas ended up dying because of the things they did not see in the water. Areas where they had seen others go before to their deaths, and yet they went in the same way. Maybe they assumed they would be different, maybe they thought they were stronger… But they were not.

In the verse above, Peter makes clear through the leading of the Holy Spirit, that Satan is “…seeking someone to devour.” Satan is not sitting idly by counting the days until Christ’s return, he is not bored or tired or lazy. Satan is active, he is “seeking.” He is not interested in merely harming or maiming you or me – no, the Scripture says, “devour.” He does not want anything left when he is done with you. Like Job, he wants to take everything away so that you curse God and die.[1]

So we have to be wary as Christians. We need to understand our Enemy and understand his desires and methods. If we do, then we may be wise to avoid past shipwrecks and navigate to safer waters. It may be narrower, but it is the only way through.

Looking at the earlier verses is the key to navigating these treacherous waters. Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

What would you think convinces captains of ships, people who other people’s lives depend on to drive to sail through areas prone to shipwreck? Pride. Pride has sent many men to their deaths, and Peter is asking us to have humility, to humble ourselves to the Lord and then in His time, He will lift us up. Not ourselves, not our leading… His.

Peter then warns us even as we humble ourselves to the Lord to “Be sober-minded; be watchful…” because he knows that while we may be striving to humble ourselves unto the Lord, that box will never be checked this side of heaven. There is no safety from sin and temptation while we are here on earth. The Christian may have a firm faith and a devout love for God, but even Billy Graham struggled with temptation and sin. Christ Himself was tempted in every way having a full knowledge of being human.[2]

Finally, Peter commands us to “Resist him [the Devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

This is imperative, because it is in isolation that the Devil preys. If you ever watch a nature show, the lions rarely run into the middle of a herd and start attacking. No, they find the straggler who is weak and not close to anyone and they pick them off to devour.

Peter warns us to be sober-minded, to pay attention to the possible shipwrecks around us. To know our enemy and to know his ferocity towards the life of a believer sold-out to Jesus Christ. Lastly, he warns us to be encouraged and to know that we are not in this fight alone. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and fighting for us in temptation and trial. We should be of good cheer because we know that not only are we fighting off temptation, but our brothers and sisters in Christ are likewise doing the same.

We must seek the Lord and allow Him to navigate our lives and our choices. Humble ourselves before the cross and follow Jesus daily with all that we have. If we stay the course of Christ, He will guide us through the treacherous waters and onto the golden shore that He has prepared for those that love Him.

[1] Job 2:9

[2] Heb 4:15

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