The Apostle Paul was on a ship bound for Rome, headed towards his final assignment. That assignment was to preach the gospel to the Emperor of Rome! Now that is a strategic assignment. Can you image what would happen if the Emperor became a Christian?
The devil knew the importance of this assignment too and tried to keep him from it. He brought an epic storm to the ship that eventually caused it to shipwreck on the island of Malta.
We all have storms
I am not talking about literally storms with wind and rain. But I use the term as an analogy. Storms represent hardships, unexpected turn of events, disasters, etc. I want you to cast off shame thinking something is wrong with you because you are in a storm. Many of those storms are not because we did something wrong, but because we are doing something right. You may be exactly where you need to be. The devil brings the storms to keep you from your assignments. This article is about 4 practical tips to avoid shipwreck.
I would suggest you read the story of this shipwreck in Acts 27:8-13 before you continue. I will reference specific verses below.
Tip #1 – Sail Patiently – Avoid Impatience
In Acts 27:9 the sailors said, “We had lost a lot of time.” The sailors were in a hurry to get to Rome and didn’t like the storm slowing them down. Impatience will cause you to miss God.
When you get in a hurry, you usually make mistakes. Watch out for this. Ask Holy Spirit for the fruit of patience in these settings.
The cure to be a better sailor is do not make decisions when you are anxious and impatient. It will probably be the wrong one.
Tip #2 – Sail Contentedly – Avoid Dissatisfaction
Acts 27:12 “poor place to spend the winter”. The sailors were not satisfied with the port they were in. One of the major mistakes Christians make is being led by dissatisfaction with circumstances instead of Holy Spirit. Dissatisfaction is not a fruit of Holy Spirit. We can get disgruntled or dissatisfied with where we are at, or things are not quite how we want them. We then go running off and miss God’s will. This can be with our job, relationships, church, etc.
The cure to being a better sailor in a storm is to learn to be content.
1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Learning to be content is a priceless thing. Ask Holy Spirit for help to be thankful.
Tip #3 – Sail Slowly – Avoid Changes
Acts 27:13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed along close to shore.
Changing expecting circumstances to get better rarely works. Follow the last words Holy Spirit gave you. Don’t ignore his words because you don’t like where you are at. If he wants you to change, you will know. We usually know his voice from ours, we just want to do something.
If you make changes just to make changes, usually you stay longer in the storm. Being led by circumstances is like a river. A river flows from point A to point B will take about 15-20 times longer to get there than if it took a straight line. But a river can’t take a straight line. It takes the path of least resistance. If you take the path of least resistance, you will take longer to get out of the storm. Sail slowly and straight.
There are times to move. But know why you are moving. Move with wisdom & understanding.
The cure to being a better sailor is to stay anchored to his voice and don’t panic.
Tip #4 – Sail Close – AVOID Assumption
Acts 27:9-11 We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for long voyages by then because it was so late in the fall, and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. “Sirs,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on–shipwreck, loss of cargo, injuries, and danger to our lives.” But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul.
Make sure who you are listening to or even getting a confirmation from. When you hear God tell you to do something, followup with how. Don’t assume you know how.
The cure to be a better sailor is to talk and listen to God often.