All the soldiers were ashore, they gathered all their gear – helmets, swords, shields, guns, food supplies, and gun powder. One last look at their ships anchored off the shore in the Gulf of Mexico. It is late April 1519 and what Don Hernan Cortes’ men see is their ships ablaze. Cortes has had the ships burned so that his Conquistadors have no way to go home, their only option is to march through Mexico and conquer Montezuma and the Aztec people.
There are other legends about leaders burning their boats and sometimes burning the bridges they crossed. All of them have a similar reason. They do not want the option of retreat. They do not want those with them to think they have a way back. So they destroy any means of returning. Buring boats or burning bridges creates a point of no return.
There is something psychological about such a tactic in warfare. There is something to be said about developing that mentality in our lives. When we move on to new chapter in life, we leave the past behind us – we burn the ships.
There is a spiritual application. Scripture does not talk about burning the ships or the bridges of our lives, but Paul encourages a similar action in his letter to the Ephesian Christians.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:17-24
- What is keeping you anchored to your past?
- To what are you holding?
- What, other than moving forward in Christ, has your attention?
- What sin, lifestyle, mistake, person, situation, do you need to let go?
Destroy your past. You have died to that life and are alive in Christ. Let go!
Burn the ships!
Bonus video from For King and Country