In 1519 AD, the Spanish Commander Hernan Cortes was ordered to ‘explore’ the Mexican Coastline. Instead, he decided to conquer it. As his ships pulled ashore and disembarked in Veracruz, Cortes uttered these words, “burn the ships”.
They were not going back.
It was either conquer or die.
I was reminded of this when I listened to For King and Country’s new album “Burn the Ships”.
You can listen/watch it here:
When asked about it’s meaning, Luke Smallbone recanted a story about his wife when she was pregnant with their 2nd son. She was suffering with nausea and her doctor had prescribed some pills for her to take.
While Luke was on the road performing, he received a desperate call from his wife…”come home now.”
She said, “I can’t stop taking these pills.”
Her reliance on the pills had turned into an addiction and it was destroying her so he took her to a mental hospital for help.
Her freedom came one day when she decided she needed to do something to symbolize moving on…
“Luke, I’ve got to symbolize something, I’ve got to flush these pills down the toilet. I’m done. I’m done with the guilt and the shame. I’ve got to move into a new way. A new life.”
She needed to “burn the ships”.
This song resonated with me because I think many of us get stuck to old ways of life for fear that we can’t survive…
perhaps we feel that something that made us “who we were” is crucial to “who we are” right now or even “who we want to be”.
Addiction requires burning all of the ships that can still take you to your past.
It means not being around alcohol or drugs ever again.
It means putting accountability software on your computer when you easily start searching for pornography.
It means severing friendships with people who enable and supply.
It may mean moving to a new city, state, or country so you aren’t tempted to go by “that corner” or “that place”.
It means setting a new course with new ways of coping with stress.
It may mean a new job or even a completely different career.
It may mean moving out of the house that has provided you a place to escape through your addiction.
It means charting a new course and never, ever going back.
Addicts have to burn their ships.
But so did I when I became a Christian.
I believe this is one of the primary reasons that “christians” still struggle with actually following Christ.
They haven’t determined that they are a “new creation”.
Something of the old creation must survive.
It’s the way you get stuck and it demonstrates that Jesus isn’t your “pearl of great price”. He’s just a pearl in the jewelry box with all of the other pearls that you value.
When we follow Christ, we are invited to burn our ships.
Burn our old world views.
Burn our need to be in charge.
Burn our hope in ourselves, our careers, and in anything else but Christ.
Burning our ships means that we give ourselves COMPLETELY to Christ.
We live His Word.
We carry our cross.
We love others, even if they hate us.
We worship every day, not just the occasional Sunday we show up to church.
We give generously of our time, our money, our service, and ourselves.
We pursue His goal…His will…His teachings.
And we don’t look back because the person we WERE doesn’t exist anymore.
You are a new creation.
Don’t be tied to the old you. Be the person God created you to be.
Burn your ships.
Don’t look back.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)