In 1519 Hernan Cortes landed in Veracruz, Mexico to conquer the Aztecs and take possession of their vast treasure. Cortes landed with only 600 men. They were outnumbered by the Aztecs who had far superior weaponry and armor. So, what did Cortes do? He ordered the unthinkable and ordered all the ships that brought them to fight the Aztecs be burnt.
Why in the world would he do such a thing?
He did this so his army would have no possible way of retreat. There was no way for them to get home. For Cortes and his army, it was either victory or death. Going back was not an option. There was no turning back.
So why do I share all of this with you? Because you and I need to BURN OUR SHIPS!
There have been way too many times in my life (and perhaps you can relate) when I have said that I have “handed over things to the Lord” or when I claim to have let go of it and put it in the Lord’s hands. However, too many times I pick it back up. It could be a time you were wronged that haunts you, a worry, a fear, a habit, a struggle, a hurt, an unhealthy relationship, or countless other things. I say I have given it to the Lord in faith, only to go back to it and carry it myself.
We need to take a “victory or death” approach when it comes to the mission that Christ has given us. We spend our lives growing as disciples who make disciples for the glory of Christ. We can’t go back to our former way of life. The days of us being bitter, angry and malicious are over. The days of self-reliance are over. When we become a follow of Jesus, we immediately become a new creation. We are called to love one another and be compassionate and forgiving, just as God forgives us. How can we do that if we are still going back to our ships that are filled with our former way of living?
I have found that one of the most freeing moments in my life are when I have taken my cares to the foot of the cross and left them there. When I have temporarily taken them there, only to come back later and pick them back up and carry them around myself, I have found pain and further heartache and hurt.
Can you think of a relationship where someone has wronged you or hurt you and you can’t let go of the pain, no matter how hard you try? We are commanded by the God of heaven to forgive JUST AS HE FORGAVE US! We can’t move forward without forgiveness. And we can’t move forward if we keep going back to our ships.
Let’s burn our ships!