Burning Ships

Burning Ships

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25

In 1519, Hernán Cortés and his crew set sail to Veracruz, Mexico. When they first arrived, his men began to ask to go home to their old lives, both fearful of the unknown and tired from the journey. As legend has it, Cortez had the men burn their ships, leaving no option but to press on! Their ability to retreat to their previous way of life was gone; their safety net had been removed. The order kept the men from being able to go back to their old lives, forcing them to move forward. No turning back.

I’ve read this story before, but heard it again recently and something hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like I understood that story in a completely new light. You see, I, myself, have had so many fears pretty recently. I relaunched The H is For… and committed to make it happen. It’s not going to be easy, but there’s no turning back now, I’ve made the leap, I’ve burned the ships.

Isn’t it the same with faith, though? Once we know Jesus – truly know Him, and we know His goodness, His grace, His love and His mercy – It’s impossible to turn back. The future may be uncertain, but His promise is that no matter what lies ahead, we are never alone! Burning the ships means there’s no turning back to our old ways, our old habits, our old struggles. The promise of Christ means that we can happily turn from our old lives and follow Him, despite what lies ahead. While our old ways of life may be tempting or even seem more comfortable, we know that the adventure ahead with Jesus is worth every sacrifice.

In church as a child, we would sing the following hymn every single Sunday:

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me, still I will follow
Though none go with me, still I will follow
Though none go with me, still I will follow
No turning back, no turning back

The world behind me, the cross before me
The world behind me, the cross before me
The world behind me, the cross before me
No turning back, no turning back

What ships are holding you back from stepping forward in truth? What are you holding onto that you need to let go of? Is it shame from past experiences? Is it a bad habit you know holds you down? Is it your need to perform to live up to the standards of this world? Remember that the promise of Jesus means knowing that there’s more out there for you than what this world has to offer. What are you holding onto that He’s asking you to surrender to Him today? He promises that what lies ahead is far better than what we’ve left behind, but we have to let go of it before we can move forward. Let’s do it together. Something greater than we could ever imagine is on the other side. No turning back, no turning back.

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