Burn the Ships

February 16, 2020

My message for today was inspired by a song I heard on the radio by For King & Country.  The name of the song is “Burn the Ships”, and when I researched what inspired this song I learned that Courtney, the wife of Luke Smallbone of “For King & Country”, became addicted to pills originally prescribed by her doctor.  Even after having outpatient therapy at a mental hospital, Courtney struggled with her addiction. One day, she decided she had to do something symbolic and flush the pills down the toilet, and then she'd be done with the guilt and the shame and be able to move on with her life.  Luke said, "When she was flushing those pills, the analogy of burning the ships came to me: the story of the sailors not wanting to explore the new world, wanting the comforts of their boats. Their leader calls them out and says, 'We've got to burn the ships. This is a new world." (https://www.songfacts.com/facts/for-king-country/burn-the-ships)

When we first come to Christ it is like setting foot in a new world.  On board our ships are everything from our old world that dragged us down.  Our sins - both the ones that everyone sees and our secret ones as well.  Our regrets - things we have done and shouldn’t have, or things we should have, but never did.  Our scars - from battles we have fought and won, and from those we have lost.  Our victories that made us prideful, and our defeats that made us afraid to try again.  All of these we brought with us when we came to Christ, and he told us that they were now part of our past.  It is time to start fresh.

But sometimes we struggle to burn our ships.  We look back like Lot’s wife, who after she was told to flee the evil of the towns that God was about to destroy, hesitated and looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:36).  We don’t flush the pills or pour all of the alcohol down the drain.  We don’t avoid the places that sell those instant lottery tickets.  We don’t delete all of those websites we know God doesn’t want us to be on.  We don’t burn the Ouija boards, or the books about witchcraft, astrology, and magic.  We hold on to anger and resentments, not being willing to forgive, even though we ask in the Lord’s Prayer that our Father in heaven would forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  We refuse to let go of prejudice, pride, and a judgmental attitude. 

But we also struggle to let go of self-degradation, forgetting that we are now a child of God, deeply loved by him, and perfect in his eyes because of our faith in his Son, Jesus.  We punish ourselves over and over for past mistakes, for hurts we have caused, for failures to do the right thing, and decisions to do what our hearts told us not to.  We judge ourselves against others who we view as more successful, more spiritual, more ‘together’, instead of seeing how far we have come and trusting how far God is still going to take us. 

This new world of life in Christ is an awesome place where we love one another, have peace within, and go through each day with a smile on our face because we have joy in our hearts.  Fear is replaced by courage, weakness with strength, depression with anticipation, and rejection with acceptance.  Anger gives way to serenity, melancholy turns into exuberance, and no matter what the Lord would have us to do or where he leads us to go, we are blessed to follow him and do whatever he asks, for we know it will result in his glory and our good. 

So it’s time we burn those ships, all of them!  It’s time we look to the future and leave the past behind.  It’s time we realize all God has done for us, accept it in faith, and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us, encourage us, and strengthen us for the years we have left.  We need to do our part, and then trust God to do his.  Are you with me?  Amen.


"Hope in Front of Me"  (Danny Gokey)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5GFiDdGGGM

"Burn the Ships"  (For King & Country)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOVrOuKVBuY