Not a Hint; Burn the Ships

At the time of the Civil War, the North had a naval ship yard in Norfolk, Virginia, which they were dedicated to protecting from the Confederate forces. In 1861, Virginia succeeded to the South, and the Federal forces began to clear their ships out of the ship yard, but they could not evacuate the retired steam frigate, the USS Merrimack. Instead, they set fire to the ship in order to sink it to keep it out of enemy hands. When the Confederates overtook the naval yard, they were able to resurrect what survived of the ship, and they turned it into the CSS Virginia, which was one of the very first ironclad ships.

The Merrimack (aka CSS Virginia) made her ironclad reappearance in 1862, when she easily took down two Federal ships, the Congress and the Cumberland. The wooden ships were no match for the new breed of ship. Just when it seemed that the Confederate forces had the upper hand, the North countered them with the USS Monitor, their own iron clad ship. Have you heard of the battle between the Merrimack and the Monitor? A fierce 3+ hour battle ended in a draw. Some time later, when the Federal forces retook the Norfolk base, the old Merrimack was once again abandoned and burned.

What does this have to do with life in Christ?

In a way, Christians are admonished to burn the ships. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil. Not even a hint.

Hebrews 12:1b tells us, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”

Don’t leave anything for the enemy to attempt to salvage. He is a pirate, come to steaI, kill, and destroy. If we leave a door open, even a tiny crack, Satan will use it.

In Ephesians 4:27, Paul says to give no opportunity to the devil. Instead, we are to stay in step with the Spirit of God, and not fulfill the desires of the flesh.

What we have and who we are belongs to Jesus. Then Jesus told his disciples, โ€œIf anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligationโ€”but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:12-13

When we choose, day by day, to cast off sin and choose the good God has for us, the devil will flee. And when we fail, as we often do, it is through repentance that God lifts us up and sustains our cause. He is a loving Father.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:7-10

Remember the treasure you have in Jesus, and the friendship you have with God. Keep your eyes on finish line. Heaven is always a heartbeat away.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3

For King and Country, singer Luke Smallbone’s wife suffered extreme morning sickness with their second child. Anti-nausea medication prescribed by her doctor led to an unwanted addiction; an addiction that she needed her husband’s support to overcome. In an act to symbolize her commitment to living a new life, she flushed them. He wrote the song, “Burn the Ships.”

If you are holding on to any way of life that you know is sin and hurts the heart of God, please burn the ship. Don’t give the enemy access to any part of what you have committed to God. No matter how great or small, place it under his authority and repent. You will be so glad you did.

Images by David Mark and cocoparisienne from Pixabay.

6 thoughts on “Not a Hint; Burn the Ships

  1. Kori

    Excellent post! I agree very much with you on this! It reminded me also of Matthew 6:24 ” โ€œNo one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” And not just money, but anything else. For me, sometimes it is music that I really enjoy but know deep down that it doesn’t make the qualifications of being God’s standard.


  2. Signora Sheila

    Thanks for the history lesson, Linda! I didn’t know any of this. But I especially like your analogy of burning the ships in our spiritual life. Why, oh why, do we often insist on holding onto the things that hinder us? May God please grant us to do some ship burning when necessary in our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

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