Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
In ages of war gone by (particularly when most armies were largely transported on foot) battle strategies were much different than they are today. Many famous generals – Constantine, Scipio, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon, Washington – gained their fame through the tactics they developed to achieve victory. An interesting plan, practiced mostly by the early Roman armies, was to burn their bridges behind them after the entire army had crossed the river. That left no way for the army to retreat. They must stand and fight to the death, or plunge to their death in the waters they had just crossed. Many fierce battles were won by these armies who knew they must press forward or perish. By burning the bridges behind them, they left themselves with no chance at cowardice, no choice to turn back on the decision that had been made to cross the river.
Burning bridges is exactly what young people must do if they are to move ahead for God. Often they will hear messages, then make decisions at camp or in a youth conference. Conviction burns within their hearts as they recognize the need to rid their lives of some sin that is holding them back. As they sit in the pew, they are determined to lay aside those hindrances so they might accomplish something for God. Yet, something changes when they get back home. The fervor is no longer before them in the form of preaching or making decisions. They still want to please God, but familiarity slaps them back into routine. In order to let God complete the work He has started in their hearts, they must be willing to burn the bridges behind them.
If God deals with you about music, then putting it in the closet will not work because someday, perhaps when you are backslidden, you may pull that music back out. You must get rid of that music. Maybe God has dealt with you about the worldly clothes you are wearing. It is not good enough to just set them in the bottom of the drawer; you must throw them out. If you do not burn those bridges behind you, then you are leaving yourself a way of retreat when the zeal of your decision is gone. There may be fierce battles ahead when you close off your retreat, but that is where heroes are born. It is this strategy that will win you the smile and admiration of Heaven – and that is the only thing that matters.
Pastor Steve Boots
Mount Victory Baptist Church | Henrico, VA