Recently I have been reading about the life of George Washington. His incredible story continues to motivate and shape the direction of many people today. His famous speech delivered to The Continental Congress, once nominated to be the first Commander in Chief, is worth repeating today for its sincerity and humility.
He said in part: “But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.”
His speech echoes what Paul wrote in Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
So what does the newly appointed general do as he sets out to create an army and organize a rag-tag group of farmers and family men into an army to fight England? He does three things from which we can learn from today and apply to our spiritual lives.
- He orders new uniforms. Since the British uniforms are red, he chooses blue for the American “patriots.” Identifying what side you are on is good for battles and for the spiritual battle we are in as Christians. What team are you on? Jesus said in Luke 11:23, He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. Is it clear to yourself and to those around you that you are a Christian? I think of being baptized and then being faithful in the life of your church as a sort of uniform that everyone can see. Have you followed the Lord in believer’s baptism after you received Jesus for salvation? And is your participation in church life a definite mark that you are on “Team Jesus?” Do you “gather” with Jesus or scatter?
- The second thing Washington does is write up a will. He ensures that his wife and other relatives know what to do in the event that he does not come back from battle. Certainly a will is good financial advice for us and we should have wills in place today. In a more practical way, Washington revealed by planning a will that he was ready to give his life for his country. Truly, our lives are also on the line because we love Jesus. in Luke 9:23, Jesus is teaching and says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. No matter the cost: job, finances, business, friendships, relationships, fame, athletics, art, etc. We should be willing to lay all that aside for Jesus. Washington was “All In.” Are you “All In” in your walk and worship of Jesus?
- General Washington also ordered copies of several military books. Getting a uniform for the troops was not going to be enough to win against the British. He needed to read about military tactics and disciplines for soldiers, etc. He studied what he needed to know to be as successful as humanly possible in his undertaking of being the Commander in Chief. I wonder if you and I read and study as much as we should to be successful in the Christian life? Paul told Timothy to study the Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 commands, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
There are many good books that are Bible based to help with areas of life in which all of us need help! Here are several examples to take to heart and consider:
- Books for relationships; how to be a good friend, what to look for in a potential mate, what does the Bible teach about dating, etc.
- Books for marriage; communication, commitment, intimacy, and more.
- Books for parenting; developing your child in adolescence, spiritual formation, parenting with purpose, and gaining the heart of your teenager.
- Books for teens; there are many good books I recommend you to have you tween and teenagers read as they begin to navigate choices, friendships, and the opposite gender!
- Books for growth; so many good books have been written on prayer, Bible Study, and how to have closer walk with the Lord. Daily devotional books, Christian magazines, and other Christian books should be something that we utilize.
- Books for finances; most people could have more money and do more good with money if they knew the best ways to manage it. A person who is not disciplined enough to read a book about fiances is probably not going to be disciplined enough with his money to be considered by God a “good steward.” Convicting thought.
Some people do not like to read. Most of us fight the natural response to “study.” Study is hard work. Study does require reading. If Washington took his role so serious that he ordered some books to improve his skills, certainly, we can follow his example to read a few books a year to further develop our Christianity, our home life, and the direction of our life. After all, when you really think about it – we are in a battle too. A Spiritual Battle.
Ultimately, the underdog Americans won against the superior forces of England because it was the will of God. In incredible ways from the timing of travel to the delay of weather, to the involvement of other nations, and even the apathy of some of the British towards the Patriots, the Lord caused a nation to be born. Many Americans were praying. The leaders were seeking the Lord. God did the impossible and He accomplished His will through George Washington and others who were willing to be in the right place at the right time. God can use humble people. God will continue use people who are willing to learn, grow, and take serious the Christian life – to perform His will even today.