Noting that George Washington was such an exemplary Christian that God was able to use him in a mighty way, we can learn from his prayers and life something about what it means to be a committed Christian.
Was he good? Not according to his prayers. In his most secret recordings, he described himself as a sinner in need of God's grace.
Was he proud? Again, not according to his prayers. His humility before God was real and heartfelt. His legendary valor in combat speaks not of selfish pride. That kind of heroism cannot come from a desire for glory, but instead can only arise through selflessness.
Was he self-promoting? His ability to pursue unpopular but necessary courses of action, as well as his graceful handling of the many detractors who, from time to time, demanded his head speak eloquently of his restraint from self-promotion. His motivation was very different, giving him a notion of purpose and mission derived from a keen sense of duty and the desire to please God.
Did he serve God? Given his singular contribution to the birth of America, and the greatness of our country among the nations of the world, and the blessings that we have enjoyed throughout our history until the very recent past, I believe that it is safe to say that Washington was used by God in a rare and great manner.
Are these traits of his consistent with Scripture? Absolutely. No man is good by the standards of God. God hates sin, which, since the fall of Adam, man on his own is helpless to stop. In essence, he became a hostage of Satan. Out of pure and selfless love, God reconciled man to Himself in the face of that sin by coming to earth as a man and paying the ransom for sin on the cross. As Jesus claimed in Scripture, our acceptance of His payment for our sins is the only way that reconciliation may be obtained. In short, man cannot make it to heaven on his own, Jesus being the one and only way to our salvation, as Scripture openly declares. Washington knew that well, and acted in concert with that understanding to his and America's enormous benefit.
Washington's deeds, in fact, are reminiscent of those pertaining to several Biblical figures. Among these individuals with similar traits was David, king of Israel, another man with a sense of mission and devotion to God who possessed unusual valor in combat. Another was Esther, a queen who saved a nation by her willingness to die on their behalf. Paul, too, the devout Jew who worked hard to destroy the new Christian sect before experiencing a personal encounter with Jesus, braved a number of beatings and dangers on his way to establishing a number of churches and penning much of the New Testament Scripture. Paul recounts these incidents himself in 2 Corinthians 6:5:
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool,) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides these things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”
Published by Art Perkins