Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: Romans 12: 1-2 (MsgB)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Just think what might happen in our lives if we decided to follow these two verses from Romans 12! Just imagine what might happen to the church you are a part of if more folks decided that Paul’s instructions here were worth their weight in gold! And what about the world? Just think what upward lift our communities might experience if just a few more men and women would refuse to be dragged down to the world’s level of immaturity!
Hmm. Sounds revolutionary, doesn’t it? Sounds totally transforming!
And it is.
You see, all dramatic change in the lives of human beings begins and ends with a change in the way we think. Sadly, so many of us believe that it’s our external circumstances that ultimately control our destinies. And while it is true that our lives can become an ugly by-product of a poor environment, most psychologists believe that ultimately, the way you and I choose to think about our circumstances has more power in our lives than any other factor we might bring to the table.
Thus, we as followers of Christ, are given a magnificent advantage in life. An advantage that sadly, you and I so very rarely take advantage of. But history does show us that there are some who are determined to overcome their circumstances, place The Helmet of Salvation on their heads, and begin to seek God for wisdom beyond their own abilities and strength.
Case in point? George Washington Carver.
Born in 1865 as a slave on a small farming community in southern Missouri, George Washington Carver was owned by Moses Carver, a German-American immigrant who had purchased George’s family from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, for seven hundred dollars. After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife, Susan, raised George (then an orphan), as their own child. “Aunt Susan” (as George called her) taught him the basics of reading and writing, and the Carvers encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits wherever and however he could. Since black people were not allowed at the local public school, George resolved to go to a school for blacks located ten miles away. To his dismay, when he reached the town, the school had been closed for the night. As he had nowhere to stay, he slept in a nearby barn. By his own account, the next morning he met a kind woman, Mariah Watkins, from whom he wished to rent a room. When he identified himself as “Carver’s George,” as he had done his whole life, she replied that from now on his name was “George Carver”. George liked this lady very much, and her words, “You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people”, made a great impression on him.
By 1890, Carver had completed his high school education and started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. His art teacher, Etta Budd, recognized Carver’s talent for painting flowers and plants and convinced him to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames. He transferred there in 1891, the first black student and later the first black faculty member. In order to avoid confusion with another George Carver in his classes, he began to use the name George Washington Carver. In 1896, Carver was invited to lead the Agriculture Department at the five-year-old Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama by its founder, Booker T. Washington. Carver accepted the position, and remained there for 47 years, teaching former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency.
It was during his time in Alabama when Carver began talking to God on a daily basis about his life’s calling. In his biographical writings, Carver states that every one of his creative ideas surrounding agriculture came from his morning devotionals with God. When asked about his creative ideas for the peanut, he said that one morning, the Lord spoke very clearly to him, inquiring, “George, have you ever considered the peanut?”
After his death in 1903, lists were created of the plant products Carver compiled or originated. Such lists enumerate about 300 different applications for peanuts and 118 for sweet potatoes! He made similar investigations into uses for cowpeas, soybeans, and pecans as well. Today, George Washington Carver is recognized as one of the most brilliant men in American agricultural history.
Hmm. Maybe that Helmet of Salvation that Carver placed on his head each morning was a brilliant think-tank as well!
My prayer: Father God, I choose to believe that if I fix my eyes upon You, You have many treasures to share with me, if I’ll only take the time to listen. Today, I give You access to my thinking, looking for a total transformation, for the greater glory of God. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: By putting on The Helmet of Salvation, do I believe that all of my thinking might be transformed by Christ, or am I limiting His power by only delegating my spiritual side to Him? What might it look like for me to take all of my thinking into my time with God, giving Him access to any and all of my thoughts and concerns?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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