One glance at the title and you might be thinking… “Well, kingdom success is great, but how about success on the earth? Teach me how to be successful today.”
Here’s what I know – we need to be living Jesus’ mission. Therefore, the instruction the Bible offers on success is for all areas of our life. If we follow God’s precepts, then we will see success in every area: our personal lives, our families, our businesses, our friendships, and our ministries – hence, KINGDOM success.
Have you ever wished that there was a manual on how to be a successful parent, spouse, friend, business owner/employee, or ministry leader? Yes, there are good books on the market today, but none of those manuals guarantees success. But success is what we strive for.
None of us wants to fail. We want to succeed in our jobs, in our roles, in our parenting, in our marriages, and in our ministries. So we read books, learn from others’ mistakes, follow the patterns passed to us, and listen to authority figures.
The truth is that there isn’t a reliable, 100% fool-proof manual, in the world to teach us how to be successful.
Except for one!
And as it turns out, God has a lot to say about success. Today, I want to turn your attention to an Old Testament book: Joshua. You see, Joshua was standing on the heels of greatness. He would step into the shoes of one of the greatest leaders to ever lead God’s people – Moses. Joshua would be called to take the reins and lead the people of Israel into their awaited promised land.
Something tells me that Joshua didn’t want to fail. He may have been anxious, worried, and a little timid. I mean, this was a huge undertaking, don’t you agree? I wonder how many times he questioned God. Are you sure, Lord? I’m not Moses. The people have a reputation of being a bit rebellious. They gave Moses a run for his money. Will they accept me as their new leader?
So, God spoke to Joshua. Listen to what He said…
Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:6-9
Did you hear what God said to Joshua – “Do these things and you will be successful in ALL you do.” This passage right here is the BEST resource for success. Let’s look at four principles for success…
1. Be strong and courageous!
The disciples understood our dilemma completely. They were fishermen and felt comfortable on a lake in a boat. That is until one night when a mighty storm threatened their survival. Courage was swept away by the wind and waves that night. Then, the unthinkable happened. Jesus came walking on the water! YAY! They were looking into the eyes of the One who gives courage. Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
In one split moment, the disciples found out that courage is possible. In their own strength? NO! Jesus is the only One who can give it because He is the source of courage. Let’s not cower to our fears any more. Let’s ask Jesus to give us courage to face what is before us.
Strength and courage are vital to our success.
2. Saturate your mind with God’s Word!
God said to Joshua, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night” (Joshua 1:8).
The word meditate means “to mutter.” It was a practice of the Jews to read Scripture aloud and talk about it to themselves and to one another. What a way to conduct your life, huh?
James tells us that we are to “look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom” (James 1:25). Warren Wiersbe says that “to look intently” means to gaze carefully, not glance casually. Meditating on God’s Word has the same concept. When you read it, ponder it, always examining how it applies to your life.
God’s Word is our manual for daily living. It’s also one true way to find success.
3. Stay on the side of truth!
Joshua would face many opposing religions and dieties in the months and years to come. Idolatry ruled in the surrounding lands, and would seep into the Promised Land. So, God gave Joshua a strong warning: “Do not turn from [the law] to the right or the left” (Joshua 1:7).
We live in a day of fabrication. God’s Word is mocked. Wolves in sheeps clothing are roaming the earth. God’s principles are substitued for lies. False religions are growing. And believers are turning from truth. In light of this, we need to remember that “Truth Always Prevails.” We’ve seen this by highly successful businesses such as Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. The leaders of these companies refused to bend their Christian beliefs. Why do you think they’ve become so successful? Because they have always sided with truth.
God honors those who do not bend – those willing to stand on truth’s side. Picture a valley with two sides. One side says “lies.” The other side says “truth.” You are called to pick a side. Which one will you pick? How firmly will you dig your heels in?
Standing on the side of truth is a certain way to see success.
4. Obey ALL of God’s Word!
Joshua heard God say, “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you” (Joshua 1:7). This word all is key.
God wants total obey-ers, not partial obey-ers. But sometimes we pick and choose the commands we want to follow. The ones that are easiest. The ones that cause us the least discomfort. I know I’ve been guilty of doing this.
Being obedient to God’s Word might require sacrifice and surrender. It may take some time and lots of prayer.
But here’s the thing…
God never said that following His ways would be easy, but He did reassure us that obedience ranks high on His “success” list.
When we combine all four of these principles from Joshua 1, then we will see greater kingdom success. We come to the conclusion of the Book of Joshua and read, “The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua” (Joshua 24:31). Now, that’s what I call success. Something tells me that Joshua lived by these four principles God put before him years before.
I know that I want to be successful in God’s eyes. I hope you will join me as I choose to follow God’s mandate for true success.