What makes a person successful? Is it the number of degrees or titles they’ve achieved? Is it the size of their bank account? Is it the notoriety they’ve achieved? These may all be significant accomplishments, but let’s look at success from God’s perspective.

God describes how you can be prosperous and successful as he gave advice to Joshua. Consider the leadership challenges Joshua was facing. He was following Moses, one of the greatest leaders of the Old Testament. Moses had led the people out of Egypt with great signs and wonders, he had written the first five books of the Bible, and now Joshua had the responsibility to lead the nation into the promised land.

Joshua no doubt felt the magnitude of the responsibility in his new assignment. Three times God encouraged Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). God gave Joshua this advice to enable him to achieve success,

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8)

As you look at this verse, three responsibilities are presented that can enable you to achieve success. First, you are to reflect upon the Word of God. When you reflect upon an idea and meditate on the implications for your life it  changes you from the inside out. Meditation on God’s word implies the idea of  ruminating on an idea – it is the picture of a cow chewing its cud. Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. The Psalmist uses the same Hebrew word for meditate in Psalm 1,

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:2-3)

Next, God commanded Joshua to respond in obedience to the Word of God. Joshua demonstrated radical obedience to God. What are some characteristics of radical obedience?

1. We obey when the command doesn’t make sense from our perspective.
2. We obey when it involves sacrifice.
3. We obey directing all the glory to God.

How would you evaluate obedience in your life? We may think we do well in comparison to the ten commandments, but how are we really doing? When we walk in obedience we can expect God to fulfill His promises.

Finally, you are to rely upon the promises of the Word of God. At times we can be discouraged in our personal lives and with our circumstances. It’s a comfort to know that as you respond in obedience you can expect God to bring you success. Booker T. Washington reminds us, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” May you experience His prosperity and success as you meditate on God’s word and respond in obedience.

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

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