Real Success

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From Joshua 1

I love going to Hobby Lobby, I admit it and am keeping my man card. I don’t understand half of the place, but it’s still interesting to me. I walked in one day and asked where I could find an item. The associate said, “Oh, that’s in crafts.” I replied, “The whole store is crafts!” Well, she was cordial, but not amused. I thought it was hilarious, but sometimes you get a tough audience.

When I go through the aisles of Hobby Lobby, one of the Bible verses I often see is Joshua 1:9. It’s on super cute pillows, chalkboard signs, and decorative items that are next to drawings of cows promoting “farm life.” It is a popular verse, and for good reason: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I was today years old when I fully noticed the verse before it. While athletes, stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, business people, and a myriad of others use verse 9 a motivator for courage and strength, the key to its understanding lies in the verse just prior to in verse 8. Remember that the verse numbers were placed there for our convenience: verses 8 and 9 were given by God in the same breath.

Joshua 1:8 says this, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. THEN you will be prosperous and successful.”

Joshua had been given leadership of the nation of Israel after Moses’ death. He had an enormous leadership task. Not only was he the social and political leader, but he also had the responsibilities of military development and strategy. The logistics of housing on the move and feeding hundreds of thousands while nomadic, managing conflicts and mobilizing an army were just a few of his burdens.

All of these things were laid upon him, but God gave him one primary, absolutely do no neglect task. He was to keep God’s word in his language, meditate on the Bible (in this case, the first five books) all day and as he went to sleep, and carefully obey its contents. THE key to being successful, strong, courageous, and experiencing God’s presence is simply to fill your mind and heart with God’s word and humbly obey it. You’ll need his presence and power to do that, and God promises that very thing to you in verse 9.

I so want God’s blessings, his power, and strength. I want to be filled with courage, to be fearless and to feel God’s presence. In short, I am like everyone else…I want to be successful.

Joshua was a huge success; he brought the people into the land Israel had been promised and won battle after battle over the enemy. But God did not measure his success by those things, but rather empowered him to accomplish those things. Joshua’s actual success was evaluated by a different standard. We can build great wealth, develop impressive careers, accomplish great tasks and be lauded by people of influence, but if we fail in God’s definition of success, we have failed completely.

How do I know if I am being successful? Answer this question: am I being humbly obedient? For real success is simply obeying God.