When I was in high school, a speaker at a conference I attended asked, “Do you want to be successful? I know the secret to guarantee your success!”
Like many teens at that stage of life I had one foot that was finishing 12 years of education and my second foot in the “almost-an-adult” world of college. I had plans. I had dreams. I had a career picked out and I couldn’t wait to get there. So of course, the speaker’s question piqued my interest.
He then began to unveil this great mystery by reading a passage of Joshua, from the Bible. The words of the LORD to the new, young captain of the army of God.
“No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you. Joshua, be strong and brave! You must lead these people so they can take the land that I promised their fathers I would give them. Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.” Joshua 1:5-8 (NCV)
Remember. Follow. Study. Obey. If you follow, if you do this, you will be successful.
What a great promise from God!
Another version says to “meditate” on God’s word. It can mean to pour yourself into it night and day. Listen to the wisdom in the Bible. And then, follow it. This week our pastor told us the Greek word for meditate is “logizomai.” The root of the English word “logic.” He suggested that when we meditate on God’s word, we are thinking clearly, logically, about what it means to us. And it’s the stongest way to fend off anxiety.
Whenever I have found myself in seasons of challenge, times of confusion or wonder, I go back to the Bible to study and hear first-hand what God’s instructions are. I’m a verbal processor, so not only do I read it and think about it, I will often read it out loud to myself so that I can fully grasp it. I may even write the words down in a journal or write out what I perceive God wants me to know about Him through those words. Then, with the Holy Spirit as my guide and the One who gives boldness and courage, I do my best to follow. And God has granted success every time!
Have there been times of trial? Absolutely. For example, I’ve had 22 jobs in the last 34 years. But God has been faithful to me through it all. Why? By His grace I believe it’s because I have done my best to be a student of His word. To read it. To learn it. To teach it. To model it. To meditate on it day and night. I’m so thankful for His promises and the truth that is revealed on page after page of the Text.
It brings comfort. It brings wisdom. It brings understanding.
Have I lived a “successful” life? In the world’s eyes, probably not. My bank account is not overflowing. I don’t live in luxury.
But in God’s eyes? The eyes that matter most to me? Yes, absolutely. I am successful because I am walking every day under His umbrella of true grace, true forgiveness and true joy!
And that’s a secret He calls me, and all of us, to share with the world.