How Does God Define Success? Part 1/2

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

             If we were to take a poll asking people what they thought made a person successful, what answers would we receive? No doubt many would say, “being rich,” “being famous,” “being very skilled at something,” or maybe “inventing something important.” Others would likely say, “raising a good family,” “helping a lot of people,” “finding a cure for a terrible disease,” or even “just being a hard worker.”

             Now, it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with any of the things listed above in and of themselves. Many of those things are worthwhile professions or character traits, and while how a person becomes rich or how he becomes famous could be wrong, it is not wrong to have money or to be well known.

             However, even something that isn’t wrong can become wrong if it is not what God would have us do.

             So, how does God define success? What does God want us to spend our lives pursuing? The only time the word success is used in the Bible is in Joshua 1:8 where God gives us two ways to be successful in HIS eyes (which, by the way, are the only eyes that matter):

Meditate on God’s Word

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…

             We often think of meditation in a worldly sense. We imagine someone sitting in a funny position in an incense-filled room, chanting strange things while attempting to empty his mind and get in touch with his “inner self.” This is not the biblical definition of meditation.

             The Hebrew word for meditate in Joshua 1:8, is a transliterated word that means “to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, devise, plot, speak.” We can clearly see that the world does not understand true meditation at all! Let’s take a closer look at some of these definitions.

To Muse

             This definition teaches us that to meditate on God’s Word is to first, think wholly upon Scripture. We ought to be filling our minds with the Word of God, not just mindlessly reading it in order to check off a box on a to-do list. We must dig deeper into God’s Word, searching the Scriptures and studying them to learn all we can.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

To Devise, Plot

             Secondly, we learn that meditating on God’s Word means to make plans with it, or according to it. When we have decisions to make, is God’s Word the first place we go to help us make those decisions? Do we plan our lives around God’s Word?

             As Christians, our first desire should be to do God’s will, to please God in everything we do. Are we holding our lives up to the light of God’s Word? Do we allow God to lead us in what He would have us do? Or do we run ahead of Him to do our own desires without any thought to what His Word says?

             Proverbs 16:9 reminds us: A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. We can make all our own plans, but God will have His way in our lives and in the world no matter what. Would it not be better for us to simply align ourselves with His plan from the start? We accomplish this by meditating on God’s Word.

To Utter, Speak

             Finally, we see that meditating on God’s Word does not just stop with internal actions; it also includes the external. If we are filling our minds, hearts, and plans with the Word of God, we will not be able to stop ourselves from speaking it either!

             Jesus taught us in Luke 6:45 that what a man treasure in his heart is what he will bring forth in his life:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 

In Conclusion…

             The first key to true success is to meditate on God’s Word. Next week, we will cover the second key. Until then, may these verses encourage us to pursue the proper things in our lives:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

To read more of what the Bible says about success, please click here.

To read what we believe about the Word of God, click here for our Statement of Faith.

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