Joshua 1:5-9 (NLT)
5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
6 “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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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.”
I recently had what I like to call an “Aha” or “light bulb” moment (you know—where the light bulb seems to come on in your head and you go “Aha!”). This is otherwise known as “revelation knowledge”–it’s a fancy way of saying “something really cool that God just showed me!” I noticed (actually God brought to my attention) something that I’ve never noticed before in this passage in Joshua (passage shown above). My pastor might call it a “sandwich” of sorts! The messages in verses 5-8 are restated again in reverse in verses 8-9. Look:
- v.5 God says–I will be with you
- v. 6 & 7 God says—Be strong and courageous
- v. 7 God says—Obey, then you will succeed and prosper
- v. 8 God says—Study, meditate on and say God’s instructions (His Word)
- v. 8 God says—Obey, then you will succeed and prosper
- v. 7 God says—Obey, then you will succeed and prosper
- v. 9 God says—Be strong and courageous
- v. 6 & 7 God says—Be strong and courageous
- v. 9 God says—I am with you
I firmly believe this is a formula for success laid out for us in the Bible. I believe this formula will work in any situation (whether you’re a Christian or not). This is a four part formula. There is a central step or component we must complete (the only part that is not repeated) surrounded by or sandwiched by three other things that are crucial to our success. I like to look at it like a target or a mark for success. It should be something for which we aim or shoot.
Here are the four components of the target:
- The center of the target (central component of success) is “Learn”. To succeed at anything, we must first get wisdom. We must educate ourselves, gather knowledge and get instruction. We must study, meditate and say what we are learning.
- The next component (surrounding our learning) is “Action”. We need to actually DO what our studies and learning reveal. We need to obey our instructions based on the wisdom, education and knowledge we gathered. If we actually do what we learn, we will succeed.
- The third component (surrounding our action) is “Persistence”. After we’ve learned what we need to do to succeed and have taken the necessary steps to do so, we have to persist. We need to be confident. We must have faith, courage and patience that it will work. Success sometimes requires stepping out and taking risks. Sometimes it requires being bold. Sometimes it requires waiting to see results. Sometimes we just need to hang in there and be strong and courageous. This is when we don’t give up—we persist.
- Lastly, all of those components are surrounded by “Support”. To succeed we must surround ourselves with the knowledge that we are not alone. Isolation is one of our biggest enemies in this life. We were not created to be alone. To succeed we must have support systems in place. We need to know where we can go for help, encouragement, counsel, advice, and where to go if we have questions or even just knowing where we can go to see others who may be dealing with some of the same issues and circumstances.
So what does this look like practically? Here are some examples:
Life Success for a Christian example
- Life success for a Christian, according to Joshua 1:5-9, means that our central component is to learn and study the Bible (God’s Word), meditate and think on it throughout our day and speak it out of our mouths.
- We then need to actually take action, do what it says and obey what is written in it. James 1:22 says we need to not just be hearers of the Word but doers of the word. God promises us that if we obey His word we will succeed and prosper. He does not, however, promise that our success will come immediately.
- That is why we must utilize the next component and be persistent. We need to be strong and courageous. We must not get afraid or discouraged and give up when our situations and circumstances around us don’t look like “success”. We must not let our circumstances and our feelings dictate our actions, and we must not get distracted.
- Lastly, we must know that we are not alone. We have support. God promises to NEVER leave us. He promises that He is always with us wherever we go. He promises that He will never fail us or abandon us. Even when we don’t see or feel Him, He is always there. God is for us, and like Romans 8:31 states, if God is for us who could be against us? We can’t get better support than that! Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Bible) states it like this, “…for He (God) Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!”
Weight Loss Success example
- The central component is to learn about what we need to do in order to lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle. We need to learn new habits of eating healthy—such as healthier food choices, healthier portion sizes, and healthier food combinations. We need to learn new habits for a healthier and more active lifestyle. We need to learn about ourselves—such as learning about our own bodies and what is best for us based on our current health and learning about our common pitfalls and then learning strategies to avoid and overcome them.
- After learning, researching and even counseling with a doctor about what is best for us, we then have to actually take action and do what we learned. This may require eating fresher, less processed foods, eating smaller/healthier portion sizes, and making sure we drink adequate amounts of water and eat a good combination of protein, fiber and carbohydrates. We may also need to increase our amounts of activity by doing things like walking more, sitting less, and/or exercising. We may also need to avoid purchasing certain kinds of food or storing them out of sight, avoid eating while watching television or even watching less television, or purpose to become more mindful about our eating and activity.
- Losing weight and creating a healthier lifestyle will definitely take persistence! There will be ups and downs, which is completely normal but very frustrating nonetheless. We need to keep ourselves from getting discouraged and celebrate our accomplishments. We will need to keep persisting and hang in there if we reach plateaus and make sure that we haven’t relaxed in following our healthy guidelines that we’ve learned. We will inevitably need to stay strong and not quit or give up.
- Finally, we will need support. We need encouragement and people to celebrate our accomplishments with us or to keep us accountable when we start slacking. We need others to give us advice and ideas. We need someone to go to if we have questions or health issues that arise.
Getting Out of Debt Success example
- The first step to getting out of debt is to learn. We have to learn how to be better stewards of our money. We have to learn where we have failed, what we’ve been doing wrong and how we can correct our mistakes. We have to learn how to create and maintain a feasible budget or spending plan. We have find out where our money is going and the exact amounts we actually owe to people. We have to learn the best ways to start paying debts down in order to eliminate them completely and then learn how to stay out of debt. We have to learn about the most lucrative ways to save.
- Creating a spending plan and learning how to pay down debt won’t do us any good unless we actually put them into action. We have to follow our budget, keep track of our bills and control our spending. Success in this area will only come if we follow a plan.
- Persistence is essential when eliminating debt and saving money. We have to stay on track or we will regress. We have to persist when unexpected expenses come up and create a plan for situations that may arise. We have to maintain self-control in our spending and keep our end goals in mind.
- Last but not least, we need support. We need to know who to call if we have questions on our bills and accounts. We need to know where we can go if we need financial advice. We need to know who can help us in times of need. We also need people to encourage us to stay on track. We need to see success stories of others who have gotten out of debt and are living in financial freedom.
These are just a few examples of how these four steps or components are necessary in any area of success. We can use them for anything in which we are trying to succeed! This is our formula for success. We will have many marks for which we are aiming for success in life in many different areas. We might also consider these areas different “races” in which we are competing and trying to win. The Bible even uses the words “race” and “mark” as metaphors for things we need to strive to attain.
Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
Philippians 3:14 (KJV) “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
We can use the formula for success as an acronym to help us achieve our marks of success.
We run “LAPS” in a race. We are racing to success in various areas of our lives. Success is our mark. We need to run the race set before us and press toward the mark…we need to run our LAPS!
HappyHealthyandProsperous.com will be a site where you can get some tips and strategies for the central component of your own targets, marks and goals. This site will be a place where you can learn and hopefully also get the outermost, or fourth, component where you can acquire some support and encouragement on your journey to press on toward YOUR mark(s)!