Sep

5

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Prosperity. Success. We may define it differently, but we all want it – for ourselves, for our children, for our children’s children.  Fortunately for us, in Joshua 1 God gives us the secret to prosperity and success.

And the secret is…Wait for it…Obedience.

The Lord was busy encouraging Joshua in his new role as leader of Israel.  Joshua had big shoes to fill after Moses, and was likely feeling a bit intimidated and unqualified.  So the Lord promised to always be with him, and encouraged him to be strong and courageous not once, but 3 times. (4 if you count his soldiers saying the same thing.)

But the part that struck me in the encouragement was the call to obedience.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  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 1:7-8, emphasis added)

While strength and courage are important, its obedience that leads to prosperity and success.  And who doesn’t want to be successful wherever he or she goes?

Now, both the world in general and our American culture in particular have much different definitions. For example, Merriam-Webster defines prosperity as “the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money.”  We tend to think of wealth, possessions, influence, and power, and then project that view on God thinking if we obey God we will be wealthy.

Yet reality doesn’t pan out…

Because God doesn’t define prosperity or success the same way we do.  I love what Jen Hatmaker says in For the Love.  When it comes to how we interpret the Bible, “If it isn’t true for a poor, single, Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” In other words, God’s Word must be true for all.  If it isn’t true everywhere, then it isn’t true anywhere.

So if we determine that obedience leads to material wealth and power, yet it doesn’t work for that poor, single mom, then we’ve misunderstood the character and Word of God.  Prosperity and success must mean something else…

The Lord tells us if we obey, then we will be prosperous and successful.  Imagine if our values and goals, words and actions, marriages and parenting, work ethics and relationships were all rooted in God’s Word.  Imagine if we modeled Christ in every area of our lives.

That sounds pretty prosperous and successful to me.

Praying for prosperity and success in your life and mine.

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