The Assurance of Success

Posted on December 2, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

I have never known anyone to say, “My goal in life is to be a failure.” I have known those who seem to be directionless and are floundering in identifying a compelling purpose for their lives. Others may lack ambition and are satisfied just to get by; as long as life’s basic needs are provided there is no need to put out an extra effort.

While most people may not have lofty goals of high position and status in the eyes of others, it is natural to want to be a success in whatever we do. Whether it is providing for our family, teaching or other vocations, or volunteer tasks in our church and community, we don’t want it to be a waste of time. There is a desire for success in whatever we set our hand to do.

Joshua 1:1-9 tells us how we can be assured of success. Verse seven tells us, “…then you will have success wherever you go.”  Verse eight again says, “For then you will make your way prosperous and you will have success.” So, what is the context for these encouraging verses. Joshua was about to lead the Children of Israel on a daunting task of crossing the Jordan River and laying claim on the Promised Land. He mentions several factors that would contribute to their success.

They were to recognize the providence of God. He had already determined the future and assured them of victory. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you” (Joshua 1:3). We need to be assured that God has a plan and purpose for each of us. As Jeremiah said, it is not for misfortunate but to give us a future and a hope. Believe that God’s hand is guiding us in the path of success.

They were to acknowledge the presence of God. He assured them, “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). We are not left to our own futile devices and weaknesses. God’s presence goes with us wherever life’s path will take us. We may make some foolish decisions and encounter setbacks along the way, but He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Also, we are to follow the plan of God. They were told in the following verses to live according to the law of God. They were to meditate on it and not divert from it–”do not turn from it to the right or to the left.” That is getting at the heart of what it means to prosper and be successful. If we would be obedient to God’s law and do what He has commanded us to do, it will guarantee absolute success in life.

But finally, we are to appropriate the power of God. Success means the ability to face life’s challenges with courage and the strength to persevere. It means not cowering in retreat and discouragement when circumstances seem to overwhelm us. That strength comes from the Lord. “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Successful living is not due to one’s own ability, ambition, intelligence or skills. It comes from walking with the Lord, living by faith, acknowledging His presence and appropriating His power. “For then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have success.”

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