What is your definition of success?
by Trina Love Abram
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 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. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go.”
In Joshua 1:6-9, God gives Joshua a recipe for success and prosperity. He tells Joshua to:
- Be strong and courageous because of the tasks ahead and the journey he must take. God gave all of us our own journey, our destiny, which is full of tasks, obstacles, and trials that require strength and courage.
- Obey God’s commands…the 10 commandments in Exodus 20:2-21:
- No other gods before God.
- Make no idols of heavenly or Earthly things.
- Don’t misuse God’s name (speak it in praise or worship).
- Do not work on Sunday (rest, reflect, and restore our spirit for the days ahead)
- Honor your father and mother (speak well of and politely to them; courteous; respect).
- Do not murder.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not lie by leaving something out, telling a half-truth, twisting the facts, or deception.
- Do not covet; intensely desire another person’s things. No envy or jealousy.
- Read the Bible daily and meditate on it. Reading and studying the bible builds our spiritual strength, courage, trust, and faith, and meditating on the scriptures invokes the Holy Spirit to teach us, counsel us, lead us into truth and convict us of wrong (John 14:26).
- Read and meditate on the Bible daily.
Joshua 1:6-9 publishes God’s idea of success, not the world’s success. The success that God promotes is the only one that matters though. We tend to transpose things to suit our viewpoint, often tainting the intentions. People erroneously think that success is a result of pedigree, education, power, workaholism (Proverbs 23:4), wealth and abundant material blessings (Proverbs 8:17-21); however, according to Joshua 1:6-9, this conjecture is flawed.
What is God’s definition of Success?
A proverb is a short, concise sentence that conveys moral truth, which is what King Solomon, the wisest man ever, uses to define God’s vision of success in the book of Proverbs. According to the book of Proverbs, you are successful if you :
- Work hard (Proverbs 12:24, 14:23, 19:15, 28:19)
- Know and fear God (Proverbs 8:32-36, 9:10, 10:27, 14:2)
- Respect your spouse (Proverbs 5:15-19, 18:22, 21:19)
- Encourage, love, and give to others (Proverbs 14:31, 21:13, 28:27)
- Wise and nurture spiritual strength (Proverbs 1:10-15, 3:13, 24:10, 24:14)
- Self-controlled and disciplined (Proverbs 2:16-19, 10:17, 15:32, 16:17)
- Good, moral character (Proverbs 20:27, 21:3, 21, 22:4)
- Resist temptation (Proverbs 5:3-20, 27:8)
- Tame the tongue (Proverbs 10:19, 12:14, 12:18-19 , 13:3, 15:4, 15:7, 17:28, 18:4-8, 18:20-21)
- Truthful (Proverbs 3:9-10, 12:19-22, 14:25)
- Have a good reputation (Proverbs 3:3-4, 4:24-27, 22:1)
- Peace keeper (Proverbs 10:6, 20:3, 15:1, 16:14)
- Forgive others (Proverbs 6:30)
- Obedient (Proverbs 3, 4:1-24)
All of the other Books of the Bible and verses in some way build upon one or more of the characteristics in Proverbs.
Proverbs 16:1-7 sums it all up for me:
“To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.
All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.
The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.”
In our lives, we individually define our own successes as meeting goals and milestones that we or someone else set. Our desires become sinful if they supersede our desire to know and grow in the Lord. Being obsessive about anything makes the object of your obsession your god. When we ask God for things that we want, we must make sure that our motives are pure. Being strong and courageous, obedient, cultivating and maintaining a strong spirit and moral character, and reading the bible for wisdom and direction, is what God wants us to pursue to be successful. And as Matthew 6:33 says, seek God first and everything else will fall into place.
Also check out A Life of Success by Toi Jones at Streaming Faith
© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram