Every person wants to be successful. We often measure our worth by how successful we are, and our measure of success is often a worldly standard rather than a godly standard. Worldly success means luxury, wealth, possessions, achievements, notoriety, fame, beauty, brains, and brawn.

God’s definition of success is completely unlike the world’s definition. And His standard works for every person in every situation, whether at school, in business, in our families, or in our church. The path to true success cannot be traveled by anyone who does not follow God’s principles for success. Let us consider these principles as found in Joshua 1:6-9.


Notice the number of times God states this command to Joshua (verses 6, 7, 9). Why did God tell Joshua that he needed to be courageous? What would Joshua face that would require great courage? Besides making him the leader of the nation of Israel, God gave Joshua a huge project to complete: to lead the army into Canaan and drive out the people who lived there.

Forty years before this, Moses had sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan. They came back with stories of giants in the land who made them look like grass- hoppers. When the Israelites heard this, they were afraid and refused to enter the land.

Seven nations lived in Canaan, all of them larger and stronger than Israel. By human standards, Joshua faced an uphill battle. He had every reason to be afraid. That's why God encouraged him to be strong and courageous. Do you ever feel like you're facing uphill battle?

Do you sometimes an think the odds are against you? There may be hundreds of times in our when we're faced with situations that, to our eyes, seem impossible. There are outward circumstances such as illnesses and disabilities, broken relationships, financial hardships, or job losses. Inner conflicts may test our faith-attacks on personal integrity, faith- ful when no one is looking, enduring the sting of loneliness and separation, standing alone when you're misunder- stood. There are many times in our lives when we need to hear God's command to Joshua: "Be strong and courageous."

There’s another key factor we dare not overlook. Even though Joshua and the Israelites were small compared to the enemy, they had God on their side. This tipped the scales in their favor. Read Joshua 1:9 and Deuteronomy 7:17-19, 21. This is what provides the foundation for our courage. “For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Real success is not a result of our own strength and courage; real success comes from the strength and courage we receive from the knowledge that God is walking with us.

For Joshua to lead the people into the land of Canaan and claim God’s promise, he had to be strong and courageous. The Israelites couldn’t be like their fathers had been a generation ago, grumbling and complaining and refusing to enter the land because of their fear. Moses recounts the story of their failure in Deuteronomy 1:26-32.

The outcome of their fear and unbelief was . . . what? God became angry with them and took away from that generation the blessings He had reserved especially for them. God didn’t want Joshua and his generation to make the same mistake.

In God’s formula for success, the first thing we must do is be strong and courageous, “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


Notice how the Lord delivers this message to Joshua in verse 7: “Be careful to obey all the law.”

It would be convenient if we could pick and choose which of God’s principles and laws we could follow and which we found to be too demanding and harsh. Ellen G. White affirms, “But God requires obedience to all His commands. The only way in which it is possible for men to be happy is by rendering obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom” (Our High Calling, p. 24).

The law that Joshua was given was very detailed, and God expected him to learn it, meditate on it, and apply it. Ellen G. White says, “When we are daily under the control of God’s Spirit, we shall be commandment-keeping people. We may show to the world that obedience to God’s commands brings its own reward, even in this life, and in the future life eternal blessedness” (Our Father Cares, p. 281).


We make mistakes when we buy a new gadget and don’t read the instruction manual. The same is true when it comes to the Christian walk. Many of our mistakes could be avoided if we immerse ourselves in God’s Word.

ILLUSTRATION: When I first bought my new computer, I tried using it without referring to the manual. I made frequent errors. My mistakes were made in ignorance, but that didn’t stop me from suffering the consequences as I deleted unsaved material or lost files. My ignorance was voluntary ignorance. The information I needed was available—if I had just taken the time to read it.

When we live our lives without consulting God’s Word, it’s a deliberate, voluntary ignorance, but that ignorance will not stop us from suffering the consequences. The wisdom we need is available, and it’s vital that we don’t just read our instruction manual, the Bible; we must also meditate on it and let God’s Word saturate our spirit.

God’s formula for success works, but there are no shortcuts. His plan calls us to be strong and courageous. It calls us to be obedient to His commands. It calls us to saturate our spirit with His Word.

General Conference Ministerial Association