Biblical Keys For Successful Living
SUCCESS GOD’S WAY!
"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – THE MESSAGE BIBLE
If you asked ten people what the definition of success was, no doubt you would get ten different answers. There are probably just as many definitions, ideas and opinions about what success is as there are people in the world today. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. said that success is doing common things uncommonly well. Someone has said that behind every successful man there’s a woman who’s surprised! Someone else has said behind every successful man there’s a woman who’s exhausted! Some men think that success would be to have the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the golf game of Tiger Woods, the face of Danzel Washington, the brain of Albert Einstein, the corporate accomplishments of John H. Johnson and the money of Bill Gates! Many sisters believe that success would be to have the beauty of Halle Barry, the political savvy of Hillary Clinton, the grace, poise and mind of Maya Angelou, and the notoriety, fame and financial resources of Oprah Winfrey!
Some people think that success is having lots of money. But success and money are not necessarily the same thing because there are a whole lot of things that money can’t buy. Money can buy you a palace of breathtaking splendor filled with the priceless art of Michelangelo, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet, but money can never buy you a home filled with people who love and respect you there. Money can buy you the services of the finest doctors in the world, but money can never buy you the blessings of God-given health. Money can buy you the company of lots of people for a while, but money can never buy you the genuine fellowship of true friends. Money can buy you a companion for the night, but money can never buy you real love. Money can buy you a bed of solid gold and the softest mattress in the world, but money can never buy you one minute of rest or one moment of inner peace. Success is not having money.
Some people think that success is having power. But success and power are not necessarily the same thing. Hitler had power, Mussolini had power, Idi Ameen had power, Jim Jones had power, the southern land owners and slave traders of the antebellum slave community had power, The nineteen Islamic extremists who hijacked those planes on September 11, 2001 had power, the warlords who are raping and pillaging the various countries of Africa have power, but no one would call any of these men successful. Success is not necessarily having power.
Some people think that success is avoiding criticism, but if the truth be told, there are only three ways to avoid criticism, BY DOING NOTHING, BY BEING NOTHING, AND BY SAYING NOTHING. Success is not avoiding criticism, but learning how to receive criticism from a friend with love, honesty and forgiveness.
Success is not having money, power, or avoiding criticism. Success is not having prestige, position or prominence. Success is not having your name up in lights and enjoying the applause and accolades of men. Success is discovering and doing the will of God for your life. Success is fulfilling the purpose for which God created you in the first place. Success is discovering your God-given gifts and using them to fulfill your God-given destiny. God created us to succeed; you and I were made to win! God has given us everything we need to succeed in life, but we need to understand today that Biblical success is different from the world’s definition of success, and Biblical success is not something we just stumble into, if you want success God’s way then you’ve got to go after success God’s way! You and I will never possess what we will not pursue! If you want a deeper relationship with the Lord, you’ve got to pursue it. If you want a happy marriage, you’ve got to pursue it. If you want a degree, you’ve got to pursue it, If you want to get out of debt, you’ve got to pursue it. if you want to own your own business; you’ve got to pursue it! If you want to loose weight, you’ve got to put down that candy bar, step away from those cookies and doughnuts and pursue it. If you want to live a successful life God’s way, then you’ve got to stop waiting for your ship to come in and get on board with God’s program and set sail towards the horizon of God’s destiny for your life!
Let me let you in on a little secret: Ed McMahon is not coming to your house. The people at the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes are not making plans to knock on your door! You have a better chance of being struck by lightning in the middle of a snow storm than you have of winning the lottery! Stop wasting your life waiting for someone else to come along and solve all your problems! Stop waiting for prince charming to come through your door and sweep you off your feet and get busy living the life of success that God created you to live!
And you and I are blessed this morning because we have been given the Word of the living God! God’s Word is our blueprint, God’s Word is our road map, God’s Word is our play book, God’s Word is the authoritative standard for every detail of our lives and in His Word He has given us all the information we need to start living a life of success. The Bible gives us the keys to living a life of success God’s way!
The Lord said to Joshua in our text, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” If you’re going to have success God’s way then you’ve got to do things God’s way. Success starts with changing your perspectives and practices and embracing God’s perspectives and practices. Someone said that it’s crazy doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. And if you want success God’s way, then you’ve got to change from doing things your way to doing things God’s way and in this text, God gives us three things we must change if we’re going to live a life of success His way.
First of all, if you’re going to live a life of success, then YOU MUST CHANGE THE WAY YOU SPEAK. The people who have found God’s way to success have realized the enormous power that words have in their lives. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Our words can bring life to us and I believe our words can bring death to us. Our words can bring blessings to us and our words can bring curses to our lives. If a person constantly says, “I WISH I WERE DEAD” then I believe that that person is inviting the spirit of death to come to their lives. If a husband says “I want out of this marriage, then he has pronounced the death of that relationship. If a pregnant mother says, “I don’t want this baby” then I believe that that mother is pronouncing a word curse upon that unborn child and is risking loosing that pregnancy through the words that are coming out of her mouth.
How many children have been discouraged from even trying because of some teacher who spoke a word curse over their lives by telling them they were too stupid to learn? How many people are locked inside an emotional prison cell of self-hatred and failure because their parents spoke a word curse over their lives when they were young? Words have a supernatural power and what we allow to come out of our mouths has a way of becoming reality in our lives because life and death are in the power of the tongue. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. “ The Bible says again in Proverbs 18:7-8 “A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
God told Joshua in our text, THIS BOOK OF THE LAW SHALL NOT DEPART OUT OF YOUR MOUTH…” In essence, God told Joshua and the people, “IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A LIFE OF SUCCESS, THEN YOU’VE GOT TO WATCH WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A LIFE OF SUCCESS, THEN YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN TO SPEAK OUT OF YOUR MOUTH WHAT I’VE ALREADY SPOKEN OUT OF MY MOUTH!” God told Joshua and the people of God, “IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE, NOT THE GREEK LANGUAGE, NOT THE HEBREW LANGUAGE, NOT SPANISH OR JAPENESE, BUT ITS TIME FOR YOU TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF FAITH! ITS TIME FOR YOU TO SPEAK THE LANGAUGE OF THE BOOK!
Let me ask you a question, is your mouth a source of healing or a source of hurting? Is your mouth a wellspring of truth and praise or is your mouth a garbage can of gossip, lies and innuendo? Do you use your mouth to encourage, edify and build up, or do you use your mouth to discourage, nullify and breakdown? Success begins with speaking the language of faith! Success begins with speaking those things that aren’t as though they were! Success begins with the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart being acceptable in His sight! Success begins with us taming our tongues and allowing the word of faith to come forth out of our mouths. Brothers and sisters, we must develop the habit of speaking success even before our success is manifested in the natural.
When David faced Goliath, David didn’t crumble in fear, David didn’t acquiesce in weakness, but David looked that ugly giant in the face and said, “YOU COME AGAINST ME WITH A SWORD AND A SHIELD, BUT I COME AGAINST YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOST…” David spoke success even before he experienced success in the natural. In 2nd Chronicles 14 when Asa faced Zerah and the Ethiopians who had an army of a million men, Asa didn’t shrivel up in fear but Asa called on the Lord, He said in 2 Chron 14:11 - LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
Asa spoke success even before success was manifested in the natural.
I told you in my message last week that a victorious life comes form those who have an I CAN attitude, well, not only do we need an I CAN attitude, but we also need an I CAN vocabulary! We need to stop saying “MAYBE” and start saying “I WILL BY THE GRACE OF GOD!” We ought to stop saying “THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE.” And start saying, “ WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!” We ought to stop saying “I DON’T KNOW THE RIGHT PEOPLE” and start saying “I KNOW GOD ALMIGHTY AND HE’S MORE THAN ENOUGH TO MEET MY NEEDS!” we ought to stop saying “I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EDUCATION” and start saying the words of the apostle James “IF ANY OF YOU LACKS WISDOM LET HIM ASK OF GOD.” We need to stop saying “I’M TOO OLD TO GET INVOLVED” and realize that Moses was eighty years old when God called him into the ministry and he died at the age of 120 after walking right into his own funeral.
You need to make up in your mind today that you are going to speak the Word of God over you life. If you’re going to be successful God’s way, you must begin by changing the way you speak.
But secondly not only must you change the way you speak but you must also change the way you think. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, AS A MAN THINKS, SO IS HE. All of us have heard doctors and nutritionists say for years YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, but I want you to know that the Bible declares YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK! No person can consistently behave in a way that contradicts what they believe about themselves. Whatever you consistently think about is what you will inevitably become. If you think you’re a success, you are! If you think you’re a failure, you are! If you think you’re old, washed-up and weak, then you will be old, washed and weak no matter how old you really are! If you think you’re strong, smart and full of life, then you will be strong, smart and full of live no matter how old you are! You are what you think you are. Our thoughts are the building blocks of who we are and what we will eventually become. Our thoughts have the power to fill our lives with hope or our thoughts have the power to fill our lives with despair. YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE!
SUCCESSFUL THINKING LEADS TO SUCCESSFUL LIVING and no one exemplifies the power of successful thinking more than Wilma Rudolph. From the very beginning, Wilma Rudolph had a tough time in life. Born the 20th of 22 children, Wilma was born prematurely and the doctors didn’t expect her to survive. At a young age, she contracted double pneumonia twice and she wrestled with scarlet fever. A bout with polio left her left leg crooked and her feet twisted inward. Wilma was forced to wear braces on her legs and her dream of running and playing with her brothers and sisters seemed a lost cause.
But Wilma never gave up on her dream of running and playing without those leg braces and her mother would always reassure Wilma that if she just believed she could do anything. Wilma began to take those braces off and practice walking without them. At first it was awkward and difficult, but she kept on working hard. And although it was extremely painful and extremely difficult, she practiced and practiced until she felt her legs getting stronger and stronger. She made up her mind she would walk without braces, and she did. She made up her mind she would run without braces, and she did. Wilma made up in her mind that she would make her high school track team, and she did. Wilma could not only outrun all the girls in her high school, but she went on to outrun all the girls in her town, her county, and she eventually became the fastest female sprinter in the entire state of Tennessee. At the tender age of 16, Wilma won a spot on the 1956 Olympic track team and won a bronze medal as a part of the women’s 400-meter relay team in Melbourne, Australia. In the 1960 Olympics, Wilma went on to become the first woman in history to win three gold medals in track and field. Wilma Rudolph was able to overcome her weakness and setbacks because she chose not to think of herself as a weakling and a victim, but she saw herself as a champion and since she thought of herself as a champion, she became a champion. YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE!
You see, everything in life begins with a thought. Everything you see around began as a thought in the mind of a creator. When God decided to create a universe, the thought of the universe began in his own mind and then, by the sheer power of his own omnipotence, he spoke the universe into existence by the power of his own words and that which only began as a thought in the mind of God now exists as reality. Henry Ford thought about the need for automotive transportation, and his thought became the first Model T car. George Washington Carver thought about the usefulness of the peanut and his thoughts eventually led to numerous applications from the peanut. Everything in life begins with a thought. Your mind is the place where successful living begins and it is also the place where the Devil will fight you the most because he knows that once you make up your mind to trust in the Lord and move into His destiny for your life, there’s absolutely nothing he can do to stand in your way. That’s why the Lord told Joshua in this text to MEDITATE ON THE WORD DAY AND NIGHT. The word MEDITATE means to think deeply, to ponder, to reflect upon, to focus one’s thoughts on for a period of time. God says in this text, if you want to be successful then you’ve got to think about my Word.
The Bible says in Romans 12:2, that you and I are transformed by the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS. And our minds are renewed as we fill our minds with the mind of God, which is the Word of God. You see when you meditate on the Word of God, His ways become your ways, when you meditate upon the Word of God, His thoughts become your thoughts. When you meditate on the Word of God, His Word reminds you...
- WEEPING MAY ENDURE FOR A NIGHT, BUT JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING
- FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH YOU, BE NOT DISMAYED, FOR I AM YOUR GOD; I WILL STRENGTHEN THEE, YEA, I WILL HELP THEE, YEA I WILL UPHOLD THE WITH MY RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND
- THOUGH I WALK IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE, THOU WILL REVIVE ME; THOU SHALL STRETCH FORTH THINE HAND AGAINST THE WRATH OF MINE ENEMIES, AND THY RIGHT HAND SHALL SAVE ME
- AND BE NOT WEARY IN WELL DOING FOR IN DUE SEASON WE SHALL REAP, IF WE FAINT NOT.
- BEING CONFIDENT OF THIS ONE THING, THAT HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL PERFORM IT UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS.
- THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION, WHOM SHALL I FEAR? THE LORD IS THE STRENGTH OF MY LIFE, OF WHOM SHALL I BE AFRAID?
In order to have success God’s way, you must first of all change the way you speak, God told Joshua that the book of the law should not depart out of his mouth and we discovered that you must speak the language of faith in order to live a life of success. And secondly, if you’re going to have success God’s way then you must change the way you think, God told Joshua that he should meditate on the Word day and night. But finally, if you’re going to have success God’s way, you must change the way you act.
And I know that if you want to be successful God’s way that you have to change the way you act, because God told Joshua in this text, THIS BOOK OF THE LAW SHALL NOT DEPART OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, BUT YOU SHALL MEDITATE IN IT DAY AND NIGHT THAT YOU MAY OBSERVE TO DO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN THEREIN, FOR THEN SHALL YOU MAKE YOUR PROSPEROUS AND THEN SHALL YOU HAVE GOOD SUCCESS! God says to Joshua and the people of God in this text that not only must you speak right in order to have success, and not only must you think right in order to have success, but he says that you must also act right in order to have success. God says, THAT YOU MUST OBSERVE TO DO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN THEREIN…’
You see, my brothers and my sisters, it won’t make a bit of difference if we speak right and think right, if we don’t turn around and act right. Jesus taught that only those who act right will be allowed to live with Him in heaven. Jesus said in Matt 7 - "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” The Apostle James repeats this teaching when he says in James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving yourselves…” Obedience to the Word of God is the key to unlocking the abundance, the blessing and favor of God in our lives. We must be doers of the Word if we going to experience success God’s way. We must commit ourselves to doing things God’s way according to God’s Word and God’s will. Obeying God comes down to realizing that’s it’s not about us, but it’s all about Him! Obeying God comes down to trusting that God knows what’s best for our lives and His way is always the best way!
A little girl asked her girlfriend if she could come out and play one day, and her friend said, WAIT JUST A MINUTE, LET ME GO ASK MY MOMMA.” And so the little girl went and asked her momma, and when she came back she told her that her momma said that she couldn’t go out and play. And the first little girl said, “AW, YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T ASK HER HARD ENOUGH, DON’T LET YOUR MOMMA GO THAT EASY, GO IN THERE AND CRY AND BEG SOME MORE AND I’M SURE YOUR MOMMA WILL LET YOU COME OUT AND PLAY.” But the second little girl said, ‘OH, NO, I CAN’T DO THAT, BECAUSE YOU SEE, WHEN MY MOMMA SAYS NO, SHE MEANS NO. MY MOMMA DOESN’T CHANGE HER MIND. SHE SAYS WHAT SHE MEANS AND SHE MEANS WHAT SHE SAYS. AND I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE WHAT MOMMA SAYS, AND I DON’ ALWAYS UNDERSTANDS WHAT MOMMA SAYS, BUT ONE THING I DO NOW IS THIS, MY MOMMA LOVES ME AND MY MOMMA KNOWS WHAT’S BEST FOR ME AND IF MY MOMMA SAYS ITS NOT THE RIGHT TIME TO GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY, THEN IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME TO GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY. MY MOMMA LOVES ME TOO MUCH TO LET ME DO THE WRONG THING! MY MOMMA KNOWS WHAT’S BEST FOR ME!”
And my brothers and sisters, every child of God ought to be just like that! We ought to trust God enough to know that God loves us and God knows what’s best for us! Whatever God means, that’s what he says and whatever God says, that’s what he means. And God has given us His word as His divine blueprint for living a life of success. Our response ought to be to obey His Word and to walk in His ways. Obediance to God’s word is the secret to living a life of success!
But as I hasten on to a close, experiencing success God’s way means that we must change the way we speak, experiencing success God’s way means that we must change the way we think, and experiencing success God’s way means that we must change the way we act, but, my brothers and sister, we must be very careful that we don’t define success the way the world defines success, because the world defines success according to possessions, positions, pomp and prominence, but God defines success according to purity, purpose, and spiritual power. We must no fall into the trap of defining success the way the world defines success, because according to the world’s definition, JESUS WAS NOT A SUCCESS…
- JESUS WAS BORN IN AN OBSCURE LITTLE VILLAGE IN ONE OF THE SMALLEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
- JESUS WAS BORN INTO ONE OF THE MOST HATED MINORITIES IN THE WORLD
- JESUS WASN’T RCI BY THE WORLD’S STANDARDS; JESUS OWNED NO PALACES OR FINE CHARIOTS OF GOLD
- JESUS HAD NO POLITICAL, THE RULING GOVERNMENT OF HIS DAY THOUGHT HE WAS A NUISANCE
- JESUS WENT AROUND TEACHING WHAT MANY THOUGHT WAS A STRANGE WAY TO SUCCESS; JESUS TAUGHT PEOPLE TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK, HE TAUGHT PEOPLE TO LOVE THEIR ENEMIES AND PRAY FOR THEM THAT DESPITEFULLY USE THEM.
- JESUS HAD NO FANCLY CLOTHES, JESUS WORE THE CLOTHING OF A COMMON MAN
- JESUS DIDN’T HANG AROUND CELEBRITIES AND THE UPPERCRUST OF HUMANITY; JESUS HUNG OUT WITH FISHERMEN, TAX COLLECTORS, PROSTITUTES AND SINNERS
- JESUS WAS ARRESTED, TRIED AND CONVICTED LIKE A COMMON CRIMINAL
- JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED ON A CROSS LIKE A COMMON CRIMINAL…
BY THE WORLD’S STANDARDS, JESUS CHRIST WAS A FAILURE. BUT WHAT THEY THEY THOUGH WAS A COMPLETE FAILURE, TURNED OUT TO BE OUR GREATEST SUCCESS, BECAUSE EARLY SUNDAY MORING, HE GOT UP WITH ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS! AND WHEN JESUS GOT UP FROM THAT TOMB…
- HE SUCCESSFULLY CONQUERED DEATH, HELL AND THE GRAVE
- HE SUCCESSFULLY PAID THE PRISCE FOR MY REDEMPTION
- HE SUCCESSFULLY MADE A WAY FOR ME TO HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE
- HE SUCCESSFULLY MADE A WAY FOR ME TO HAVE JOY EVERLASTING AND FULL OF GLORY
- HE SUCCESSFULLY DEFEATED THE DEVIL ONCE AND FOR ALL
That’s why the saints use to sing that song TRUST AND OBEY FOR THERE’S NO OTHER WAY TO BE HAPPY IN JESUS, THAN TO TRUST AND OBEY!
TALK IS CHEAP! IT’S TIME FOR US TO PUT OUR ACTIONS WHERE OUR MOUTH IS!
But if you’re talking according to the Word of God, and thinking according to the word of God, then your actions will line up and be in agreement with the teachings of the Word of God. You see, a lot of times, we can trace the root of failure back to our not acting right, in accordance with God’s word. If you don’t treat your husband or your wife right, in accordance with God’s Word, then your marriage is going to fail. If you don’t treat your children right according to the Word and the will of God, then your parenting will not be right and your children will not act right. If you don’t handle your money the way God tells you to handle your money, then you finances will not be right and your blessings will not be right. If you don’t operate your business the way God tells you to operate your business, then your business will not enjoy the benefit of the blessings of God, you might make a lot of money, but God has a way of burning a hole in your pocket when you don’t honor Him and put Him first.
Peterson, E. H. 2003. The Message : The Bible in contemporary language . NavPress: Colorado Springs, Colo.