By Rick Warren
This month I will be discussing the final principle for success. To recap, the first four principles are:
1. Be clear in your direction
2. Be confident in your desires
3. Be committed to your decision
4. Be corrected by your defeats
Now, the final principle.
5. BE CONSCIOUS OF GOD’S DEPENDABILITY.
Joshua 1 is filled with promises from God. God says over and over, “Joshua, you can depend on Me. You can count on it. You can bet your bottom dollar! I’m going to be here. I’m going to take care of you. I am dependable!” In this passage there are four things that God promises to do if we will obey Him in every area of life. And they are amazing, unbelievable guarantees.
1) God promises if we obey Him, his power. v. 5. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.” If you are in tune with God, you will be invincible. Nothing can stop you.
2) God promises His protection. v. 5 “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And I will never leave you or forsake you.” God says not only will nothing stop you, but nothing can harm you because He is with you.
3) God promises prosperity. v. 8 “Do not let this book of the law depart out of your mouth but meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything [not some things] written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” I didn’t say that; God said that! You will be prosperous and successful if you obey all the principles in God’s word.
Am I saying God wants every Christian to be a millionaire? No, not at all. The Bible’s definition of prosperity: Having more than you need. And God says, “I guarantee you’ll have more than you need.”
Look at v. 4, the territories promised to Israel, “From the desert in Lebanon to the great river of the Euphrates.” That’s clear over to Iran. From all the Hittite country to the Great Sea. That’s the Mediterranean. Now you know why the Israelites still argue over the borders, the West Bank and all that. They say, “Rightfully God gave us all this land. All of it is ours by divine right.” When you look at that much land, did they need that much land? No way.
This principle says that God always gives in abundance. He promises power, protection and prosperity.
4. GOD PROMISES HIS PRESENCE.
Verse nine tells us, “God will be with you wherever you go.” That’s an amazing guarantee. The condition is obedience to everything God says in His word. Verse 7 tells us, “obey all the law” and verse 8, “be careful to do everything written”. You don’t get to pick and choose the rules you like and then throw out the rest. God says there’s a reason for every principle in the Bible and if you obey them all He promises power, prosperity, protection and His presence in your life.
Joshua 24:15 summarizes Joshua’s life and why he was such a fantastic success. Joshua is saying, You guys make a decision. Decide if you’re really going to be for the Lord or not, but don’t be luke warm, wishy-washy. “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve whether the gods of your forefathers served beyond the river or the God of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But [this is the key to his life] as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Regardless of what anybody else does, Joshua decides he is going to live for God. He is going to be committed to Him. And so is his family and his household. That declaration summarizes Joshua’s life.
God has clearly outlined these principles of success in His word. He says,
1. Be clear in your direction. Have a clear goal, not a vague goal. Know exactly what you want to accomplish.
2. Be confident in your desires. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t doubt and be double minded. God can speak through your desires. Don’t let experiences or emotions or excuses rob you of confidence.
3. Be committed to your decision. Don’t be afraid of committing yourself to a marriage, to Christ, to a church, or to leading your ministry. Or all of the above! Don’t be afraid. The only way you accomplish anything is by commitment. Don’t let problems or pressures or people tempt you to give up.
4. Be corrected by your defeats. If you’ve made a mistake, welcome to the human race. Ask forgiveness, correct the action and move on.
5. Be conscious of God’s dependability. God says, “You’re not doing this alone. I am with you. I’m here. Tune to Me. Look at the things I want to promise you if you’ll just live in the way I meant for you to live in the first place.”
Now, I encourage you to answer the questions below. Give them some serious contemplation.
1) Do you know where you’re headed in life? Where are you headed? What are your deepest desires? What are your goals? Are they clear? Are they specific? Are they worthwhile? Are you letting other people determine what’s important?
2) Are you confident in your desires? Or do you fall victim to double mindedness and doubt? Have you let your past control your future? Do you allow yourself to be manipulated by a bad memory? Do you tend to base your decisions on your moods? Do you say, “I don’t feel like it”? Do you find yourself making excuses for not even trying?
3) What are you really committed to? Anything? A guaranteed way to be miserable is to live your life only for yourself. Don’t be afraid of making commitments in your ministry. You will never be a successful leader until you are brave enough to make the necessary commitments to those you serve.
4) What are you learning from your mistakes? Can you see what God is trying to teach you? Are you open to change? Can you admit it when you’re wrong? Or do you just stubbornly keep making the same mistakes over and over?
5) Are you willing to follow God’s instructions? Are you willing to say, “God, I want to follow You, regardless.” Are you fully surrendered?