Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Joshua 1:8 is the only time in the Scriptures where the word “success” is mentioned. Please take note of this! The Bible does not say if you do these things you will be successful. Read verse 8 again. It does not say that you will have success. It says that you will have “good success.” There is a difference between “success” and “good success.”
Good success is man doing what God made him to do.
Madonna has sold her soul to the Devil and some call her a success. Britney Spears has sold her body and soul to the Devil. Some call her a success. Clint Eastwood is called a success, but that is not “good success.” Some call Donald Trump a success, but that is not “good success.” People called Michael Jackson a success, but that was not “good success.” On and on I could go with Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Payton Manning, etc., but “good success” is the only success mentioned by God as acceptable to Him according to the Scriptures.
When you, as a child of God, run to Satan’s world to find success, you will fail at finding “good success” while finding “success.” God wants for his people not to be a success, rather God wants his people to have “good success.”
I do not want to be a success! I want to have “good success.” What is “good success?” Good success is one doing what God made him or her to do. Good success is not in having but being. If you are born, live, die, and do not the thing or things that God put you here on Earth to do, you are a miserable flop.
You may flop with millions of dollars in the bank, but you are still a flop. You may flop as a king of a nation, as a movie star, as an NFL hall of famer, or as an inductee into Cooperstown Hall of Fame for baseball players.
God had a reason for your birth, life, and even death. You, my friend, are no uh oh with God. God made you, my friend, on purpose. He has a reason for your existence. God had a job for you to do and God made you for that job.
Good success is doing it where God made man to do it.
Hold it! Please do not misunderstand me. The “what” takes precedence over the “where” of the will of God, but no one should negate the “where.” I would rather a person be doing the “what” in the wrong “where” than doing the wrong “what” in the right “where.” If I am to be a “good success,” I must do “what” God made me to do “where” God made me to do it.
Good success is doing it how God made me to do it.
If a pastor were to take a poll of what people would like in a church in the town where he pastors, and then made a church like what they wanted, he may be doing what God made him to do, doing it where God made him to do it, but not “how” God made him to do it. That would not be “good success.”
Those who are giving to the people what they want in a church in order to build a big church may find success, but they will not find “good success.” They may have success without being a success.
Marriages that are built on doing the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Child rearing that is built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Finances built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.” Businesses, families, and education built on the wrong “how” will not find “good success.”
I may do “what” God wants me to do “where” he wants me to do it, but if it is not “how” God wanted me to do it then I cannot have “good success.” A well-known pastor who spoke many times at Sword of the Lord Conferences stood before his people one Sunday and said he was wrong about standards and dropped all standards at his church. His offerings went up. His drive-in attendance went up. Some called him a success, but my friend that may be success, but it is not “good success.”
There are two twin doctrines. Soul winning and standards are those twins. I meet Liberty University graduates all over America who know nothing of aggressive, personal soul winning who beg me for help. This is the same university founded by a soul winner in Dr. Jerry Falwell. He was an aggressive soul winner and produced personally on a regular basis. However, when the standards started to drop at the University so did the aggressive soul winning.
Standards are the vehicle that will carry aggressive personal soul winning to the next generation. If you cannot say “No” to Hollywood and have enough character and discipline to guard your eye gate, then you will not stay out on a bus route for 8 hours on a Saturday.
So, to have success without being a success is in essence failure. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. would call it destroying the orchard! We are to keep the orchard healthy and it will continue to produce fruit for years to come. If a big church can be built on no standards and no convictions, then it may be a success, but it will not be “good success.”
Good success is doing “what” God put me here to do, “where” God put me to do it, and “how” God meant for me to do it. The question begs to be answered, how may then someone have “good success?”
THE BOOK OF THE LAW SHALL NOT DEPART OUT OF THY MOUTH.
The Word of God is to be on our lips all the time. The Word of God is to determine our daily lifestyles, not Hollywood, Paris or France. The spreading of the Gospel, teaching the Words of God, preaching the Words of God, and defending not only Its preservation but also Its inspiration for the next generation leads to “good success.”
THOU SHALT MEDITATE THEREIN DAY AND NIGHT.
It simply means imagine, mutter, picture the good, picture the bad, mourn, ponder, study, and talk of it. All of us have a lot of things on our minds, but the number one thing that must be on our minds, dominating our minds, and filling our minds is the very Words of God.
Try this everyday; relate everything to the Scriptures. Humanism is everything revolving around mankind. Christianity is everything revolving around God. You may have success with your life revolving around making money, seeking fame, and fortune, but “good success” will be found only in everything in life revolving around God’s Word.
God does not want you living a monastic life. You and I are “in” this world, but we are not to be “of” this world. Let your job and its demands end up being Bible related. Let your marriage, parenting, education, and finances end up being Bible related. God is not calling on his people to be isolated from the world, but rather insulated from the world.
I love sports. I love competition, but that is “phileo” not “agape” love. Phileo is a “like” type of love. Nothing wrong with money for it is the “love” or “agape” of money that will destroy. Nothing wrong with marital intimacy, cars, houses, and things, but if your life revolves around you and things while ignoring God, then you may be a “success” without having “good success.”
Your definition of “success” may be found in promotion, career, stock market, making money, making a name for yourself, accumulating real estate, or becoming popular, but just in case there is someone reading this chapter who would like to have what God calls “good success,” you will have to have the Words of God in your mouth and in your thoughts.
OBSERVE TO DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN THEREIN.
From the word “according” we derive the word “accordion” or “squeeze box” as my grandmother called them. Your life can make beautiful music if the left hand and the right hand are playing the same tune.
The Prodigal son came to himself, the Scripture says, while he was in the hog pen. There were two prodigal sons in one son. James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 4:1, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”
Having a lot of money may be success, but having a lot of Scriptures on your lips, in your thoughts, and in your actions is according to God “good success.” Donald Trump can make millions and keep it, but he cannot make a wife happy and keep her. He has success, but not “good success.” Kobe Bryant can discipline himself to make baskets as a pro, but he cannot discipline himself enough to make his flesh behave. He has success, but he does not have “good success.” Professional athletes make a name for themselves on Earth, which is success, but do not make a name for themselves in Heaven, which is “good success.”
Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither: and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
- Have the Word of God on my lips
- Have the Word of God in my thoughts
- Have the Word of God in action in my life
- Do not listen to ungodly counsel.
- Do not walk with the ungodly.
- Do not sit in the seat of the scornful.
- Delight in the Words of God.
If any of God’s children will do these things God promises “good success” or “…whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Dr. Bob Gray, Sr.
Longview Baptist Temple