Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 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.
In our last post we talked about the need for transformation according to Romans 12:1-2. As we have journeyed through the book of Romans, we have discovered that we are no longer under the outward law. Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells us that God’s plan was for a New Covenant in which his laws would be written on our hearts. We would no longer keep the law from the outside in, but from the inside out. This New Covenant is the one spoken of in the book of Hebrews.
Romans 7 is a picture of a Christian who finds that his behavior does not match with the will, nature and purpose of God. Paul says that in that condition he is wretched. His outward, or flesh man is dominating him but his inward man, his spirit desires to live a life pleasing to God. A born-again person has been changed inwardly. He or she will never feel right until the outward matches the inward.
Romans 8 tells us the solution to the problem. We must walk in the spirit. That simply means we must live with the spirit in control. The first area that Romans 8 addresses is the mind. If we are carnally minded, we will walk in death. If we are spiritually minded, we will walk in the overcoming life of God. Paul is not talking to the world in this letter. He is writing to the church in Rome. What must we do to our mind to walk in the spirit? We must renew it. If we do, our inner man will begin to dominate how we think as our minds are reprogrammed by the Word of God.
The next question must be, “How do I renew my mind? What is the process?
We ended our last post by quoting from Joshua 1:8. The Lord starts His message to Joshua by saying, “Moses my servant is dead, now it falls to you to lead my people into the promised land.” This is a very difficult assignment. Moses did mighty miracles. Joshua was beside him for the whole journey, but he was called Moses’ minister or menial servant. He had led a few battles under Moses’ anointing, but he had never had to lead the whole nation. He did what he was asked to do but he knew that the final accountability was with Moses. Now, he is accountable for the nation. Whatever happens from here on will be on Joshua’s shoulders. What God says to him at this moment is very important!
When a person is born again, they begin a whole new kind of life. As a Christian, I am accountable for living a holy lifestyle. Romans 12:1 calls this my “reasonable service.” God does not see living according to his will and his ways as an unreasonable request. He expects us to grow into maturity as sons and daughters of God. This involves living a lifestyle that is pleasing to him. However, we cannot do that by the law of the flesh. We can only do that by walking in the spirit.
Joshua needed something more than what he had under Moses to fulfill his unique call as God’s new leader. Moses represents the Law. Joshua needed to go beyond the law. Joshua needed to release something deeper. That is exactly what you and I need to do if we are going to live as Christians in this world that is so contrary to the nature of God. We need to take the same advice that God gave to Joshua.
How do I renew my mind? How to I move from a carnally minded life, which is limited to natural thinking, to a spiritually minded life that is able to see beyond the natural? I must do exactly what Joshua had to do. I must do Joshua 1:8.
Let us look at this powerful verse more closely. He tells Joshua that he must meditate on “this book of the law” day and night. What book is God talking about? There were many books and teachings in the world at the time of Joshua and Moses. Certainly, Egypt was known for writing down their wisdom. However, none of the other books of his day would produce what Joshua needed at that moment. The only book God is talking about is the first 5 books of the bible that had been written down by Moses. It is called the Pentateuch.
Today, we have countless books on all kinds of subjects including all types of religious thinking. We have Christian books that can be very helpful. However, none of these books will renew our minds. None of them will transform us until we “make our way prosperous and have good success. Only one book can do that. It is called the Holy Bible.
We have much more than what was available to Joshua. Nevertheless, the method for allowing our “book of the revelation of Jesus” to prepare us for our life in Christ is the same as Joshua’s was for his new role in Israel. We must meditate on the Word of God both day and night. Then and only then will we make our way prosperous and have good success. That was God’s promise to Joshua.
Meditating on the Word did not make Joshua perfect. He still made mistakes. However, we find that Joshua is one of the few characters in the bible with no “major flaws.” Even David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and murder in his dealing with Uriah and his wife, Bathsheba. We find nothing like that recorded in the life of Joshua. I believe it is because of the admonition given to him when he took over the leader ship of Israel.
Learning the key of Meditation in the Word of God is one of the defining experiences in my Christian life. I believe it has been the key to my ministry. It has also been the key to my personal life. I am not rich nor am I famous, but I have lived a life of “good success” in every way that matters. At 64, I am healthy. I have never been in a hospital. I take no prescription medication. My bloodwork is good. I am active and able to do anything I need or want to do. Although I try to take care of my body, I am by no means a “health nut.” I believe God has sustained me as I have allowed his Word to reign in my life.
I have six children and sixteen grandchildren, all of whom are serving the Lord. That is certainly good success. I have a lovely wife that I have been married to for forty-six years. We are still happy and in love. That is good success. Even though I do not have a great deal of money in my bank account, I have never gone without what I needed, and I have a healthy number of things I desire. I have traveled the world and seen things I could never have imagined. I believe that is true prosperity.
I do not have a “mega-church” but God helped me build three healthy churches. I have also had the privilege of going to other nations and speaking into the lives of thousands of pastors, leaders and ministers. They have taken what I taught them to their homes and churches. I have no idea how many people have been touched by the words that I have spoken over the years. I believe that to be good success.
Most important, the more I have meditated on the Word of God and allowed it to renew my mind the more I have become “spiritually minded.” The more I have become spiritually minded, the deeper my relationship with God has become. Nothing defines prosperity more fully than that.
Next time we will begin to look at what it means to meditate in the Word of God and how to do it.