What is true prosperity and success? The world would say it’s achieved when you have such things as a happy marriage, your kids honor and respect you, you have a solid position at work, you’re bank account is growing, and you’re enjoying great health. While all those things may define the American dream, they are not God’s definition of prosperity and success. We tend to make everything about us. But it’s not. It’s all about God.
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Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #79, and in this week’s episode, we talk about the importance of eating your veggies and saying “Moooo!”
God said to Joshua (in 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 great success.”
I want you to notice that God tells Joshua that when he meditates daily on the Scriptures, THEN Joshua would make his way prosperous and enjoy good success. You see, it is only when you meditate on God’s Word, applying its truth to your daily life, that your choices to glorify God will affect a lifestyle change. You are choosing to make your “way,” – your course of life – prosperous. It is then (and only then) that the contentment, peace, and godliness God has promised to you will be fully experienced in your life.
The word God uses in Joshua 1:8 for “prosperous” refers to achieving your goal. Remember: the goal of each and every Born-Again-Believer is to know and glorify God in everything we think, say, and do. When you meditate daily on God’s Word, when you then choose daily to apply its truth to your life, and as you daily seek to know your Creator, Heavenly Father, and Savior of your soul even more – that is when you are changing the course of your life. You are achieving your ultimate goal. You are being truly prosperous. You see, prosperity isn’t about achieving the great American dream and having it all. It’s about living a life that glorifies God, day in and day out. When you are living that kind of life, you are experiencing all that God has planned for you.
Ok, so another by-product of meditation on God’s Word is that you will “have good success.” The word God uses here for “success” literally means that you have been given insight and comprehension into WHO God is and what His will is for your life. The direct result of this insight is that you are able to act wisely in your every day, every-moment choices. Success isn’t found in gaining that promotion at work. Success is experienced only when you know God more and choose those things that will bring honor and glory to your Heavenly Father – succeeding at that which He created you do to.
Being prosperous and successful, as God defines it, can only be achieved as we first meditate upon His Word then choose to walk in obedience to it as our meaningful act of worship. We are to read God’s Word “all the days of our life so that we may learn to revere the Lord our God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.” (Deuteronomy 17:19) We are to “delight ... in the law of the Lord, and on His law ... meditate day and night. (Then we will be) ... like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever we do prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)
Turning our attention back to Joshua 1:8 again, I want you to notice that God instructs Joshua to “not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. God is revealing – both to Joshua and to us – three things we must do in order to experience true prosperity and success.
First, eat your vegetables. No, I’m not referring to carrots, corn, and green beans. But there is an analogy I would like to craw from that. Do you eat? Of course you do. We all eat. But why do you eat? I know that we can probably come up with a plethora of reasons, but the bottom line is that as we eat, the nutrients from the food we consume help us grow and gain weight, amongst a number of other things.
Take a moment right now and bend your left arm up at the elbow and feel your bicep. Now feel the bones in your wrist. The nutrients that come from food help our bones and muscles grow and stay strong. No, if you’re able to do so, I want you to stand up right now and do a couple of jumping jacks. Those same nutrients give us the energy we need (through the carbohydrates) to go throughout the day. They also help us stay well and get well quickly when we get sick. The fiber in our food helps our digestive system and it helps keep our teeth and gums healthy. It’s also equally true that if we eat nothing but “junk food” all the time, our bodies will suffer the consequences from such a diet.
Ok, why the health-break just now? Paul told Timothy that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.” (1 Timothy 4:8) It is important for our physical well-being, health, growth, and development to not only eat food but eat the right kinds of food. It is even more important for your spiritual well-being, growth, and development that you not only “eat,” but eat properly. What are you doing daily to feed your soul? God instructs Joshua (and us) to keep His Word on your lips. In other words, we need to daily feed upon Scripture. We need a daily diet of God’s Word. We need to open our Bible daily and devour the words of our Heavenly Father. Jeremiah put it this way: “When God’s Words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Jeremiah 15:16) Oh, my friend, hear me – you need to be in the Word of God, listening to the God of the Word speak into your heart every day. There’s just no way around it.
Second, you must be meditating on God’s Word day and night. It’s not enough to simply have a quick devotional at the breakfast table or just before going to bed. It definitely is not enough to just listen to the pastor preach a good message on Sunday. You need to be IN the Word of God daily reading, studying, and meditating upon it. Throughout the day you need to continuously focus your thoughts on what you have read.
So, let me ask you this. Have you read your Bible yet today? I don’t mean have you glanced at it – I mean have you read it? If so, do you remember what you read? Could you tell me what God was wanting you to know, wanting you to do from that passage? Have you been praying throughout the day, asking God to show you how to live that passage of Scripture, that Biblical truth, that Spirit-led principle out in whatever you may be doing today? This is what it means to meditate.
God wants you to meditate on His Word. The meditation God says we are to do is not some mystical, Eastern religion-based event involving sitting cross-legged on the floor with eyes closed, tips of your fingers barely touching, and changing repeatedly to yourself. The verb “to meditate” in Joshua 1:8 refers to breaking something down into small chewable pieces. This, in turn, makes it easier to digest and get it into your system so that you can draw strength and nourishment from it – similar to a cow chewing her cud.
But consider this: that cow cannot chew her cud until she has first eaten some grass. Does that make sense? If there is no grass in her stomach, there will be no cud to chew. In the same way, it is impossible for you to meditate on God’s Word if you are not first studying it. You must “feed” upon the Word before you can meditate upon it.
After sufficiently chewing the grass, the cow swallows it, sending it into the first of four chambers in her stomach. Similarly, when you have your devotional time, or sit in church and follow in your Bible as it is being taught, or whenever you are reading the Scriptures, you are feeding upon the Word of God. You are chewing on it and then swallowing it, taking it in storage for later use.
Now I’ve been told that up to 70% of cows chew their cud when they are RESTING. In other words, they are bringing up that grass they ate earlier in the day and chewing on it again at a later time. As the cow chews, she is breaking the grass down even further, swallowing it into the second chamber of her stomach. Then, a little while later, she will bring it up again and chew on it some more. Each time she does this, she is breaking it down even further to enable proper digestion.
This is much-simplified example of what meditation of Scripture is all about. The bottom line is that you start by reading the Word – “feeding” upon it. Then periodically throughout the day, you bring it back to mind and think about it, evaluating, scrutinizing, seeking to know and understand how it applies to you. You’re chewing on it. As you do, you are keeping your mind and heart open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to guide you into God’s truth. As you meditate (or chew) upon the Scripture you begin to understand the principle and truth that God is teaching you, and you see how you can (and should) apply it to your life. Then, throughout the day, God gives you practical opportunities to apply what you have learned. This is the process of meditation.
Let’s go back for a moment more to the illustration of a cow chewing her cud. I’ve been told that dairy cows spend almost 8 hours a day chewing their cud for a total of almost 30,000 chews daily. That’s a lot of chewing! How much do you meditate on God’s Word? How many “chews” a day do you have? It’s been said that a contented cow is one who is seen chewing her cud. I believe it would be safe to say that a contented Christian is the one who is constantly chewing (meditating) on God’s Word every day. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
Finally, as we wrap up this week’s episode, the third requirement that must be met for true prosperity and success in the Christian life, according to Joshua 1:8, is walking in obedience to what God’s Word says. Notice that God instructs Joshua to “be careful to do everything written” in His Word. Now I want you to think about that little word “do.” “Be careful to DO everything written” in God’s Word.
Let me ask you this: what does it mean to “do” something? I know, silly question, right? But think about this for a moment. Every word of God is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) and thus every word in Scripture is important – including this word “do.” The verb here is written in the imperfect tense. In other words, this is an action that is incomplete. It is not finished. It must, therefore, continue on into the future. Obedience to God’s Word is an ongoing action, You are never done with DOING what God says you should do.
As I close this episode, I just want you to know how deeply honored I am that you have chosen to share your time with me today and listen to this episode in its entirety. Would you prayerfully and seriously consider joining us in being a vital part of this ministry. We are praying for, and looking for Purity Coach Partners who will commit to supporting this ministry in two major areas.
First and foremost, in prayer. I’m talking about more than just “Dear God, please bless Steve and The Pure Man Ministry.” As important as that is, we need partners in this ministry who are praying for us daily. Praying for wisdom as we counsel, praying for protection as the enemy tries almost daily to stop us in our tracks and shut us down. Praying for the men that are entrenched and enslaved in this sin – praying for their freedom, praying for victory, praying for clarity as they study the Scripture, praying for their personal spiritual growth, and praying for their families – their wives, their children, their churches. I NEED faithful prayer partners who will commit to praying for this ministry on a regular basis
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.