Summary: God’s formula for Joshua’s success is a model for today’s believer.

God’s Formula For Success

Joshua 1:6-9

There is a common desire within every person to feel successful. We often measure our worth on the basis of how successful we are. How we measure that success is often based on a worldly standard rather than a godly standard. Success by the world’s standard often means luxury, wealth, and possessions, achievements, notoriety, and fame, beauty, brains and brawn.

If we measure our lives by the world’s standards we will have an inaccurate and incomplete view of whether or not we’re successful. God’s standard of measurement is nothing like the world’s standard.

(Illustration of books I saw in the bookstore: Ned Grossman, How to Succeed in Life. 1. We become what we think about. 2. Decide exactly what you want. 3. Determine the price you have to pay. 4. Commit to pay the price. 5. Work hard, one day at a time. 6. Never give up.

There was another book on success nearby that had 3 formulas for success, similar to the first one. What was really interesting is where I found the books: on the clearance table.)

God’s formula for success is completely unlike the world’s formula. And His formula works for every person, in every situation, whether it’s at school, in our business, our families, or our church. The pathway to success cannot be traveled by anyone who does not practice God’s formula for success. These principles are taken from Joshua 1:6-9.


Notice the number of times God brings this command before Joshua. (v. 6, 7, 9).

What is courage? Courage has several synonyms: bravery, valor, fearlessness, heroism, confidence, nerve. It also has several nicknames: guts, grit, backbone.

There’s one very important thing we need to notice about courage. You will never witness courage in someone who is at ease in Zion. Courage is seen in the person who’s back is against the wall, when the odds are against them, when the pressure is on, when the flaming arrows are close, when the pain is intense, when the attack is at hand.

We see courage in David when he walks into the Valley of Elah with his sling to take his stand against Goliath. We see courage when Moses stands eye to eye with Pharaoh. We see it in Elijah when he challenges the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Courage can only be seen in the midst of conflict and struggle.

Why did God tell Joshua that he needed to be courageous? What was Joshua going to face that was so difficult that he would need to be courageous? Besides being the leader of the nation of Israel, God had given Joshua a project to complete. His first task was to lead his army into Canaan and drive out the people who lived there.

Sounds like an easy job, but remember, 40 years before this under Moses’ leadership he had sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan. They came back with stories of giants living in the land who made them look like grasshoppers. When the people heard this they became afraid and refused to enter the land.

There were seven nations living in Canaan, all of them larger and stronger than Israel. By all human standards Joshua was facing an uphill battle. He had every reason to turn tail and run. That’s why God encourages him so many times: Be strong and courageous.

Do you ever feel like you’re facing an uphill battle? Do you feel like the odds are against you? Honestly, there are hundreds of times in our lives when we’re faced with situations that, to our eyes, seem impossible! There are outward circumstances like illnesses and disabilities, broken relationships, financial hardships, the loss of a job, etc. Then there’s the inner conflicts that test our faith, like attacks on our personal integrity, remaining faithful when no one is looking, enduring the sting of loneliness and separation, standing alone when you’re misunderstood. There are many times in our lives when we need to hear God’s command to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.”

There’s something else we dare not overlook. Even though Joshua and his nation were small in comparison to the enemy, they had somebody on their side that would tip the scales in their favor. Look at Joshua 1:9 (read). Compare that with Deut. 7:17-19, 21 (read).

Just like Joshua and the nation of Israel, we may see ourselves as small in comparison to the enemy, but we have Somebody on our side that is going to tip the scales in our favor.

God’s formula for success begins with, “Be strong and courageous.” But there is an addendum I want to put on it that will make it complete. “For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Real success is not a matter of strength and courage alone, but strength and courage that comes from the knowledge that God is walking with us.

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Jeremy Poling

commented on Aug 20, 2008

excellent thoughts, thanks.

Richard Vaughn

commented on Apr 28, 2009

Excellent for this day and this time...this will help many young and old..students and executive''s.

Randy Hamel

commented on May 20, 2012

Good point about obeying the whole of God''s word. Also this was Joshua''s calling. We have success when we hear and obey God''s calling in our own lives.

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