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As Joshua was preparing himself to guide God's people from the desert to the promised land God told him "I will be with you, I will not leave you, nor will I forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). The significance of these words has been repeated time after time again throughout the centuries to the faithful. God is always with his People when his People are faithful to his Word. What does it mean to be successful according to God's will?
            Successfulness according to the will of God is spiritual success. As human beings it is often tempting think of success in human terms, but spiritual success does not depend on there being a multitude of people present. Do you remember Noah? Noah and his family were literally successful because as the flood waters came, they were lifted up and saved (Genesis 6-9). God saw in Noah a true faith character of such that God’s grace was extended to him (Genesis 6:8), “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”. Noah’s faith led him to listen carefully to the will of God and then obey it. "By faith Noah, when warned of God of things not yet seen, fearfully prepared an ark in which his house might be saved..." (Hebrews 11:7). Peter wrote that "eight were saved..." (1 Peter 3:20). Spiritual success in this Genesis account of Noah and his family did not depend on a multitude being saved, but even though few were saved, there was spiritual success because God's will was accomplished. Yes, success depended on God because Noah and his family depended on God through the revealed will. Did God want everyone to be saved? The Lord would have desired for every living person at that time to repent, return to him, and be saved, but for most people the issue was doing their own will rather than what God had said. Spiritual success then and now depends first on God and his will, and our willingness to obey.
            Spiritual success does not depend on leading the world to salvation apart from the gospel. The world today wants continual entertainment, and to see entertainment at home, at school, on the soccer field, and also in the church. God does not desire that people be entertained to obedience, but what God desires is that the gospel, that his word be preached (2 Timothy 4:2) and true worship that is “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) be offered unto him. When the Christian arrives to the Bible study or worship, God wants a mind and heart present that is focused on the spiritual, on what God wants. The Christian must think of the lyrics of the songs as they are sung (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16). The Christian must humbly think about the prayers and in his own mind to pray together with the other brethren (Acts 2:42). The Christian must think about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ when participating in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26-30), and the Christian must analyze how God has prospered him when participating in the offering according (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Spiritual success is not merely being present, but it is offering unto God that which he desires from us with heart and mind. May we have the success God desires.
            Just as God said to Joshua, "I will be with you, I will not leave you, nor will I forsake you" (Joshua 1:5), and Joshua understood that success depended on the Lord, so it is with us, our spiritual success depends on God through his will and our submitting to it. May our view of spiritual success coincide with God’s view. Let’s depend on God.