Formula for Success
© August 2003 by Asher Intrater
In recent years many teachings on biblical success were presented in such a carnal way, that they became theological cover-ups for greed and lust. You could almost feel the anger of Yeshua (Jesus) against such teachings, as in His overturning of the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. Yet, there is a biblical principle of prosperity that is according to the will of God.
Daily Scripture Meditation
The word Torah (law) comes from the Hebrew root meaning teaching or instruction. In this context it refers to the entire word of God. We cannot succeed spiritually by just hearing a message in congregation on the weekend. A daily time in the word is the foundation for all success. Imagine God saying that if you will do this simple daily discipline, He will direct and prosper your path. I can think of no other more important habit in my life over the past 25 years than daily scripture meditation.
Say No to Peer Pressure
Human society is seen by the biblical worldview as generally flowing in the wrong direction. To walk with God we must go against the stream. Most young people start to do wrong, not because they want to do wrong, but because they want to please their friends and be accepted by them. As there is peer pressure for young people, so is there a more subtle, yet still evil influence on us as we mature.
The problem here is that by its very nature, social influence appears to be what is socially acceptable. Therefore it seems okay. "Everybody's doing it, so it can't be that wrong." If we are to succeed with God, we can't just be positive about everything. We are going to have to say, "No." This negative command, not to be influenced by those around us, is repeated three times: Not to walk, not to stand, not to sit. This includes friends at work, neighbors, family members, television, entertainment, advertising, etc.
Distancing ourselves from the wrong kinds of friends, and cultivating the right kind of friends, is part of leading a successful lifestyle. The kind of company we keep does affect our moral standards (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The positive command to meditate on scriptures is given only once. On a day-to-day basis we are likely to encounter three times as many negative opportunities, to which we will have to say, "No," than we will have positive opportunities for godly edification. We cannot be "friendly" toward the social influences of this world, and still be a friend of God (1 John 2:15, James 4:4). Yeshua said that we have to deny our self-centered feelings everyday in order to follow Him (Luke 9:23). Yeshua's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours (Matthew 26:39)," serves as the ultimate model for each of us to dedicate our lives to God on a daily basis.
Say It and Do It
If we do not "do" the word, then our meditation is simply mystical, and we end up deceiving ourselves (James 1:22). Scripture meditation is not mystic, it is moral.
We are not saved by theoretical faith, but by real faith, which leads to a change in our actions. That's why there is no contradiction to saying that we are saved by our faith and judged by our works. Our works do count, and we will give an account of our deeds on the day of judgment (II Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:12-13).
Scripture meditation is not only an issue of the imaginations of our hearts, but also of the words of our mouths (Psalm 19:14). The word hegeh in the Hebrew means both a heart meditation and a verbal expression at the same time. Notice in the above quote from Joshua 1, that we are challenged not to let the word of God depart from our mouths. We are to speak of them wherever we go (Deuteronomy 6:7). When our "confession" of the word is backed up by daily Bible study and a moral change in our behavior, our words will have spiritual power of miraculous dimension. Then our words will move mountains and whatever we say will come to pass (Mark 11:22-23). We cannot live a life of spiritual victory without making sure that our speech is according to biblical standards. We must both walk the walk and talk the talk.
Attitude Toward Authority
This command is part of the overall biblical attitude of submitting to authority. God is benevolent. God is ultimately in charge of all authority. He seeks to bless us through that authority. If we will have an attitude that is submissive toward authority we will more easily find God's blessing. This attitude of submission is quite opposite to the spirit of rebellion and resistance to authority that is found in the world. It is often seen to be embarrassing or weak to submit to those in authority. However, we do that, not out of weakness, but out of faith in God, who has a sovereign providence over the authority.
If we are to succeed we must re-order our priorities. On a day-to-day basis we make decisions according to that order of priority. Yeshua said that we should seek first the spiritual and moral values of His kingdom, and then afterwards we would be blessed in all the other things as well (Mathew 6:33). We live in a material world, created by a spiritual God. As long as our priorities reflect first the Creator, and then the creation, we will make the right decisions and be biblically successful in all that we do.