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What Is Success?

Faithfulness is success.

Introduction

What is success?

Here in 2019, this has become a difficult question to answer. It seems every week we hear stories of people who climbed to the top of their profession, who built empires, who exemplified creativity and talent and hard work, who received accolades and awards and international recognition, who were the definition of success in their respective fields. But then the stories started to come out. Sexual harassment. Inappropriate relationships. Embezzlement. Scandalous conduct. And very soon, all that they had built counts for nothing. People want justice.

We’ve seen this time and time again. Tragically, we’ve seen it even in the church.

What is success? We normally think of success in terms of those things I initially listed. Those are the things we admire. Those are the things we aspire to and want for our children. And yet, when the scandal breaks, we realize how worthless that “success” really is.

What is success? And how do we get there?

The Book of Joshua records Israel’s conquest of the land, which God had promised to their forefathers hundreds of years ago. Having been delivered from slavery in Egypt, having been led through the wilderness, having been miraculously brought into Canaan, Israel will now begin their conquest of the land. And the question facing them is: What will it take to win? How is this nation of ex-slaves, wandering nomads, to conquer this vast land of fortified cities and well-equipped armies? New military strategies? New technologies? Cultural savvy?

We are in a very different context than Israel in that day. But the God that led them is the same God we follow today, and he never changes. So we want to pay attention to what Israel would have for us. ...

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Geoff Chang is an associate pastor at Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR.

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