To survive in today’s competitive world requires strength and courage. People rise and fall everyday with varying doses of whatever it takes. But what does the Biblical directive to “be strong and courageous” really mean and how does it apply to the Christian in the marketplace? ♦
The words “be strong and courageous” are straight out of the Bible – in Joshua 1:9. These words are used commonly by those perhaps unfamiliar with the original Scriptural context. Moses was dead and Joshua was named his successor to lead what is estimated to have been 2 to 3 million Israelites out of the desert and into the Promised Land in Canaan, today’s Middle East.
It was a big job, full of challenges and obstacles in the land (inhabitants who would resist their advancement and settlements) plus an obstinate Hebrew population that had already proven to be reluctant and rebellious.
Nevertheless Joshua is given a clear directive by God to forge ahead, specific in plan and instruction, assured of victory, encouragement, and assistance.
It’s like taking over a struggling company as CEO with clearly defined objectives from the Board of Directors. Or becoming VP of Sales with a mountain of quota to achieve and a hodgepodge sales team to mold and develop. Or a rookie software engineer with a challenging development assignment and a looming deadline. Or a market/product strategist tasked to lead with vision into markets and arenas that have ‘do or die’ implications for the business and competitors.
It’s a tough job out there. For the senior leader and the up-and-comer. High risk and high stakes. The faint of heart need not apply.
But everyone does anyway, willing to ride the roller coaster with every intention of winning the highs and recovering from lows and setbacks. We strive to be strong and courageous, though we at times go weak at the knees and want to run and hide in fear and trepidation.
So What About the Bible?
But what does God and the Bible have to do with business success and struggles in the marketplace? Simply put, everything. Non-Christians may (but shouldn’t) check out here, but a Christian must think through the implications of his/her life lived in the marketplace, which incorporates now the home, business, government and education.
It’s where we all are. And as believers and followers of Christ we really are to be surrendered vessels to the purposes of God, not to our own career designs or interpretations of our life path. But are we?
But, you say, you really wanted to become an architect? Or a teacher? Or even a lawyer. Was it your own or the dreams of your parents? Were circumstances that led you to where you are today the result of your own striving and achievement or the eventual surrendering of all of your heart, life and dreams to your heavenly Father who loves you and has plans/designs for you, for His purposes?
Heart-goals and God-blessed plans actually can be aligned. If we let go and let Him. Most of us don’t, or like me, wait decades to wake up to the joy and power of the surrendered release.
And then it’s a life of purpose in motion, driven and requiring fuel of God’s Spirit-infused strength and courage. For the world is still dark and difficult and fraught with giants and danger.
But like Joshua, one is not alone. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5
4 Keys to Godly Success in the Marketplace
It’s not about worldly success; it’s about Godly success. Would you rather be on top of the world apart from God, or exactly where He wants you, perhaps still on top of the world, or not, but filled with God and blessed beyond measure? A God-filled life is not a mediocre life. We can and should be operating in excellence with natural gifts and talents bestowed on us for His use through us. We are intended to achieve great things, create and discover, invent and design, produce and develop, teach, love, give and express. To be a blessing to others as we ourselves are blessed.
That’s so like God to turn the gift to gold.
Here are 4 keys to be like Joshua, strong and courageous, successful in a dark and risky marketplace world:
1. Directed – On a Mission – “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” (Joshua 1:3) If we surrender, He directs our path. Do your homework and prepare, but God does not renege on promises. Remember though, He’s directing now.
2. Confident – Secure in Purpose – “Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.” (Joshua 1:4) We can trust that the plan is good and well designed. We can rest confidently in that, secure in a life blessed and richly lived, despite the difficulties. It’s not about ease and comfort.
3. Fearless – Bold and Unafraid – “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.” (Joshua 1:5) Through the valley of darkness and marketplace threats, we can walk boldly forward into any battle, campus or boardroom, head held high, alert but unafraid as we confront any opposition with our fearless God before us.
4. Determined – Obedient to Task – “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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 1:7-8) You’re under the authority of the Sovereign and Holy God. Stay on task, obedient to the calling and direction of the King. Study God and your craft and stay true, then you will fulfill your planned destiny.
Indeed there is a better way, a better life; living strong, directed, confident, fearless and with purposeful determination. Life in the marketplace is difficult, like a dangerous frontier to be conquered. Reassess your partnership with the true Source of strength and courage.
Are you strong and courageous in the right way?
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9