How do we keep growing, staying alive, healthy, and victorious in Christ?

Let me give you a simple formula for spiritual growth. It comes from Joshua 1 and looks like this: Faith + Obedience + Your Next Step = Victory

As God’s people stood on the edge of everything they’d been promised, the Lord spoke these words to Joshua, their new leader:

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses… 5No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”
7“Be strong and very courageous. 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. 8Keep 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. 9Have 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 1:3-9 (NIV)

Anytime you feel afraid, discouraged, or overwhelmed,  you can be sure of this–you are on the edge of taking new ground.

God is inviting you to possess His promise and press forward in Him. No doubt Joshua felt unsure and hesitant about what was next. This was an important moment of decision: Would God’s people stay where they were, or would they actually cash in on a 400 year old promise and 40 year journey?

The truth is God has promises for you and me today that are every bit as real as His promises to Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites. He invites us, as he did Joshua, to possess them and live in victory. Here’s how we keep growing in them:

1.  Faith

It’s clear Joshua was afraid because God commanded him three different times in this passage to “Be strong and courageous…” (v6, 7, 9) I don’t know about you, but the fact that Joshua the great warrior-leader needed to hear those words again and again encourages me. Faith is never ignoring the reality of the challenges we face, as if we weren’t encountering a real battle, a real sickness, a real financial dilemma. Instead, faith is recognizing a higher reality. Put another way, “Faith is neither logical, nor illogical. Faith is Theo-logical!” (Mark Batterson) Faith simply adds God into the equation. “Be strong and courageous…for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”

2. Obedience 

Add to faith your obedience. Truthfully, the biblical notion of faith always implies action (“Faith without works is dead..” James 2:17), but I’m speaking here more of submission and surrender to God’s Word. It is significant that God instructs Joshua to carefully obey and meditate on God’s Word day and night, never turning for one moment to the right or to the left. This was to be the key to their success (v7-8). I had a professor in bible college who used to say, “The secret to the christian life is in your two hands.” He would then hold them forward and spell the words T-R-U-S-T and Y-I-E-L-D with the five fingers of each hand. Trust and yield, trust and yield. He was talking about a daily surrender and submission to God’s Word. Your current level of obedience to God’s Word is either limiting you or launching you towards success.

3. Take Your Next Step

I’ve read this passage many times before, but it recently occurred to me that every promise of victory was contingent on one thing: Joshua and God’s people had to actually place their feet on some new ground. “I will give you every place where you set your foot. (v3)

God had already promised the victory, the resources, the provision, His Presence…anything and everything they would ever need. They just had to keep taking steps. The victory was for “every place” they set their foot.

I wonder how many of us never possess the promises of God or explore the new places He’s promised to give us simply because we never take our next step?

Where is God calling you to step out? Is it a relationship? Learning more about your unique purpose and calling in Christ? Stepping up to serve? Being more generous? What’s YOUR next step?

What step would you take right now if you knew God would be with you, giving you success and promising you victory? Because He already has.