The Book of Joshua doesn’t speak about stress nor about being stress-free. But it talks about prosperity in an emphatic way.
Then you will be prosperous and successful. -Joshua 1:8
It was a promise made by God to Joshua and his people. Prosperity and success was theirs for the taking. And if we read the rest of the text that leads to that promise, we’ll discover that God set forth conditions that would allow them to claim that promise. But they were not stressful conditions. They were, in contrast, stress-free. Let us examine them.
1. Get ready for prosperity.
…Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites. -Joshua 1:2
Getting ready is actually about having a healthy dose of optimism. Quell your fears, quell your worries, for they can only bring stress. Fear and worry are useless emotions. Joshua was given a vision of conquest. God was in essence saying, “Now go for it!”
What is your vision of life? Is it fraught with doubts? That’s not vision; that’s myopism. Your vision will consist of what you already have by way of talents and gifts and the self-determination to use them wisely.
2. Align your heart and mind.
When God told Joshua to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6), we understand strong to be an act of the heart, while courageous to be an act of the mind. We cannot allow our heart and mind to go different paths. While we build inner strength, we must also cast out doubts that lead to fear. We must not overthink and rationalize ourselves to immobility. Claiming success and prosperity must be done holistically with the full confidence and assuredness that we will.
3. Stay focused.
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. -Joshua 1:7
In this instance it’s to be focused on the word of God, for what better instructional manual about life is there than the Bible?
It is in the Bible where we can find the source of inner strength and the courage to gird up the loins of your mind (1 Peter 1:13). This doesn’t mean that we cannot read any other books; but rather the Bible must take supreme authority over everything else. After all, God is the God of success and prosperity.
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. -Joshua 1:8
To meditate is to replace our thoughts with the word of God. Our minds are constantly filled with thoughts, at times mostly negative. Thus it’s our thoughts that can bring stress. But we must first create the environment of meditation and that is to spend time in quietude.
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10) is a worthwhile command. When we talk about “quiet time.” It’s not just to shut up, but to shut up the world around us.
The first chapter of Joshua doesn’t say this, but it goes without saying. The essence of prayer is not asking God what you want or need, but to align ourselves with the will of God. Why stress ourselves out by striving for success and prosperity? God already has success and prosperity lined up for us. Align with his will and we’ll have it!