Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest – Joshua 1:7
There is a striking clash between God’s words to Joshua and the concepts of strength and courage that persist in current Western pop culture.
Whether in movies, TV shows, or novels, the idea is continually touted in our day that the one who is strong will make his or her own way, do his or her own thing, and not bow down to any authority. Teenagers are strong if they stand up to their parents, and employees are courageous if they defy their employer.
But God tells Joshua the way of true strength and of great courage is the way of obedience and loyalty. I have placed Moses over you, God says to Israel, and so you are to obey the law that he has given to you. The more strong you are, the more obedient you will be; the more courageous you are, the less you will question my authority or veer from my commandments.
Is this the decision-making paradigm under which you are operating? Or are you still trying to assert yourself, get your own way, make your own path as you choose a college, pursue a career, or form your family budget?
The only way to truly succeed in any place, or in any situation, is by looking to God for direction and obeying his Word. When you do follow him, however, you will find that you prosper wherever you are and no matter what you are called to do.