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Do you want God¬ís best? If you want God¬ís best, the first thing you have to do is make up your mind, that you do want God¬ís best. This is the basic, key decision. You have to want God¬ís best, and you have to decide that you will settle for nothing less than God¬ís best. God will not force this choice on us. It rests with us to make this decision....
One thing that is most important for you to do if you want God¬ís best is to meditate on God¬ís Word. Fill your mind with the Word of God. Take a look at the example of Joshua and the instructions the Lord gave him as he was about to lead Israel into their inheritance.
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" (Joshua 1:8).
That last part, "you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success," is equivalent to saying, "you will find God¬ís best." What are the conditions? There are three of them, and they all relate to God¬ís Word:
1. The Word is "not [to] depart from your mouth."
2. You are to "meditate in it day and night"--that means continually.
3. You are to "observe to do according to all that is written in it."
I have sometimes summed it up in three simple phrases. If you want God¬ís best, if you want to make your way prosperous and have good success, these are the three things you must do: think God¬ís Word, speak God¬ís Word, and act God¬ís Word. I put thinking first because if you do not think, you will never fully speak. If you do not think and speak, you will never fully act. The result of doing all three is success--God¬ís best.
You might say, "That was Joshua. How do I know that will work for me?" The first Psalm has a similar promise with a similar instruction, and it is for anybody who meets the conditions. It is all-inclusive. It does not matter who the person is; all that matters is that the person meets the conditions.
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers" (Psalm 1:1-3).
Take note of the closing sentence: "Whatever he does prospers." That is finding God¬ís best; that is true success. This can be true of any man who meets the conditions. The conditions are five-fold. The first three are negative; in other words, they are things you must not do:
1. You must not walk in the counsel of the wicked.
2. You must not stand in the way of sinners.
3. You must not sit in the seat of mockers.
The key issue is where you get your counsel. If you get your counsel from the wrong source, then your whole life will go wrong. The three negative conditions are then followed by two positive conditions:
1. Your delight must be in the law of the Lord.
2. On His law, you must meditate day and night.
Notice that both of the positive conditions center on the law of the Lord, or the Word of God. First, you have to delight yourself in His law. Second, you have to meditate on it day and night. Notice again that right meditation is the key to success--meditating on God¬ís Word day and night.
That does not mean just spending ten minutes a day reading your Bible, but it means to so fill your mind with the Bible that it occupies your thoughts all the day long. Then you will always be feeding on that which is positive, faith-inspiring, and upbuilding. Right thoughts are important, for what you think will decide how you live.
I have sometimes said that human personality is like an iceberg: seven-eights is below the surface. Very little of the iceberg actually shows above the surface in comparison with what is below the surface. It is also true with human personality.
What a person is thinking about is going to determine the course of his or her life. If you meditate on the right things and live the right kind of life, then you will get the results that God has promised: success and prosperity--God¬ís best.
Take a look at a passage, from the prophet Isaiah, that reiterates that the way we think affects our experience. God is speaking in this passage:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth" (Isaiah 55:8-11).
Notice, God begins with thoughts, and He says that, by nature, our thoughts are not His thoughts. How, then, can we begin to think God¬ís thoughts? God gives the answer in the words that follow. God¬ís ways and God¬ís thoughts are on the heavenly plane, and our ways and our thoughts are on the earthly plane, far below God¬ís. But God¬ís Word brings His ways and His thoughts down from heaven into our lives and hearts, producing the results we need.
God goes on to say in the same passage, concerning His Word:
"It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
"Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow" (Isaiah 55:11-13).
This is the result of God¬ís Word coming down from heaven, entering our hearts, occupying our minds, and replacing our ways and our thoughts with God¬ís ways and God¬ís thoughts. God¬ís Word brings His ways and thoughts down to our hearts and lives. As our minds are filled with the Word of God, we begin to think the thoughts of God. Our whole thought life is completely changed.
The results are stated here in beautiful language: peace (you will be led forth with peace), joy (you will go out with joy), praise (even the things of nature will praise--"the trees of the field will clap their hands"), and fruitfulness (in place of the thornbush and the brier, the myrtle and the pine will grow).
That is what happens in our lives when God¬ís Word comes in and we receive it and begin to meditate on it. Our own ways and our own thoughts are like the thorns and the briers; they are unproductive and unhelpful. But when they are replaced by God¬ís Word, then instead of the thorn and the brier, we bring forth the pine and the myrtle.
I want to suggest that you should view the substitution of God¬ís ways and God¬ís thoughts for your own ways and thoughts as being the key to success. You should also cultivate the practice of meditating on God¬ís Word day and night. Meditating on God¬ís Word is learning to think God¬ís thoughts by receiving His Word into our hearts and minds.