The Bible teaches followers of Jesus Christ to ask God for wisdom when you realize that you lack it, and trust that He will give it to you. How do you think that wisdom is found? Can we really believe that there is practical wisdom available for the way forward from where we are right now? When the seemingly overwhelming crises of the world are swirling around us, how can we find a well-lighted path into some sort of sustainable future that we all want?
Joshua chapter one sets the stage after 40 years in the wilderness, facing one of the most challenging times of change that any people has ever faced. They were facing constant conflict and stress. In Joshua 24 Joshua summarizes that “we will serve the Lord.”
At the start of the years-long project to conquer the Promised Land God says in Joshua 1:8:
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
If we are honest, we all want success. When discouragement is all around us, God promised Joshua success when he kept his eyes on God and His Word. Could it be that God’s wisdom for those who are asking for it can come from a message like this that is delivered in a timely season?
Tom Morris put together a list of seven conditions for success that are strikingly universal and basic to practically any situation. These keys serve to lay a foundation for the most deeply satisfying and sustainable successes in life. We should apply them to every challenge, opportunity, endeavor, or relationship.
The 7 Cs of Success
(1) A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
(2) A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.
(3) A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach the goal.
(4) A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
(5) An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing.
(6) A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
(7) A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.
There are, no doubt, other key concepts associated with success, but they can almost all be listed as components of one or more of these 7. These 7 Cs give us a logical and comprehensive framework for success.
Let’s take a moment to look at each concept. Start with our basic need to identify a goal or set of goals. What are the applications for each of the seven keys?
1 – A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined
No matter where we live or what we do or who we are… every facet of our lives that anticipates successful achievement of something needs us to think as clearly as possible what we want to accomplish and what we’d like to see happen.
It’s not enough to say “I want a job.” We must target what kind of job and where we want to work.
I’m reminded of the advice given to Alice in Wonderland (by the Cheshire cat – wasn’t it?). If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which way you go. You’ll surely get there. But it may not be where you’d like to get.
True success starts with an inner vision. Sure, it’s incomplete at first. But the vision for your goal will grow once you define it. Just as Adam was given a defined goal to care for and develop the Garden of Eden, our world (as we find it) is just the raw material for what we can make of it. God created us to use our creative energies to bring unique expression to the world He made. It’s part of the condition of man to be made in the “image” of God – to be creative. It’s part of His nature and our nature to be creative, artistic and expressive. When we have clear goals in our minds and express them with our words and actions (like writing them down) then we start to develop structure for our actions.
So what do you want? Get creative and think about where you want to go and what you want to be.
Did you know that if you choose to delight yourself in your Creator, He expressly promises to actually GIVE you the desires of your heart? That’s in Psalm 37.
“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Is it possible that if we make a habit of pleasing and worshipping Him, He actually arranges things for us to think about goals and desires that originate from the heart of God Himself? Isn’t it interesting to know the origin of the word “desire”? Think of it. “Sire” means “to father.” “De” means “of”… so “Desire” means “of the Father.” Could it be that our ability for creative expression — in dreaming about and planning goals — is a direct reflection of being created in the image of God? If you are delighting yourself in the Lord He is promising to impart those heart desires and help you see them fulfilled.
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2 – A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain the goal
Jesus tells us in Luke 12:6-7 that “you are of more value than many sparrows.”
If confidence is in any way related to faith, then how do we develop stronger confidence… stronger faith? The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the word. Let’s face it, the more we listen to and think about whatever we choose, the more knowledge about it we gain and the more confidence or faith we have in those words and concepts. What’s our inside attitude? It is absolutely the foundational key to outside results.
Are you launching a new enterprise? Do you desire to seek a new direction? You need upfront faith in what you’re doing. Do whatever it takes to learn about your goal to have the faith, the confidence and the reassurance that you will arrive at your desired destination. If we lack experience we may have to work hard to generate a confident attitude. Is it worth it? You bet it is. Get the coaching and the education with someone who has been there before you. In the process, you will raise your prospects for success. If you want confidence … then develop competence. Let your natural curiosity urge you to dig deep in your study of the things that will help you achieve success in reaching your goal. Will this guarantee success? No… but your faith will compel you to take the risk anyway. And what if you fail? You’re just one step closer to success. You must fail. It’s part of the pathway to success. You will learn much and become stronger in the process.
3 – A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach the goal
The Bible tells us to do whatever we do with all our heart as a direct service to God and not just ourselves or other people. Aim to please God no matter what you do… it’s the best thing you can do to assure success in reaching your goal. Concentrate on your goal with focus. When children are raised to succeed at little goals and then expand to bigger goals, they will be prepared to dream about even bigger goals as they grow up. It’s important to understand that big dreams can lead to big disappointments if we don’t learn how to chart our way forward.
If we concentrate on the “what it takes” part of our vision, then our success at anything challenging will come from planning our path and then putting that plan into action.
It’s a well known Biblical principle that what you concentrate on (what you think about continually) is what you tend to become. “As a man thinks, so is he.” If you concentrate your thought and devote a lot of your energy into a new direction, two things will happen. Your goal will become clearer and your mind will find new pathways of seeing things that you might have missed before.
New ideas and insights will come to your mind. Providence has a way of guiding you to discover things you never noticed before and that relate to the goal you’ve set. Focused concentration allows you to develop plans naturally. Then you can act and adjust along the way. Even a flawed plan can get you started and lead you to where you can discover a better plan.
4 – A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision
I discovered that the word consistency comes from two Greek roots — a verb meaning “to stand” and a particle meaning “together.” Consistency is all about standing together.
Now just think about it. Ask yourself: “Do my actions stand together with my words?”
Go deeper. Ask: “Do my reactions and emotions stand together with my deepest beliefs and values?” This should cause some determination to rise up within our soul. If it doesn’t then your heart isn’t in your vision in the first place.
But then the challenge gets a little harder. Ask, “Do the people I work with stand together?” You may have to deliberately find new associations who support the vision you’re pursuing. If you want success, it’s important to hang around people who are supportive to your success. This is what consistency is all about. It’s a matter of unifying your energy and efforts in a single direction. Inconsistency defuses power. Consistency moves us toward our goals.
5 – An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing
Ever think about the difference between “interested” and “committed?” Who would you rather have on your team? Why should anyone bother pursuing something of value without commitment to the pursuit? Passion is the core of extraordinary success. It’s a key to overcoming difficulties, seizing opportunities, and getting other people excited about your projects.
6 – A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course
Character inspires trust. Nothing is more attractive to other people than trustworthiness, especially in a world where there is so much mistrust and suspicion. And trust is necessary for people to work together well. Good character is required for great collaboration. Today’s world shows us that innovative partnerships are key to successful achievements. Collaboration and synergy are the new ‘currency’ of great accomplishments. Excellence in moral character is foundational for working well together more than ever before.
And good character does a lot more than just promote trust. It truly has an effect on each person’s own inner sense of freedom and insight. Bad character not only corrupts, it blinds. A person whose perspective has been deeply skewed by selfishness or dishonesty cannot understand what’s true as perceptively as someone whose sensibilities are ethical and full of positive moral character. Good character makes sustainable success more likely.
7 – A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way
I’ve found that if we don’t enjoy the journey we probably can’t fully appreciate the destination. The more you can enjoy the process of what you’re doing, the more likely you’ll have better results in the end. It’s easier to set creative goals when you truly enjoy the process of your everyday activities toward those goals. Confidence will come more naturally. Your concentration can seem effortless. Consistency will not be a battle. The emotional commitment will flow. And issues of character will not be as difficult to manage. A capacity to enjoy the process is inseparably part of every other factor of success.
These conditions of success are all intimately connected. They make up a fittingly designed framework that allows us to discover the most fulfilling forms of achievement in everything we do. They will help us to leave a legacy for the next generation that will truly be honored. They will energize and direct us to worthy accomplishments with a satisfaction that can be best characterized by the approval of our Maker when He tells us, “well done faithful servant.”
Why should we ever settle for anything less?