Why is it that some people seem to have better lives than others? Their marriages are stronger. Their finances are in better shape. They accomplish more of their goals. Their faith is more effective.
Here’s the secret: Effective people develop effective habits. Habits shape our lives. Effective people are able to look at their lives and figure out what they need to change to get them from here to there. They eliminate habits that are holding them back and develop habits that move them toward their goal. Ineffective people refuse to develop these habits.
Joshua chapter one shows us the power of habits. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrew people were finally ready to cross into the promised land. They were ready to take God’s promises and God’s instructions and put them together. But to cross the Jordan river and get where they wanted to be, they needed a new set of habits. As they stood poised on the brink of change, God told Joshua three habits they needed to develop to get them from here to there.
The Habit of Future Vision (Joshua 1:1-6) We need a future vision to get from here to there. Vision keeps us focused on where we’re going instead of where we’ve been.
As Israel prepared to cross into the promised land, God cast a vision for the people’s future without bringing up the past. They had stood in this place once before. Forty years earlier, the people had escaped slavery in Egypt and headed straight for the promised land. But when they got there, they listened to the wrong voices. Instead of listening to the voices of Joshua and Caleb calling them to their future, the people listened to the voice of fear and doubt. They refused to enter the land and spent forty years walking in circles in the desert.
But God didn’t bring that up. He wanted them to look forward. God knew that to get from here to there the people needed to do two things:
- Let their faith and not their fears shape their future.
- Let their hopes and not their hurts shape their future.
To get from here to there, we need to claim the same truths. You can’t get ahead by looking back. Letting faith and hope shape your future ensures you have a future.
The Habit of Spiritual Vitality (Joshua 1:7-8)
Getting from here to there requires spiritual vitality. God told Joshua the people needed to cling to the book of the law—God’s word to them. Meditating on and obeying God’s word would give the people the vitality and power they needed to be prosperous and successful in the land.
Three questions help us protect our spiritual vitality:
- Am I receptive to God?
- Am I growing deeper in my relationship with God?
- Am I ruthless with distractions?
Hardness of heart, a shallow spirit, and an overcrowded life can all kill our spiritual vitality. If we want the power to move from here to there, we need to nurture our receptivity, grow our spiritual depth, and be ruthless about rooting distractions out of our lives.
The Habit of Getting Started (Joshua 1:2, 9-11) God told the people the time was now. Now was the time for obedience. Now was the time to more forward. They needed both an attitude and an action.
- Attitude: Someday is today.
- Action: Take a step of faith.
If you’re waiting on someday to start moving forward, the time is now. Stop looking back. The guilt, grief, and grudges of your past can’t take you where you want to go. God’s promises and instruction can. Take a step of faith. Your brand-new life starts today.