Favor is God’s “I’m for you” attitude. It is the amazing, undeserved benefit of being His child, yet many believers never tap into its fullness. Why? One reason is that we simply misunderstand His favor.
Biblically, favor can be defined as “the friendly disposition from which kindly acts proceed to assist, to provide with special advantages, to receive preferential treatment.” That is God’s heart toward us. He wants to bless, help and promote us. He wants to treat us “special.” In Romans 8:32 (TLB), we are asked the hypothetical question, “Since He did not spare even His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” God’s answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Examples of Favor
It has been said that one day of God’s favor is better than a thousand days of labor, and this has been proven throughout the Bible:
Ruth asked for and found FAVOR with Boaz (Ruth 2-4), and became the great grandmother of King David.
David found FAVOR with Saul (1 Samuel 16:22) and with God (Psalm 30:7). Despite his failings, God refers to David as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22).
Esther found so much FAVOR (Esther 5:2) that the King offered her up to half his kingdom.
Mary found FAVOR with God (Luke 1:30) and became the mother of Jesus.
Jesus disciples’ had FAVOR with both God and men (Acts 2:47), and the church grew.
God never intended His favor to be found by just a handful of people. Every believer – you and me included - can find His favor and do things that could not be accomplished without it.
Jesus, Our Example
Jesus possessed many traits that should be part of every Christian’s character. From His youth, He was interested in spiritual things (Luke 2:49). He lived unselfishly, and served others (Matthew 20:28). He focused on accomplishing His Father’s will every day of His life (John 6:38). Without a doubt, He left us an example so we could follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
When Luke boils down the first thirty years of Jesus’ life, he writes, “Then He [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them [His parents]. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52 NIV). The four areas that we are told Jesus grew in – wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with men – are all areas that we also can grow in.
This type of growth is not so different from building our muscles. While each of us already has all the muscles we need – there are over 600 of them in the human body - most of us have not exerted the effort it takes to build them to their potential. As a result, we are not nearly as strong as we could be.
In the same way, God has already provided for all of the favor we will ever need. However, just like Jesus had to grow in favor, so do we. It does not happen automatically any more than our muscles automatically become strong. As we train ourselves in the principles of favor and put them into practice, we can expect to grow in favor with both God and men just as Jesus did.
Raising Your Expectations
Our expectations have a lot to do with what happens to us in life. If we expect the worst, that is generally what we will get. There is a scriptural principle that says, “as we think in our hearts, so are we” (from Proverbs 23:7). It follows that the level of favor we experience in life will rise to our level of expectation. There is no way around it; if we are to grow in favor with God and men, we are going to have to raise our expectations and believe that God wants us to be blessed with His favor.
What should we expect this favor to look like? Psalm 103:2-6, 17-18 lists several effects of God’s favor. We should expect (or regard as likely to happen) that God will forgive our sins, heal our diseases, redeem us from destruction, crown us with loving kindness and tender mercies, provide for our health and strength, give us justice when we’re oppressed, and extend His righteousness to our children’s children as we keep covenant with Him. And, that’s just scratching the surface of what God’s children can, and should, expect!
Believe It Is For You
Even those who do not have a problem expecting that God will release His favor on His children, sometimes have a hard time believing that God’s favor is for them personally. They say, “It sounds good, but it doesn’t work that way for me. I believe in God, pray, and go to church, but I still don’t experience God’s favor.” They believe in God’s favor, but they don’t believe for it. They need to know that, not only is it acceptable to expect God’s preferential treatment, but that they should believe God for it.
Believing has two parts. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” We need to believe that God exists, and that He will reward us when we seek Him. Each Christian has a need to personally accept God’s promise of favor as being true, genuine, and real – and each has a need to believe for His favor in their life.
It is God’s will for you to experience His favor. Every promise He makes is for you, and as Jesus said, “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV).
Favor is not found by following a formula, and it is important to remember that we are not changed by what is in our head, but by what is in our heart. In Matthew 12:34, we are reminded that, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When we expect and believe for favor, it affects both our heart and our speech.
What we say has the power to unleash God’s favor in our lives. Jesus said, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:22-23). There is no better way to express our faith in God than to say the same thing as His Word says. These scripture-based confessions on favor are an example of how you can confess God’s favor over your life:
• God surrounds and protects me with favor like a shield (Psalm 5:12).
• The Lord is a sun and shield. He bestows favor and honor, and no good thing does He withhold from me (Psalm 84:11).
• I actively seek and live by God’s wisdom; therefore, I am highly favored and esteemed in the sight of God and men (Proverbs 3:1-4; Proverbs 8:33-35).
• God’s favor brings promotion and causes me to increase daily (Esther 2:17; Psalm 75:6-7).
• My enemies cannot triumph over me because the Lord has favored me (Psalm 41:11 AMP).
God’s favor can make an extraordinary difference in your life, but it will not happen automatically; it has to be “turned on” in much the same way as you turn on the lights in your house. The power of electricity is always there, but the lights won’t come on until you turn on the switch. As a believer, you need to release the power of favor that God has already made available.
God wants to bless you, personally, with His favor. As you enlarge your mindset to expect and believe for His favor, and as you open your mouth to confess God’s promises, you can find favor with God and man!
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)
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