Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
If I were to ask a friend for a favor the request would be construed as a hopeful expectation of support or aid based off our relationship. Most good friends would help because of the bond that has formed over time is worth more than the effort that is required for the service. Even if my friend couldn’t help, that wouldn’t diminish my view of that person, my bond is more valuable than their ability to help as well.
What intrigues me is how favor relates specifically to God. Let me show you a couple scriptures that highlights God’s favor and look deeper into what this actually entails.
Proverbs 3:3-4 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.”
Favor can be found
Like looking for treasure at the bottom of the sea, knowing that the treasure exists is part of the motivation. Understanding the value of that treasure is likewise a compelling reason to search but a third reason is found in simply the adventure of looking. Going into the unknown but having knowledge that there is value in that unknown causes intrigue.
The life of those who search out God is enriched by all of these attributes just described. Seeking God while we are still living on this earth is an adventure every step of the way. If you were to find something of value and then stopped searching, it would be as if you were walking into Solomon’s mines and upon finding the first nugget of gold, turning around and going back.
God’s favor carries with it extreme value. Just ask Noah how valuable God’s favor was when it rested upon him.
Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”
Out of all the people that lived on the earth, Noah was the only one to whom God displayed His favor toward.
Not only was Noah spared from the flood that engulfed the entire world, his family was spared with him.
What attributes do we see being displayed that brings about this tremendous honor?
According to Solomon, mercy when exercised continuously in one’s life brings about God’s favor. To show mercy is to have some justification in exacting judgement upon another and choosing not to. If someone wrongs you, you have a response that can occur in a multitude of ways. You can exact vengeance, but God says that is His territory and you would be taking what rightfully belongs to Him. You could make them pay you back according to the judicial law, have them thrown in jail if the offense is bad enough, or at the least cut them off from any love or kindness in their future.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”
God’s favor which rests upon the merciful is a reflection of His mercy. The mercy that you show others does not compare to the mercy God could show toward you….it’s not even close.
We deserve death—-eternal death—-for the offenses we have made against God’s holiness. When God shows us mercy, he spares our lives for eternity. This mercy was obtained through Christ alone, this is what He offers to those who trust in Him.
There are many components of Truth. This sight is dedicated to exploring those components. Like that undersea treasure, the more I look, the more I realize there is much more than I had thought. An immediate reflection on truth yields the eternal commandment given by God to Moses: Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
The commandment can be summarized by this: Do not Lie.
Do you want to walk in the favor of the Lord? When you come up against a decision in life that requires either telling the truth or telling a lie…truth brings favor, the lie directs you toward a path that is away from God.
I was doing a significant amount of street evangelism several years ago and was using God’s moral law as a means to sharing that truth. I was probably thinking pretty highly of myself at that time until the day I saw a police officer turn around and follow me after I pulled out of a parking lot. When I spotted his car doing the u-turn, I quickly pulled my seatbelt very slyly over my shoulder and clicked it in. When the officer came to my window he looked a little surprised but said he was pulling me over for not wearing a seatbelt. I told him I had it on—it was a lie—he knew I didn’t have it on when I pulled out and in that moment I disgraced myself for a few extra dollars I was about to lose to the ticket.
When the officer pulled away the Spirit of God spoke gently in my heart and reminded me how quickly I had compromised my values. In essence, my values were worth less than the value of that ticket. I was more upset with my lack of discretion regarding truth than I was about the money I had lost at that moment. I repented of my sin and learned the lesson that I must be on guard at all times, I’m not as strong as I think I am.
The Lord showed me mercy but the next time I shared the law in evangelism I was reminded not to think too highly of myself when doing so.
The Value of God’s Favor
For Noah, the value was the life of him and his family. It was the value of having the honor of being God’s advocate of grace toward Creation and receiving the promise after the waters receded. What I find interesting is that Jesus grew in favor when walking upon this earth as a man.
How does the Son of God who existed before time began, by whom all of Creation was formed, and who redeemed mankind from the grave grow in favor?
In Luke 2:51 it declares that Jesus was subject or ‘hupotassó’, to his parents, in other words, He recognized that He was under authority.
For one Jesus was following the Moral law that declares us to “honor your Father and Mother”, but Jesus was also under a greater authority than them—-the Father.
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Jesus practiced Obedience.
Jesus had authority and yet recognized the position He was placed under. He was under the authority of man and He was under the authority of His heavenly Father. The mandate that Jesus was under required to be subject to both. The perfect unity of the Godhead required a deliberate action plan. The reason He came was to redeem mankind from the scourge of sin, Jesus modeled this perfectly.
If we want to obtain God’s favor, we would model our relationship with God as Jesus did with the Father. Even though Jesus had authority, He willingly subjected Himself to others authority for a greater purpose.
We have a greater purpose in life. Our purpose extends beyond our own needs and into the needs of others. We may of had people treat us poorly or have hurts that extend as early as we can remember but moving on from the elementary into the majestic requires growth and maturity.
The more we walk in conjunction with God’s purposes, the more we incur His favor. Favor is a measure of His grace that He shows to us in the midst of our weakness. He can take that which is broken and apply in HIs perfect will His love—-it changes us forever—- only He can do that.
Jesus exhibited weakness in the flesh that He might demonstrate the power of God. We have a treasure of God’s grace awaiting us, He has laid it out like a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning.
He wants us to delight in Him, but He wants us to seek it. The value is increased by the effort and when we act on His leading, the joy is indescribable.
Walk in God’s favor and walk in the newness of life He gives.