Growing in God’s Favor

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 based off a relationship built over time. Most friends would be willing to help if they could because the bond of friendship is worth more than the sacrifice. Even if my friend wasn’t available, it wouldn’t diminish my view of him, a relationship is more valuable than a person’s ability to help.

The friendship a believer has with God is far deeper, the depth of love expressed is impossible to measure. The Bible gives us greater insight into God’s nature and what it means to incur favor with God.

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

When looking for treasure at the bottom of the sea, hunters are motivated because they know treasure exists. Understanding the value of hidden treasure gives a compelling reason to search knowing the reward will be great. The opportunity to seek God is given to all who desire to know Him. For those who seek God, they are blessed by the myriad of riches they will find.

If you were to find something of value and suddenly stopped searching, questions would arise as to what your motivation was in the first place. A gold prospector has to keep digging to receive the reward of his labor. For those who seek out spiritual truth, the effort necessary to continue often turns many away from finding all that awaits.

Knowing God’s goodness 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 who lived before the flood, Noah was one to whom God displayed His favor.

Not only was Noah spared from a flood that brought judgement upton the entire world, his family was also spared with him.

God’s Mercy

What attributes do we see in people to whom God lavishes such favor?

God’s Word describes mercy, when practiced in one’s life brings about this great blessing.

When someone demonstrates mercy, they have reason to exact judgement upon another and then chooses not to. If wronged by another, people have a response that can be acted out in different ways; they can either act out of vengeance or show mercy, but God says vengeance is His territory and they’d be taking what rightfully belongs to Him. Some people might make others pay them back according to the law, have them thrown in jail if the offense was bad enough, or at the very least cut them off from any love or kindness in the future.

Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

When God’s favor rests upon the merciful, it is a reflection of His mercy. The mercy that you show others does not compare to the mercy God has shown toward you….it’s not even close.

Everyone deserves death—-eternal death—-for the offenses they have made against God’s holiness. When God shows mercy, he spares lives from eternal death. Godly mercy is obtained through Christ alone, this is the incredible favor He offers to those who trust in Him.

God’s Truth

There are many aspects of God’s Truth. Ultimately, Jesus is the embodiment of what Godly Truth looks like. Like a hidden treasure, the more someone looks, the more they realize there is much more that can be found. An immediate reflection of truth yields an 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…while the lie directs you down a path that is away from God, Truth brings God’s favor.

I was involved in street evangelism a few years ago and was using God’s moral law as a means to share the truth. If I had any thoughts of perfection they quickly diminished the moment I witnessed a police officer turn around and follow me as 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.

By God’s favor He showed me mercy so the next time I shared the law in evangelism I was reminded of the need to practice it myself.

The Value of God’s Favor

For Noah, the value was the life given to him and his family. It was the value of having the honor of being God’s advocate of grace and receiving the promise of a rainbow after the waters receded.

~The favor of the Son~

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?

As Jesus grew as a young man, He grew in favor before the Father.

In the gospel of Luke there is a reminder of how Jesus was subjected to His parents authority. Honoring His father and mother was critical for obedience to the Father in Heaven. Jesus followed the Moral law because Jesus had placed Himself under a greater authority.

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 the Father. The mandate that Jesus was under required Him to be subjected to both authorities. The perfect unity of the Godhead requires a deliberate action plan. The reason Jesus came was to redeem mankind from the scourge of sin, and He modeled perfection because we couldn’t.

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 godly 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. There may have been people who treated you poorly or have hurt you at an early age but moving on from the elementary into the majestic requires an understanding of who you are in Christ.

We witness two elements of favor from God. On the one hand, the more God’s people walk in conjunction with His purposes, the more they see His favor. On the other, we see God lavishing favor upon those who have done nothing to deserve it and yet He still gives it freely.

Favor is a measure of God’s grace and He shows it even in the midst of weakness. As God takes people who are broken and applies His perfect love, it changes them forever—- this change occurs in those who give Him their heart.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus exhibited weakness in the flesh that He might demonstrate the power of God to the lost. Today for those who have trusted in Him, they have the treasure of God’s grace and He demonstrates this continually in their lives. What tremendous favor!

The Lord wants people to delight in Him. First comes His call, then value is increased through the effort of humbling and submitting to His call in repentance. When people act on His call, the joy of finding His favor is indescribable.

If you Walk in God’s favor your walk will be demonstrated in the newness of life that only He can give.

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