A free sandwich at a restaurant. A coupon from the boss for a free lunch. An extra 20% discount offered by the cashier on that purchase (without having to ask for it). A complimentary hotel room upgrade. A complimentary rental car upgrade. An Apple watch gratis! Free delivery on a major purchase (hey, $75 bucks free!). I’ll take it!
These are but a few examples of favor … an attitude of approval or liking someone, but you just can’t put your finger on why you like them. It can be receiving an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual. It is a gracious act of kindness freely granted without asking. “What does it mean to walk in favor?” is a question I heard someone recently ask of the Lord.
I decided to tackle the answer, based on what our Lord tells us in His Word. Let’s begin by reviewing what made an OT guy, Joseph (the dreamer) successful. Genesis 39:3 tells us that the Lord was with Joe and made him successful in everything he did. From this one example we see that favor can be likened to God’s imprint upon an individual, like a brand or a ink stamp. We can be marked as God’s own and be honored in the midst of negative circumstances, as Joseph was.
Favor is the opposite of being under God’s judgment. No one wants to live under the judgment of Almighty God. Our old buddy Job (not Steve … think boils, poverty and loss of wealth) showed us how awful this kind of smiting looks.
Favor is a by-product of friendship with the Divine. (tweet that)
Let’s see what else God tells us about favor. “A good man obtains favor from the Lord but a man of wicked intentions, He will condemn,” (Proverbs 12:2). Both the child Samuel (see 1 Samuel 2:26) and Jesus grew in stature and increased in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52), therefore we see that we, too can increase the level of gracious acts of kindness bestowed upon us.
So what is the secret?
Are some people just “born with a silver spoon” or can a person draw favor towards themselves? First, I must address what the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 2:6, that “God shows personal favoritism to no man.” Huh, Kate, what about that verse? What one must understand about this verse is that Paul was adressing the fact that the gospel is open, free and accessible to all persons, regardless of gender, In speaking to the religious Jews present, Paul was tearing down the boundaries which the Law erects. The Law was precise in excluding and creating a narrow channel that only few could enter. Paul was proclaiming free access to God for everyone because of the glorious good news of Jesus birth, death and ressurection.
God does indeed bestow favor upon people, this I know from firsthand experience. I’ve had seasons where I felt I was living in exile, banished from feeling the closeness of God, as if He were a million miles away. But when I made the decision to live daily as close to Him as I could, (see James 4:8) it was then that I began actually feeling God’s presence. “How do ‘feeling God’s presence’ and favor relate, Kate?” you may be asking. Excellent question, gentle reader.
Since favor is a by-product of friendship with the Divine, as we live in communion with God and our brethren, we will see the level of favor upon our lives increasing (another good tweet). Psalm 30:5 tells us that His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life! Any one of us would be elated to receive a lifetime warranty on a new vehicle, right? God promises His favor has a lifetime guarantee! That’s shouting grounds, folks!
The secret of living from favor is revealed further by Proverbs 3:3-4 and Acts 2:46-47.
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. Proverbs 3:3-4 NKJV
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 NKJV