Have you ever asked someone for a “favor?” From time to time, we all need help or “grace” from others. Favor from friends is expected, but favor from strangers is rare. There is favor from people, and there is favor from God—both are desired.
On our first trip to Israel, Carolyn and I experienced God’s favor through an airline. At God’s leading, we were finalizing plans to travel and serve another ministry in Israel for a few weeks in the fall of 1992. Our travel agent reserved us round-trip tickets in coach for $1600 each, but because of the price we waited before booking the tickets and continued to pray for God’s favor.
A few days later, the travel agent contacted us and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I just found the same tickets for $833 each! Do you want me to book the tickets now?” Our response was “Yes, book them!” God’s grace and favor were at work.
The story doesn’t end with the great price on the tickets. Carolyn asked God a simple request, “Father, this is the first international trip I’ve ever made, could we travel in first class?” One simple prayer during a quiet moment with God, and she didn’t think about it anymore.
A few weeks later, we were at the airport boarding our flight for Israel. At the gate, a stewardess gave us our boarding passes and asked us to follow her—this seemed odd. It was a Boeing 747, a large aircraft with an upper seating area for first and business class. The stewardess, without saying a word, began to take us to the stairwell that led to the upper deck. I said to Carolyn, “I think she is taking us up to the first-class section!” To our surprise and elation, we were seated in business-class just behind first-class! God granted us favor, Carolyn’s desire was realized, and our understanding of God’s goodness and favor increased.
We’ve traveled many times overseas since, usually in coach class, but always grateful for God’s provision and opportunity to minister for him. God at times gives favor, just to bless us, and reveal his love and care for us. But there is also favor from God to empower us to accomplish a purpose.
Today, I want to examine God’s favor. God’s favor is for a Purpose!
Know this: God grants favor and grace to those whom He can entrust with His purposes!
When we are faithful in little, God can make us ruler over much. Your assignment has purpose, God’s blessings and anointing are unto a purpose—that others would be blessed.
God loves us all the same, but His favor on our lives varies from person to person. We can co-operate with God for more.
What is favor? What does favor do? How do you get favor with God? Let me try and answer these questions.
Consider Mary, “Rejoice highly favored (charitoō) one, the Lord is with you … you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:26-38 NKJV)The Lord is REALLY with you Mary! She found favor with God. Favor from the Greek charitoōmeans: “To be grace-bestowed. To be or become the recipient of God’s goodwill.”
The angel Gabriel says to Mary, “For you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) There will only be “one” Mary, but wouldn’t you like that pronouncement on your life? “You have found favor with God!”
We love to be liked by our peers and the authorities over us. Favor makes for an easier life and fewer difficulties. In terms of God’s Kingdom, we want the King to like us and others to honor us.
Gabriel told Mary she was “blessed.” (Luke 1:28) The Greek for blessed is eulogeō which means: “to speak well of, praise, extol, bless abundantly.” Eulogeō can be from men to God, men to men and from God to men. When God blesses men, he grants them favor and confers happiness upon them. By the way, Jesus said to, “Bless those who curse you …” (Luke 6:28) the same word eulogeō is used in this passage.
Favor is Linked to Relationship
Again, have you ever asked someone the question, “Could you do me a favor?” Generally, we ask a favor from close friends or those with whom we share a relationship.
No one expects much success when asking strangers for a favor. How many, though, come to a stranger called God and ask for “favor” in times of a crisis? The level of favor you receive from people and from God is linked to the level of relationship you have.
Jesus Increased with Favor
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NKJV) Luke’s narrative in chapter two describes Jesus, developing as a child, in wisdom and favor. Consider that Jesus is our model for Kingdom life on earth.
Favor is from Greek charis and means acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, grace. It’s a gift, its grace; it’s a benefit from God. Jesus obtained acceptance and grace from God and men.
Keep in mind that Jesus was without blemish and sin. The perfect, spotless, lamb of God. Yet, He increased in favor, why?
The answer is that Jesus modeled how we could walk with God, led of the Spirit, operating from God’s Kingdom realm impacting our world. Yes, he was God in human flesh, but he was dependent upon the Father and Holy Spirit to complete his earthly assignment.
Therefore, if Jesus needed favor, then we certainly do! Like Jesus, we should increase in favor with God and men. We have a part to play!
Would it be fair to use Jesus in His childhood as a believer growing in Christ? Yes! Jesus performed miracles as the son of man; therefore, it’s an invitation for us to live dependent upon the Holy Spirit to live and operate in God’s love and power.
Proverbs states, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord …” (Prov. 12:2 NKJV)The Hebrew for obtains also means to “draw out”. Favor is also used interchangeably as grace in the OT.
We could say then that “A good man draws out grace from the Lord …” We draw out His grace when our ways please Him. Conversely, when we operate from our “flesh,” we may hinder God’s grace from flowing freely.
Peter illustrates this, “Husbands, likewise, submit by living with your wife in ways that honor her, knowing that she is the weaker partner. Honor her all the more, as she is also a coheir of the gracious care of life. Do this so that your prayers won’t be hindered.”(1 Pet. 3:7 CEB)
Peter states clearly that prayer, or the flow of God’s favor and grace, can be hindered if we are not treating our wives with love and honor. In fact, the same is true for any of our relationships with others.
Notice in Luke 2:52 that Jesus increased in favor with God and men. Favor then comes in two respects—that which is from men and that which comes from God alone.
While we want the favor of men, we must keep in mind that this type of favor can be fickle and unpredictable. Remember in John 6 the people wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him King after the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Yet, it was only a brief time later and the crowd is yelling “crucify him!”
God grants favor to those whom He can entrust with His purposes!
The favor that comes from God reflects his nature and character and has purpose associated with it.
Here is a favorite verse of mine that describes this truth, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chr. 16:9 NKJV) Did you catch this, a loyal heart draws out grace and favor from God!
God looked for a virgin to give birth to His son, He found Mary, He could trust her with purpose. You see, purpose is your vehicle to destiny fulfilled!
When God grants favor and we begin to see success, we are often tested. Will we take the credit; will we squander his favor and anointing on our own agendas? Do you remember Sampson?
Many can move the heart of man, but fewer move the heart of God. Why?
Many lack authenticity, integrity, and loyalty to God and his purposes. God’s loves everyone, but his grace and favor increase for those whose hearts are loyal to him.
Favor flows to those who understand God’s purpose. Understand that God grants favor for a purpose, in order that his purposes for the Kingdom will be accomplished here on earth.
Peter declared in Acts that “God is no respecter of persons…”(Acts 10:34-35)or he shows no partiality to people. For those who walk with him rightly, they find favor.
The Father sees Christ in each of us, and this is God’s complete love given to each of us. He loves each of us the same, but he does have his favorites, those who have captured his heart, those who understand his purposes here on earth.
Have you ever noticed that the prayers of some seem to be answered more than the prayers of others? Why, what makes the difference for these folks? They have “drawn out” God’s favor and grace as they walk faithfully with Him.
“Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord.” (Gen. 6:8 NKJV) Amid a wicked generation, Noah walked faithfully with God, he was a just man and loyal to God’s assignment. He wasn’t perfect but committed himself to walk faithfully with God. By the way, God is still in the business of leading his servants on “radical” ark-building adventures!
Abraham found grace and favor with God, such that God says that “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you … all families blessed.” (Gen. 12:3 NKJV)
Esther, demonstrating metaphorically a believer or the Church, obtains favor from man and from the King. We read, “she obtained his favor”, “obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her”, “the king loved Esther more than all … she obtained grace & favor in his sight” (Esther 2:9,15,17 NKJV)
Esther, an orphan raised by her older cousin Mordecai, is brought to the palace of the King of Persia in order that he may select a new queen. Esther is put in the care of Hegai, the custodian of the women. Hegai is a eunuch and chamberlain to the king and knows what “pleases the king.”
We read that Esther “pleased him (Hegai), and she obtained his favor” (Vs. 9) He gave her more beauty preparations than the others, and the best place in the house for the women!
Charles Swindoll, in his book Esther: A Woman of Strength and Dignity says that the literal translation of the original language says, “She lifted up grace before his face” Esther modeled grace before the influential servant Hegai. Her conduct won his heart!
Proverbs states,“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Prov. 16:7 NKJV) Please (to be favorable), have grace!
In Esther 2:20 we are given a clue to the favor she received, “Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.” She had a humble, teachable spirit. The result, she listened to her cousin and the chamberlain, and this positioned her to be received by the king.
After a year of preparation, she is ready to go in for her one night with the King. “She requested nothing but what Hegai advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.” (Vs. 15)
Esther only wanted what the one who knew the king the closest would advise … she had a purpose in mind … what does the king like!
To get favor from our King, we must understand it’s not about what we like, how we want to worship him, but it’s about what he likes and when we come dressed in that, we catch his eye and obtain favor.
Walking righteously, loving others, remaining humble, communing with God through prayer and worship, and ministering to the needy and poor—these are the clothes God likes!
When Esther walked into the King’s chamber that night, she walked in, adorned in what he liked, with a humble, teachable spirit that caught his attention so strongly, that he loved her more than all the rest. (Esther 2:17) That’s favor!
I’m not after your riches king, but I just want you!
She had been taught the protocol of proper intimacy with the king. Many want the blessings of the King, how many truly want Jesus? If it’s only blessings that you’re after, it’s doubtful you’ll ever receive his favor.
Esther 5:2 NKJV, “she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.” Why so much favor? She had captured the king’s heart, adorned with what he likes, and she had purpose in mind for her people, knowing that God was with her.
God, through this Persian king, granted Esther favor for a purpose—that she might deliver the Jewish people from evil plotted against them.
Favor is for a purpose, that Jesus would be glorified, and captives freed!
Favor is reserved for those who have won the King’s heart. For those who have his purpose in mind. Are you ready to increase with God’s favor? Pursue Jesus, the King of Glory!