God’s favor on your life empowers you to be a conduit of his love and power. Did you ever consider that God’s favor on your life may be the “key” that unlocks someone’s heart toward God? I was reminded of this truth today.
One of the young men in our church shared with me today how God answered prayer for one of his managers. About two months ago, she was in town and took his business unit out for dinner to thank them for the business sales and referrals they had generated.
During the dinner, the topic of families and children came up. She shared with him how she and her husband had been trying for a year to get pregnant with no success. So, he asked her, at the dinner party, if he could pray for them to have a child—and she agreed. Favor on your life gives boldness and confidence!
He then asked if he could put his hands on her shoulder to pray, and she said, “yes.” He then prayed, asking God to give her the child her heart longed for. Today, when he came into work, he had an email from her saying she was pregnant! A simple prayer at a work dinner engagement! God’s favor is your inheritance, and it blesses others as you partner with him for kingdom purposes.
What if God’s desire is to release unprecedented favor upon his Church in ways we’ve never known? Is this possible in our 21st-century culture? Absolutely!
In fact, I believe the Lord is looking on the body of Christ with such love, acceptance, and grace, it would astound most of us if we really understood how deep his love for each of us and the Church is. Mercy triumphs over judgement—it is time for the Church to shift our thinking from “judgment” to God’s mercy and grace upon us and on humanity! God isn’t looking to judge the world, but through Jesus reconcile the world to himself (2 Cor. 5).
“You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.” (Psalm 102:13 NKJV) There are appointed seasons of increased favor. We might call it revival or awakening. We are entering a time of “favor” Church! God’s wants to “bless” in order that we can be a blessing!
There is anticipation building for many—an increase of grace and favor on the Church is occurring—in order that those outside of the Church may know his love and grace.
“God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1-2 NKJV) His blessing empowers you to reach the world with his love and grace! Equally important, God simply wants to pour his blessing and favor on his church and people—Jesus loves his bride!
Do we have room to improve? Sure, but our starting point needs to be an understanding of God’s love for us and desire to bless us.
Jesus Increased with Favor
Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NKJV)
It’s a mystery to us that the son of God, in human flesh, would have to increase in favor with God and men, yet he did. Jesus’ self-imposed limitations of his divinity while on earth and in human flesh required his dependence upon the Father and Holy Spirit in life and ministry; thereby giving us an example of how to live and function in our ministries presently.
We should expect to increase, or another translation says advance, in a Spirit-filled life that abounds in favor.
Cooperate with God; advance! An advancing, kingdom-minded Church, should expect an increase of God’s favor, his grace, to impact the world!
Prov. 12:2 NKJV says, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord …” obtain also means to “draw out”. Favor is also translated as grace, from the Greek word charis.
We could say then that “A good man draws out grace from the Lord …” The favor that comes from God reflects his nature and character and has purpose associated with it.
God grants favor to those he can entrust with his purposes! Purpose moves us toward fulfillment of our destinies … what is your purpose?
Favor makes for an easier life and fewer difficulties. The level of favor you receive from people and from God is linked to the level of relationship you have.
We see examples throughout the Bible of people who obtained favor with God and with men. Noah, Abraham, Esther, and Mary to name a few.
Favor was increased upon their lives because they carried the heart and purposes of God for their generation and for the generations to come. Favor is for a purpose, and those who will carry the purposes of God in their generation should expect to increase in favor and grace to accomplish the impossible. God loves us all, but his favor on our lives varies from person to person. Your faithful partnership with God increases favor.
Joseph—God meant it for Good!
Joseph had favor with his father. His father made him a “coat of many colors.” It was a “prophetic sign” of the calling and purpose in his life. Joseph, as a teenager, had significant dreams that stirred within him purpose and destiny. In his immaturity, he shared those dreams with his brothers, who were already jealous of Joseph. God’s destiny for his life was unfolding. Despite the betrayal of his brothers and others, Joseph was on a journey of purpose.
Joseph was eventually falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned. We read, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”(Gen 39:21 NKJV) Joseph wrongly accused and imprisoned but had God’s favor with the jailor—and soon with Pharaoh. Favor is often veiled by circumstances and preparation.
Joseph was about to experience great favor and promotion in his life, but he matured through suffering to be prepared to lead and deliver Egypt, and more importantly, to be a posterity for God’s people.
After Joseph is elevated by Pharaoh to governor, his brothers came to Egypt for food due to the famine that covered the region. They soon discover that Joseph, the brother they threw in a pit and sold as a slave, is still alive. Further, they realize that Joseph’s dreams have come to pass, and they fear for their lives. But Joseph, full of forgiveness, tells them, “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”(Gen. 45:7 NKJV)
Joseph adds, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20 NKJV)
God’s answer to a famine was a faithful servant—what about you?
God gave Joseph favor so that he could be a conduit of blessing for many, in his generation and for the generations to come. Your spiritual blessings are redemptive in nature for others, and future generations.
In fact, like Joseph, favor is your inheritance in Christ, and you are being blessed to be a blessing for many, presently and for future generations. Will there be trials? Yes, but God’s hand of favor is upon you!
See yourself wearing Joseph’s coat of many colors, this is what Jesus did for you! No one can take your coat from you …
We are Guaranteed Favor because of Jesus
We are completely accepted in him, loved of the Father, never to be rejected again. Our inheritance is in him—and increasing favor on our lives is part of the inheritance.
Paul said, “The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.”(Rom. 8:16-17 CEB)
We are heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Jesus—increasing favor is to be expected as you partner faithfully with God.
The Genealogy of Jesus Demonstrates God’s Grace for Us
Reading Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-17) is interesting—to say the least!
Tracing one’s family pedigree is regarded by many societies as enormously important. Family pedigree and lineage provide for many a sense of identity and belonging.
God’s plan for the birth of the Savior unfolds through the people he chooses to be in Jesus ancestral line—and they aren’t perfect. In the genealogy of Christ, not only are imperfect people part of the list, but five women are a part of the list. Understand that in the culture at that time, women weren’t included in the family tree. Sadly, women didn’t count in many ways—not even in a court of law. Wives were considered property of the husband, do with as he pleased—sadly, including divorce if she didn’t meet his standards.
In fact, a Jewish man in those days would pray, “Ah Lord God I thank you that you did not make me a gentile … not a slave … not a woman.” (Luke 18:9-14) In those days, you wouldn’t even dream of putting a woman’s name in your family tree.
Matthew, the former tax collector, deliberately goes out of his way to name five women. He breaks every tradition of the day, naming five women in the genealogy of Jesus; he doesn’t have to, but he chooses to.
Matt. 1:3 NLT “Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).” If you read the story of Tamar in the OT (Gen 38) she was a widow who pretended she was a prostitute in order to sleep with her father-in-law Judah! He didn’t recognize her, she was dressed like a prostitute, and so he slept with her, and she became pregnant!
Matthew deliberately put her in the list, “do you know what Tamar did, do you know what she pretended to be?!” But wait, before you judge her, consider what Judah was doing! Tamar’s first son, she named Perez; which means breach or breakthrough. God’s grace brought a breakthrough for her and for us, despite the sin. Favor was at work, despite human frailty!
Matthew continues, “Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse.” (Matt. 1:5 NLT)
Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, hid two Israelite spies and believed in Yahweh (Joshua 2). Because of this, she and her entire family were spared when Jericho was captured. Rahab, once a prostitute, has a place in Jesus lineage—oh the scandalous grace of God!
Think about this, she didn’t pretend to be a prostitute, she was one. “Matthew, what are you doing, first you mention a woman who pretends to be a prostitute, now you mention Rahab who was one. Furthermore, she wasn’t Jewish!”
“Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).” (Matt. 1:5 NLT)
Ruth, a Moabitess, wasn’t Jewish. Further, the Jews were not to associate or have any dealings with the Moabites (Deut. 23:3-4) – not even to the 10thgeneration!
What about King David? “Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).” (Matt. 1:6 NLT)
King David, instead of leading the army of Israel, stays behind at the palace only to see beautiful Bathsheba bathing next door. Her husband Uriah is gone fighting for David in his army. David entices her to commit adultery, resulting in her pregnancy. David, to cover his sin, has Uriah sent to the front lines, hoping he will die in battle, and he does. Basically, David murders him. David then marries Bathsheba, but their child dies. Bathsheba conceives again and gives birth to Solomon, who is in Jesus lineage as well (2 Sam. 11-12). What a sordid story, but God redeems the sin and brokenness of David and Bathsheba for his purposes.
What was Matthew saying? He was saying that Jesus came for everyone. He was saying that Jesus honors everyone – he was turning culture around. He was saying, no longer will one group in society be 2ndclass citizens, pushed away by others, and without rights that others have. I love everyone equally, I honor everyone equally.
Jesus was breaking down gender, racial, and even religious barriers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Moabite, a Samaritan, or if you’re broken through life’s circumstances and poor choices—everyone can come into the Kingdom, into the family.
Notice also, there are 14 generations from Abraham to David and 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile. Why mention the exile, Matthew? It was Israel’s greatest failure!
Matthew does so to remind us that Jesus is King whether we are doing great or doing terribly. Jesus comes to identify with the best of us and the worst of us.
God is so great, that he knows the end from the beginning, he already sees your bad days, and factored them into your destiny! Your identity is in Christ; he’s removed your failures through the cross.
He comes for all of us, and for every part of us. No one is too broken that he can’t bring home. This proved not just in the genealogy, but while on earth he hung out with the prostitutes, sinners, and tax collectors.
Our Identity is in Christ
Paul boldly declares, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV)
We are accepted in Christ, complete in him and the Father doesn’t see what is wrong with us. Favor is our inheritance in Christ, a guarantee from God, because of who Jesus is (1 John 4:17)!
No one can take your coat of many colors from you—your destiny is secure in Jesus!
Your hope and future are in him, your inheritance is in him. He increases favor to those whom he can entrust his purpose.
Consider, “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]”(Rom. 11:29 AMPC)
God, through Jesus, has poured out favor and grace on humanity
Favor is our inheritance in this life through Christ if we will embrace this simple truth. Favor can increase in our lives as we apprehend and cooperate with the purposes of God.
Church, we are in a season of unprecedented favor! God wants to release his favor and grace on the church in order that the church will touch the world! Follow him, and expect great grace on your life!