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Favor – It’s Not What We Think It Is.

By Michelle Moore.

I have struggled ALL of my Christian walk with my significance and effectiveness. By “All”, I mean from the first year to this year, 2022. Questioning, wondering what or if my contributions, my good works were truly impacting the eternal choices of others. I have never, solely, lead anyone to a new faith in Christ. I have seen miracles of healing; I have experienced personal miraculous healing and seen both of our daughters walk in to miracles of physical healing. I have seen and been a part of people being set free from the demonic. I have not YET seen someone raised from the dead…but I will. But there is a difference between the miraculous and leading someone to the place of salvation. Miracles completely depend on God. Salvation depends on…….God! Completely!! But, somewhere in the missiology doctrines of many, leading someone to and / or through the decision of salvation in Christ has become our responsibility. It has even become the measure of our effectiveness, of our commitment.

Another learned measure of our faith is the apparent evidence of what we perceive to be the favor of God on the life of a person or family. Let me explain what I mean. I (maybe you, also) had heard so many teachings and conversations that came to the conclusion that IF you own your house, your car, have a good job, go on vacation, have 2.5 well-behaved, attractive children, then that is the favor of God on your life. The conclusion has for too long been that God’s favor looks like financial prosperity, happy marriage, successful children.

There is a current country song out that perpetuates that thinking……

“I know everybody says money can’t buy me happiness.
But it can buy me a boat
It could buy me a truck to pull it
Yeah, I know what they say, money can’t buy everything
Well, maybe so
But it could buy me a boat”

See, even the world…..

But then, if this is the measure of God’s favor on a life, what about the Christ-loving followers in the third world nations? What about the woman who loves God with all her heart and just found herself single with young children? With older children? Widowed….or divorced. What about the single dad? What about the…it is a LONG list. What about the vocational ministers, leaders, pastors, teachers, missionaries who have served with integrity and still find their marriage in trouble, their children in trouble, their finances lacking, their physical or mental health or both at risk? We won’t even talk about gender or race questions or political persuasion.

The problem is our perception and the teaching of too many for too long about what is the “favor” of God and what it looks like.

Our pastor touched on this a couple of weeks ago. It was a Call to Freedom for me! That’s right…more than 30 years in active, mostly full-time, ministry and I was still struggling with significance and effectiveness because I was using this “favor” stick as the standard of measure.

Let’s look at the Bible…you know, the living Word of God. Who does God call favored and what did their lives look like before and after?

My first place goes to Mary. A young woman, just old enough to marry. She’s likely 14-16 years old, betrothed to Joseph.  A betrothal can only be broken by divorce. Gabriel shows up in the middle of her day and calls her “highly favored one”, then proceeds to tell her that she has been chosen to carry the Seed of David, God incarnate. She is only betrothed and not yet married; she’s never been intimate with a man. This will mean an illegitimate birth, possible ostracation within the community and beyond. This means joy, but also the deepest of heart aches….the death of her child, the crucifixion. How can this be favor??

What about Joseph??  Despised, beaten, thrown in a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers. Falsely accused out of spite and imprisoned for years. Forgotten by 2 men who promised to speak up for him, for his release from the unjust imprisonment. Then, suddenly…..rise to power and influence, restoration of his father and family. Was that not just the due reward for remaining faithful all those years of hardship, the years of testing.  Doesn’t favor look like reward for something??

Moses, David, Elijah, Peter, James, Paul……..

Paul 4 times beaten 39 lashes, 3 times shipwrecked, wrongfully imprisoned repeatedly, stoned and left for dead…….favor of God??

There is also the converse….those in the world who live wealthy, healthy and heathen. If wealth and health are the mark of God’s favor on His children, what is it when we see it on those who do not claim Christ?

Here’s what I believe God is teaching me…..His favor does not come without trial and testing. His favor does not look the same from one of us to another, so it really is important not to compare ourselves nor His workings, blessings, gifts in our lives. His favor does come Full of Grace; the unmerited, undeserved grace that He grants is sufficient for the situation and day and it is the power that sets us free from the bondages of this life, like sin, addictions, comparisons, and more.

The favor of God is about His strength being perfected in and through our weakness. His favor is about finding people He can trust to yield to the process, to run the race all the way to the finish line.

Some sow, others water, yet others reap the harvest. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in the entire process…see it through from beginning to end? For now, I will be content with my part, recognizing that my significance is in Him, His presence in my life and not in the measurables that we value in the natural.

I am blessed and highly favored!