God's favor

It seems that in our society today there is much talk about "the Lord's favor." Depending on who you listen to you would think that the best evidence of having the Lord's favor would be a bank account that is overflowing and perfect health. There are several problems with this not least of which are that it is not completely Biblical and it doesn't match up with reality. For instance, I have some friends who are missionaries in a foreign country and they are some of the most godly people I know. They seek after the Lord's face and will with all of their hearts and have devoted their lives to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they have sacrificed a comfortable life in the United States because they have felt the unmistakable call of God to minister to lost people in the world. From what I understand and have seen with my own eyes, they live a very modest lifestyle and often have less money than they really need. Now according to some of the "gospels" that are circulating in our culture today they would not be living with God's favor. However, if you asked them they would say that they are right in the midst of God's will for their lives and that He provides for them in various ways and sees to it that they are taken care of at every turn. Also, it would behoove us to take a cursory look at the life of the Apostle Paul. Here was a man who had a radical encounter with the Living Christ and spent his life enduring all kinds of trials, troubles and tribulations for His Name. In fact, none of the early apostles died living in the lap of luxury and most of them died horrific deaths. The same could be said for Christians throughout the world in 2011 who put Christ ahead of their own lives and comfort.

Regarding this subject I would like to offer you these words from Psalms 41:11 that I read this morning, "By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me (NASB)." To me this is a powerful example of how we know that God loves us and we are found in His favor, our enemy does not triumph over us. Listen also to the familiar words of Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Now, hear what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has to say in Luke 4:8-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." It should be perfectly clear that the single greatest evidence of God's favor is that He has saved us. We need no other evidence and no other blessing on top of that simple, unbelievable fact. God's favor is wrapped up in His Son and what He did for us on the cross, not in these other things that we demand from God as evidence of His love for us. The God of the universe is required to do absolutely nothing for us, NOTHING! Yet, He not only allows us to live in His creation, He sent His Son to die for us so that we could live with Him forever in Heaven. On the cross Christ defeated our true enemy once and for all. The root of all of our problems has been dealt with through His blood. Victory is His and He then gives it to us. But we say there must be more evidence that God cares for us. He must do more than give us eternal life and victory in this life. Do you want to know if you are experiencing God's favor? I will answer that by asking this, has He saved you? If the answer is "yes" then you are in God's favor and incomprehensible grace. If the answer is "no" then I want to tell you that He offers His favor through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I want to say this in order to head off any potential questions. Yes, God does choose to bless people with riches and health and all kinds of other things. However, He does it so that we might bless other people with what God has given us. He doesn't do it to prove to us that we are in His favor, the proof is on the cross and the empty tomb, none other need be offered. In any case how could any other proof compare? He does it so that His power can be seen in our lives by other people. We often look at people who do not use a God given talent and think about how it was wasted. The same can be said for anything God gives us. If it is not used to bless others and bring Him honor and glory it is a waste. God's goal in this world is not to shower us with blessing just for the heck of it. He showers us with blessings so that His kingdom might be increased and so that people will be drawn to Him because it is His will that none should perish but that all should have everlasting life.

I will close with these two final points.

1. Never think that because you are not wealthy and perfectly healthy you are not receiving God's favor. Look to His Word to determine your position with Him. God delivers on obedience and faithfulness and to be obedient and faithful we must know what He says in the Bible.

2. I will ask this question: What are you doing with the things God has blessed you with? Are you turning around and blessing others and using it for His kingdom? Or are you hiding it under a bushel?



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