God is good. His promises are true. And He will always make a way for me.
These are statements I repeatedly preach to myself, especially during the difficult seasons. And they are true. Which is good news since these are also true: Life is hard. People can be mean. And we’ll at times feel hemmed in by painful circumstances. So how do we learn to live under God’s favor while making our trek through this broken, hurting world?
I’ve observed two extreme erroneous mindsets when it comes to how we as Christians approach God: perpetual worms or entitled saints.
You’ll sometimes see folks who—though saved and now seated with Christ—focus so much on their worminess, you can’t help but notice them more than you do the redeeming work of Christ in their lives. You almost get the feeling that they’re proud of their humility. This is a sad proposition.
Yet, the other extreme is even more troubling. Sometimes you’ll hear folks tell God what He must do for them as if He is somehow at their beck and call. They teach formulas on how to get your will, your way, 100% of the time. These entitled saints see Jesus as a means to an end, a way to get the life on earth they always dreamed of, and on their terms. They’ll dictate their desires to God with no hint of reverence or humility. This is a scary proposition.
So what does it mean to walk in God’s favor? Does it mean we’re entitled to a pain free life? Does it mean God owes us an explanation when we suffer?
No. But it does mean something different than you may think.
Recently on Middays I spoke Gary Wilkerson, author of the book, God's Favor: Experiencing the Life God Wants You to Have. I loved this conversation! Gary offers a balanced, biblical view on God’s favor and what it means to those of us who belong to Him.
“Today the teaching of favor is being twisted by some. They use it as a means to gain material, physical and emotional blessings from God. That’s tragic because it reduces the Lord to just another American commodity…This isn’t God’s way. He cares for us much more than that. If we get everything we dream of, that’s not favor, that’s lust…To want only personal blessings of physical and material well-being is to limit the Lord. I believe it also grieves His heart. Yet to limit Him only to spiritual favor goes to the other extreme, denying God’s role as a caring father who provides for our physical and material needs. If I could have only one form of favor, it would always be God and His presence alone.” – God's Favor: Experiencing the Life God Wants You to Have
God provides for our physical needs. And He radically changes us into someone we could never be apart from Him. But He also allows us to suffer, to struggle, and to wrestle for blessings that are just out of reach, all the while favoring us with a loving, Fatherly affection.
Here’s what’s true for the Christ-follower:
- We are loved, favored, and honored. (Isaiah 43:4)
- We are forgiven; our sins will never be counted against us. (2 Corinthians 5:19)
- We are a masterpiece, created for a good work. (Ephesians 2:10)
- We have access to God’s presence and promises. (Hebrews 4:16)
- We have weapons of warfare to stand against the lies and schemes of the enemy. (Ephesians 6)
- God will take every sin, every misstep, every blessing, every battle, and work it for good in our lives. (Romans 8:28)
- Overwhelming victory ultimately belongs to us because we belong to Jesus. (Romans 8:37)
Gary Wilkerson further writes:
“The end of the story is always this: God is for you. He is on your side, caring for you, looking out for you and demonstrating His concern for you, no matter what your circumstances tell you… Even if we can’t see God at work, our heavenly Father has been actively working since our ordeal began, storing up His appointed blessings for us.”
Did you catch that? Right here, right now, amidst your trial, God is actively at work, arranging circumstances so that you will come through your battle richer than you started. If you remember who you are no matter the trial, you will come to know God on a deeper level. You will know His promises in a more personal way. You will see answers to prayer and a refreshment in your soul you never dreamed possible.
This means that, amidst your battles, you can look for and find the Lord in them. You can know that after you’ve suffered awhile, God Himself will come for you and reestablish you in strength. When you’ve been severely pruned by your circumstances, you can count on a bountiful harvest, because nothing escapes God’s notice and He’ll use everything for your good and for His glory.
I’d say we’re pretty favored and highly privileged, wouldn’t you?What is God’s favor?