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As a pastor I’ve fallen for this before, and I continue to see and hear so many others do the same. Things are said like “Man, I wish we had the favor of God like that church has.” “If I just had the favor that pastor had.” “If we just had more of God’s favor.” And to be honest, when we say things like that, I think it just shows how much we don’t really know about God’s favor.
We just came out of what I believe to be, the greatest part of the calendar year…Christmas. Easter, and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is the most important single event in Christian history. I mean, without the resurrection then Jesus was just a prophet or a good man, so I get that, but Easter is only one day. Christmas lasts for weeks. It has it’s own music and movies and decorations. But I digress.
In Luke 1:27 Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Favored? Before you ask for the same favor you better remember what Mary had to face! Her fiance wanted to divorce her. More than likely she was accused of being a harlot. Who knows how many threats she faced; friends and family she lost, reputation that was never regained. She gave birth in a stable (cave, livestock holding area. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t FAVORable). She fled for her and her Son’s life to Egypt. She watched her Son rise to prominence, then be brutally beaten and crucified on a cross. Favor? If that’s favor, do we really want to seek it?
Paul had the favor of God. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-29. Stephen had the favor of God. Read Acts 7:54-60 . The unnamed people of Hebrews 11 had God’s favor. Read Hebrews 11:35-40 I mean, I could go on. Now don’t get me wrong, the favor of God is also an amazing thing. It just seems we typically focus on all the rewards of God’s favor and none of the refining it requires! We see all the performances of those who have it but none of the pain they went through to keep it.
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The favor of God will bring the contempt of men. The favor of God will require more sacrifice. The favor of God will test your faithfulness to Him. The greater the favor that God pours out, the greater the faith it requires from man. I just think we…I, need to remember that.