We’re constantly aware of what the world thinks. Our self-images are fragile, and we become upset if someone criticizes us.… We seem to need a lot of affirmation. But when we focus on the favor of God, His affirmation and love for us become the foundation of our self-esteem. We have value and worth because He made us, He is preparing a place for us, He is coming again for us, and He surrounds us with favor as with a shield.
When critical thoughts circulate through our mind.… How, then, can we increase in the favor of God and grow in His grace? A study of the word favor in the Bible offers six helpful hints.
Enjoy Your Blessings
First, learn to enjoy your everyday blessings. Near the end of his life, Moses gathered the children of Israel and bestowed on them his final blessings. Going from tribe to tribe, he gave them promises and prophecies and insights that came from the Lord, specifically designed for each tribe. When he came to Joseph’s descendants, he said in Deuteronomy 33:13-16:
With the precious things of heaven,
With the dew,
And the deep lying beneath,
With the precious produce of the months,
With the best things of the ancient mountains,
With the precious things of the everlasting hills,
With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
What a wonderful passage, reminding us of the blessings that flow from the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush, referring to the burning bush where Moses met Almighty God.
Praise God for Leading You Through It All
The second way to enjoy God’s favor is by praising Him for leading you through it all. In Psalm 30, David wrote a Psalm praising God for getting him through a difficult time. He thanked God:
- that his foes had not triumphed over him (verse 1)
- that God had healed him (verse 2)
- that the Lord had brought him back from the verge of despair (verse 3)
- that the Lord had given him a morning of fresh joy (verse 5)
- that God’s favor had provided stability that sustained him (verse 7).
He ended the Psalm saying, “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (verse 12).
How many times has the Lord stepped into our difficulties with favorable providence, allowing us safe passageway through it all? They are too numerous to count. If you’re going through a desert moment or you feel broken down and helpless, ask God for His favor, then make sure you don’t miss the bus He sends. Trust Him to make a way forward for you.
Seek God in Prayer
We also enjoy God’s favor when we seek Him in prayer. There’s an old poem by Thomas Kelly that looks at prayer in an unusual way:
And seek the presence of our Lord!
Dear Savior, on Thy people smile,
And come according to Thy Word.1
Have you ever thought of prayer like that—taking a few minutes to “leave the world” and there, in “the presence of the Lord,” enjoy His smile? Sometimes we just need to stop the spinning planet long enough to catch our breath and settle our soul.
Moses prayed, “Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving-kindness, giving us constant joy to the end of our lives …. Let our children see glorious things … let the Lord our God favor us and give us success” (Psalm 90:14-17, The Living Bible).
Have you ever specifically asked God for His favor? To look on you with favor? To bless your plans with favor? To give you favor in the eyes of others?
Study His Word
Along the same lines, we relish the favor of God by delving into His Word. Proverbs 3 says, “Do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (verses 1-4).
In Proverbs 8, the writer personifies God’s wisdom as a woman who says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the post of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord” (verses 34-35).
When our mind is filled with Scriptures like Proverbs 18:10 (“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe”), we secure God’s favor and have confidence in His ability to lead us through time and into eternity.
Getting to know our Bibles well is a wonderful way of writing God’s Word on the tablets of our heart. Reading them daily is the best way of watching daily at His gates. And whoever does that finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.
We also enjoy the Lord’s favor when we’re determined to live as He wants us to, as He commands in His Word. Proverbs 11:27 says, “He who earnestly seeks good finds favor.” And Proverbs 12:2 adds, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.”
Look at these other verses from Proverbs—don’t rush through them, but notice how the writer uses the word good, which I will italicize for you.
- Walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness (Proverbs 2:20).
- I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law (Proverbs 4:2).
- The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh (Proverbs 11:17).
- A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Proverbs 13:22).
- A good man will be satisfied from above (Proverbs 14:14).
- Mercy and truth belong to those who devise good (Proverbs 14:22).
- A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches (Proverbs 22:1).
One simple question we can ask is—Am I doing anything right now that is not good? Any practice? Any habit? Any attitude? One of the greatest compliments in the Bible was given to Barnabas in Acts 11:24: “For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.”
Cultivate a Humble Heart
Finally, we enjoy God’s favor by cultivating a humble heart. We learn this from two parallel verses that say the same thing, word for word:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5 NIV).
Humility is recognizing that we can’t solve our problems on our own or resolve our anxieties by our own devices. We must humbly come to God and say, “Lord, this situation is beyond me. I can’t solve it, and I can’t lift myself above it. I am casting it into Your hands and trusting You with the result, for I truly believe You care for me and for all the details of my life.”
Writing about this passage, Charles Spurgeon said, “There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy …. If God cares for you, why need you care too? … Leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.”2
To live in God’s favor, then, make up your mind to enjoy your everyday blessings and to thank Him for them; to praise Him for leading you through it all; to seek Him in prayer and pore into His Word; and to live righteously and humbly, casting your cares on Him.
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This article has been excerpted from David Jeremiah’s handbook Finding Favor With God.