My father does a weekly devotion and this past week the topic was the favor of God. here is a brief excerpt of his devotion:
"Jewish tradition did not seem to allow for women to assume leadership in the
nation and its religion. If anything, they were pushed to the background and
dismissed to a role of insignificance. So when Mary was addressed as "high-
ly favored" that was perhaps just as astonishing to Mary as it was true. Wo-
men were not thought of in such terms for the normal Jewish person.
"To us who are in Christ, we are very highly favored with the Father. If we think of
redemption in terms of the Scripture, we were purchased out of the slave mar-
ket of sin. The Father, through the sacrifice of Jesus, made payment for you
and me in that state. The favor He placed on us is equal to the value He placed
on His Son, in that He gave valued assets in order to bring us through the pro-
cess of redemption. So the asset given was equal to the cost of redemption and
the value of the item redeemed! It seems awkward for us to think of ourselves in
such terms, but that is the fact of redemption's cost to the Father.
This favor gives us entrance into the Father's Family. This favor gives us opportunity to communicate with the Father without human mediation. This favor allows for the generous flow of heaven's resources into our lives. This favor allows us to enjoy the Father's blessings without the a requirement to earn them. This favor provides for us an eternal abode with the Father for eternity. This favor opens all of the Kingdom's resources to us in order to carry out the Father's desire for a lost world. This favor allows us to be called the "children of God" on the basis of His love for us and our willingness to say yes to His open invitation.
what would life begin to look like if we began live under the principle that the favor of God is not man's favor? what if we as Christians begin to understand that God's favor doesn't just mean favor on our jobs, or ministries, families, music,etc? but what we realized that the favor of God is FIRST and FOREMOST access to Him. certainly He blesses us with finances, jobs, creative ideas, man's favor, and all of the earthly stuff we need and have--those things are apart of us having the abundant life that Christ promised we would have here on earth, but i don't think that those things are the pinacle of the favor of God. what i would suggest is that the favor God is about us having access to Him at any time, in any place, without having anything (say besides our sin) blocking our way to Him. and even in a place of sin the love of God can bridge that gap for what does Scripture say, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
but i think that the Favor of God doesn't have so much to do with us gaining favor here on earth as it does us growing closer to Him. we can have failing business, ministries, families, etc and still have the favor of God. this is why i am blessed going in and going out, this is why i'm blessed in the field and city, this is why i'm blessed from one season to another -- because He's with me no matter what. because whether i'm in great prosperity or poverty, i've got access to Him. whether i'm the on the throne in the king's palace or in the cave of adellum with a group of rebels (see 1 samuel) He's with me. and this is the favor of God.
thus, God so valued this access, He so desired this ability to commune with us, He so wanted us to have this favor that He sent His Son. His desire for us equaled His desire for His Son.
the thought that really struck me was the concept that the favor that we walk with as son's and daughters of God is only equal to His love for Christ.
He favors us as much as He loves His Son. and this is what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about God providing this kind access to mankind, Christmas is not just about the gift of His Son - but in that, its a gift of not only salvation, but that of access.
i don't think that God simply had mankind gaining salvation in mind when He sent Jesus- because those living in the time of the Old Testament had that -- but God had intimacy in mind. He had this crazy thought that He could come to us so that we at any time could come to Him. this access -- this favor -- i think is what God was really after.
salvation came because of Jesus i know - "for God so loved the world that He sent His Son . . so that who would believe in Him would have eternal life." yes Christmas is about salvation -- but that only came through the giving of Jesus.
the Father so wanted us to have this salvation - so wanted access to us and us to have access to Him that He gave His Son.
God's desire for us equals His love for His Son. Jesus tells His disciples this, that the Father loves them just as much as He loves Jesus. and that they in turn will love the Father just as much as the Father loves Jesus.
what an incredible thought. the Father's desire for us to have this favor, this access, this love equals that of the love He has for His own Son.
what favor. what blessing. what an amazing God.