“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52
What a thought–Jesus growing in favor with God. Did he not already have that from the beginning? Where does favor come from and what does it mean?
I do not think you can take favor away from the idea of relationship. To favor someone is to trust them—to trust their judgment, to trust their character, and most importantly, to trust them with the things you regard as important.
Let’s take a parental look at favor. I have three children, all of whom I love very much. Whether they obey me, are nice, or make good choices or not, I will always love them. However, if one of my children was trustworthy in what I believed was right, made consistently good choices, and cared about what was on my heart—they would find special favor. They might not necessarily find more love. But I could trust them to walk out their lives confident that their choices would be good for them, our family, and others. I could trust them with things of value to me like passwords, keys, maybe eventually bank accounts when I grow very old.
The more I could see their heart was for me and that they had wisdom in these different areas, the more they would have access to my sacred things and have more influence over me. Also, as I trusted them more, they could ask for bigger and bigger things, and I would say “yes” more to these requests because I could trust they would not misuse it.
So, as Jesus grew, he must have proved to God his trustworthiness in human form over the things on God’s heart. And God gave him more influence.
If Jesus needed God’s favor, shouldn’t we seek this as well? If we have the heart after God our father, wouldn’t we show ourselves trustworthy? Might he consider our prayers more heavily?
My older son had been asking for his own computer for a long while. As we considered this request, our answer had been “No.”. Why? It was because of his disobedience at that time in a related area. We did not trust him to handle this freedom of having his own computer because he had not yet shown value for our hearts in this, nor had he shown us self-control. Would we ever consider saying “Yes”? We would if we could trust what he would do.
When we pray for thing and ask for things from the Lord, why would he listen and grant our request if we would be untrustworthy with it, or if we did not have his heart in the matter? This is just something to consider. If we were obedient to all that mattered to him, would we find a place of more influence over his heart?
Certainly we would find ourselves in a place to receive greater responsibilities and gifts. Jesus’ mother Mary found favor with God—enough that he entrusted his Son, the Savior of the world to her care. King David, a man after God’s own heart received kingship over God’s people and a promise that his line would always have a king on the throne. But just having a heart after our heavenly Father or an earthly parent doesn’t automatically mean our requests are granted.
Even if my 2 ½ year old son had my heart for things and was trustworthy and obedient, I still would not give him the keys for my car and let him try to drive it. He has asked me and he has the desire…what is missing? Wisdom and skill (and legality, too). He doesn’t yet have the wisdom and experience to safely use the car even though he might be the most obedient son in the world…which he is not, yet!
“For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and receives favor from the LORD” Psalm 8:35 NIV
Along with having God’s heart and being obedient, our wisdom also helps to bring us into the LORD’s favor. It is interesting to look back at the Luke 2:51-52 verses about the boy Jesus growing in favor with God and man. It connects his obedience to Mary and Joseph after they found him in the temple with growing in wisdom and stature and favor with the LORD.
Let us take Jesus’ example and be children after God’s heart. Let us grow in wisdom so we can be trusted with the “valuable things” of God. Let’s be obedient to his commands so he can trust our actions and see our love for him. Lord, may we find favor with You.