Tag Archives: obedience

The Importance of Favor

the-imprtance-of-favor

“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.

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The Limit

The Limit

Don’t you hate having to follow those drivers who drive at the speed limit?  Well, before I let you rant too much, I will confess that I have been one of “those” people.  (And, as I am already making confessions, IZUIZ, I am sorry for any anxiety I have cause you in the past month; yes, that slow blue S10 was me.)

Sometimes God gives me a season of teaching me something-and it is usually  disciplining me in something I do not particularly want to learn.  Does he do that to you, too?

Once he told me I could not lead worship for a year.  Despite knowing that, I several times tried to leverage myself into positions where I would be leading worship…what was I thinking?  Every time this happened that I would try to work things out for myself, I would lose my voice or sound horrible the week that I was supposed to lead worship, and I lost the confidence of anyone around me that I had any sort of singing voice.  There was a lesson in it–but I will save that for another day.

This year, I had a long commute to Milwaukee for my job, which took me down some particularly slow roads where few people followed the speed limit because they were posted particularly slow for what they seem they should be.  I felt I needed to discipline myself to actually follow the very slow speeds.  Most of the year, I slowed down to about five over the posted limit, but still had not actually gotten to the point of obeying the limit.

Usually, when I would see someone in my rear view, impatiently driving behind me, waiting for the first opportunity to pass me by when the lines went from solid to dashed, I would speed up to accommodate them.  I knew this was really just trying to please people.  If I couldn’t even follow the speed limit because of fear of displeasing someone I didn’t even know in a car behind me, how could I possibly obey God in anything without being turned away by those who wanted me to do something else?

Not long ago, I decided I had to take the plunge and actually just go the speed limit all the way to work, no matter how many frustrated people were forced to follow me in this endeavor.  Only a couple of miles into the drive, I had a line of cars behind me, already impatient.  I fought to the resist the temptation of going just a little faster.  I couldn’t look in the rear view mirror or my resolve would crumble.  I turned up my worship music and just looked ahead.

Finally, the burgundy PT Cruiser behind me got so impatient that he didn’t even wait–he passed by me in a no passing zone.  I didn’t look over to see “the glare”–you know the one; I kept my eyes on my small goal for today.  He sped ahead of me, as if to brag of his freedom in having passed by my constraint.  He got quite far beyond me, but ironically, I caught up with him at the next stop light, where he had to wait quite some time.  I imagine if he saw me, he was not happy to see that I was right behind him.

Even more amusing was the fact that this happened for seven miles of our journey, until he turned off the road to pursue his destination.  he was always caught at the stoplight, and I was always pulling up behind.

Now, this is no amazing event, but as is the case when God is teaching us, and we finally try to listen, He has something important to say.  I know my weakness is to please people around me, which frequently leads to some sort of compromise.  The Lord told me through this car ride, that though someone may try to achieve something by going outside of the Lord’s limits, and though I may look like I am taking the slow route and will never reach my destination for following the Lord’s limits; we will end up at the same destination, and I will have done so with a clear conscience and a clear record, when others do not.

And before you start thinking I am judging you for going over the speed limit, be assured I am only relaying my own lesson for the day and what the Lord was teaching me.  What has He been teaching you?

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