I recently wrote about defining the favor of God, and I defined it as enjoying the undeserved kindness of God. I also said you can spot the favor of God when you see that He has sovereignly chosen to bless something or someone for the purpose of bringing Himself glory. His favor is never for our enjoyment alone – it is always intended to be shared with others.
In the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Gabriel comes to deliver the message that the Holy Spirit would conceive His Son in her virgin womb, and that He was to be called Jesus. Astounding! Impossible! After the angel explained that nothing is impossible with God, Mary reacts, and there’s a HUGE lesson in her response…
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
~ Luke 1:38 NLT
Did you catch that? Mary was humble and highly favored as a recipient of God’s gracious gift. But she was also confident and even enthusiastic about what God wanted to do in her life. This is a point at which I see a significant divergence in Mary’s attitude and the average believer today.
We’re afraid of being confident before God. We’re afraid of being enthusiastic about what He wants to do. Why?
- People will think I’m prideful.
- I’ve failed God too much.
- I’m not worthy of His using me.
- Somebody else is better equipped.
And on go our lists of excuses. Most center around a false understanding of why He values us. God doesn’t assign value to us on the basis of our past performance but rather on the purchase of our lives made by Jesus on the cross. Because we are redeemed, He wants to use us to change the world. And our other excuses tend to revolve around what other people will think.
Mary, on the other hand, teaches us a different lesson. She replies to Gabriel, “May everything you have said about me come true!” In other words, “I want it! I want it all! Use me to the fullest extent possible, God, because that’s why I’m here to begin with! I’m yours!
It isn’t a prideful or arrogant thing to desire the favor of God on our lives. Instead, it’s a recognition of God’s eternal purposes for me, and it’s also a recognition that God is big and powerful enough to use even me. And it’s also a matter of submission to a God who has sovereignly chosen to use redeemed, imperfect people to accomplish His greatest missions.
Enjoying the favor of God shouldn’t be about wanting more stuff or striving for mere personal comfort and pleasure. Instead, it should be about accepting our assigned role in His kingdom work.
If you’re refusing to accept the benefit of God’s favor out of a false sense of humility, get over yourself (false humility is really self-centered pride anyway), stop holding up the mission, and receive the assigned blessing God has for you so that He can be all the more glorified in your life.
This is an imperative… enjoy the favor of God for His name’s sake!
Photo by abstract duck