By Doug Mamvura
It is interesting to note that the first thirty years of Jesus’ life are condensed in only two verses.
In the two scripture verses about Jesus’ early life, God chose to emphasise the importance of favour; “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
To warrant a mention in these two verses growing in favour must have been one of the most important developments in the Saviour’s young life.
Since Jesus is our example, growing in favour must be extremely important in our lives. We also need to discover what the favour of God is, understand that it is freely given to us, and learn how to grow in it and realize its full effects. Once we do this, our lives will be changed dramatically.
Jesus knew how to unleash the force of favour. His life is the most powerful example we have of God’s favour being fully released in someone’s life. He came “full of Grace and Truth”. Grace is unmerited favour.
We have others in scripture who also operated within favour’s mighty force. Noah found favour with God and saved himself and his family from the flood. Moses found favour with God and led God’s people, the Israelites, as they followed God’s presence to freedom.
Joseph found favour with both God and men. He ended up being the Prime Minister of Egypt after having gone through a traumatic experience in his life.
Ruth traveled with favour (her mother-in-law’s name, Naomi, literally meant “the favour of God”), and she became the great-grandmother of King David. Nehemiah found favour with the Persian king and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. King David was so highly favoured that he was called a man after God’s own heart, and from his lineage came the Messiah.
Mary found favour with God and she became the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many other examples of people we see in the Word of God who experienced His favour.
What is this “favour” that was so important in their lives and that we so greatly need to experience in our own? One definition of the word favor is “the friendly disposition from which kindly acts proceed; to assist; to provide with special advantages; to receive preferential treatment.” We all like it when kindness, assistance, special privileges and preferential treatment are directed our way! These privileges are unmerited when they come through favour.
That is the favourable disposition God has toward each of us. The Creator of the universe Himself desires for us to enjoy this kind of relationship with Him. He loves us: “If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (Romans 8:32, Message Bible).
God wants to bless us, assist us and give us preferential treatment and special advantages in life. Not only that, but when we are fully enjoying God’s favor, He also increases our favor with other people: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
As believers we are highly favoured. “But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2: 4 -9).
This is why I love the message of grace because it clearly demonstrates the unmerited favour we have from our Father in heaven.
Favour makes a tremendous difference in life. When we begin to walk in higher degrees or levels of favour, we experience a flood of blessings. It is very interesting to know that this favour can be “multiplied”. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2). Therefore, if you want more favour in your life, you have to grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. In other words, you need to have an intimate relationship with God.
God protects us, opens doors for us that otherwise would be shut, pours out financial increase, gives us health and healing, helps us find new ways to bless others and kindly disposes other people toward us because of His love for us.
As a result, people are stirred to give us preferential treatment, promote us and help us succeed. Every area of our lives will be changed as we allow favour to be released in our lives. And it is possible for us to grow in this favour with both God and men, as Jesus did. We first need to realize, though, that favour is not automatic. We need to take action to see its full force unleashed. As we have already seen from Apostle Peter, we can grow in this grace which is unmerited favour through the knowledge of our Father or through having an intimate relationship with Him.
The force of God’s favour works the same way as electricity. The electrical system wired throughout a home surrounds the owner all the time, but the owner must flip a switch to release its power. God’s favour surrounds us all the time, too: “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12,).
But even though we are surrounded by favour, some of us are not yet walking in all the favour God has for us because we have neglected to make the connection or hit the switch to release it. When we actively apply what the Bible teaches us about God’s favour, we hit the “favour switch” and enable the full force of God’s favour to powerfully affect our lives. I could walk into my home every day of the week and never turn on a light. All that electrical force would still surround me, but I would not benefit from its power.
My lights are not automatic. Even when they are working perfectly, I still have to hit a switch to turn them on. Neither is the full force of God’s favour automatic. And just as there are different voltage levels of electrical force, there are different levels of favour. You can live your whole Christian life surrounded by supernatural favour but never hit the switch to experience the full force of its power. You may experience the beginning of favour—knowing you are saved by God’s grace. That is amazing in itself, but it is not by any means all the favour God has in store for you. When the full force of God’s favour is unleashed in your life, you will recognise what a difference it makes. But it does not strike by chance. You have to know and this is why Apostle Paul talks about the fact that “I don’t want you to be ignorant brethren”. God says my people perish because of lack of knowledge. You can multiply this grace or favour through your knowledge of Him.
I am challenged by Apostle Paul, who despite the fact that he wrote more than half the new testament still says “I want to know Him more and the power of His resurrection…”
There are choices you make that position you to fully benefit from favour’s awesome power. You can align yourself with the flow of favour by discovering what God says about it in His Word. You can take specific steps to walk in agreement with God’s Word about favour and exercise your faith for it. First, expect God’s favour simply because He loves His children. Then believe that He means to bless you personally with favour. Next, confess by faith that He is releasing favour into your life.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: email@example.com or Twitter @dougmamvura