"For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:12
How does one find this favor in the first place?
I did a quick word search in the NIV translation- do you know that the word favor shows up a lot in the Bible? Most often, it's used in a sentence along these lines "If I find favor in your eyes..." and it is used when talking to God, and when talking to kings and royalty. Esther used it when addressing the king.
I have a running commentary with some of the people at church. We argue playfully about each other being God's favorite, but I think that what we're really doing when we do that is trying to build up our faith to believe that we really could be favored of the Lord. Really? Plain old me? I yelled at my kids this morning because they weren't moving fast enough for me- how could I be God's favorite?
I shared the verse above this morning with someone who is going through a bit of a rough patch and is at a point where they can see the potential end, they just need God's favor to clear the path a bit as they make their way from point a to point b. Then I went looking about to see if there are a few secrets or hints in the Bible as to how to become favored of the Lord. And I found a few verses.
"He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state." Job 33:16
"Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard." Proverbs 13:15
In Job we see that praying to God is a way to find favor, and in Proverbs we see that good understanding wins favor. Where do we get good understanding? Well, that comes from the precious Word of God. And it comes from the Spirit, who breathes life into us.
"But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding." Job 32:8
So as I look at these verses, and read other verses that talk about favor, it seems to me that finding favor with God is not as difficult as it would seem. There aren't great works and deeds to be done. There isn't missionary work to undertake or alms to give. Although these are all good things in the eyes of the Lord, seeking and finding his favor is something that is done when we purpose to draw closer to Him in the first place. When we spend time in prayer with Him. When we spend time reading His Word, and when we spend that quiet time, just us and God.
Favor of the Lord is not some magical unattainable thing that we have to work our entire life to get a glimpse of. It's something that simply is. When we spend time with God, His favor starts to surround us and permeate us and it makes our paths smooth and silky. This verse has been on my mind as of late:
"when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil" Job 29:6
Just picture a path of cream, smooth sailing all the way. And it, too, can be ours, simply by spending time with Him. As we strive to spend more time with Him, He strives to spend more time with us, and that results in great favor. He makes our paths easier so that we can find more of that precious alone time with Him. Think about that- He makes our days go by easier for us, gives us extra pockets of time, so that we can take that extra time and spend it in His Word, or on our knees talking to Him, or hiding away in our quiet place for some one-on-one time. That thought is just so cool to me.
Favor is not unattainable. Favor is ours for the taking, He wants us to want that favor, because that means that we want Him. More than anything, we just want more of Him, and with that will come the favor. Favor is for anyone and everyone who desires it- and that makes us all His favorite one.