I’ve prayed for favor for myself, for my family, and for friends…when going for a job interview, making an offer on a house, when going into a meeting to present a proposal and many other reasons.
According to dictionary.com favor means an attitude of approval or liking. But what does it mean to have God’s favor? Is that different? Can I earn it?
“Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For he who finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 8:34-35
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4
I don’t think I was ever the teacher’s pet. Mainly because I really didn’t try to be the best student or the sweetest girl in class and I certainly wasn’t the smartest one. To be honest, I really never gave my teacher a reason to treat me with favor. I never earned favor. My attitude was there was too much fun to be had to focus on doing the work required to earn favor with the teacher.
But…I grew up. I learned to like the feeling of earned favor. It’s nice to be the best in the group and have others praise. I have also been guilty of trying to earn favor….SO people would like me. I’ve tried to do this for God too. I have tried to DO enough so God would like me; to earn favor with Him.
There was a time when I thought that I had to do things to earn God’s approval. I served in the nursery, taught Sunday School, helped with the children’s choir and was the director for Vacation Bible School…all at the same time. My attitude was that I needed to DO more for God than others so that God would like me more. Like being the teacher’s pet.
I realized that all the doing made me tired and frustrated. After a few years I would drift away from DOing so much at the church. That would make me feel guilty and after a season I would get involved again because I longed to feel like God loved me…that He saw ALL that I was doing for Him. I wanted Him to be proud of me. This became the pattern of my life. My life looked somewhat like a sprint runner. Work real hard. Sit down. Work real hard. Sit down. It was exhausting when I was trying to DO enough to please God and it was self defeating when I wasn’t doing.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15
I had the comma in the wrong place! I read this verse to say, IF you love me you WILL keep my commandments! It was all works based.
I remember the first time I realized the importance of the comma. It’s not IF you love me then you will keep my commandments. The comma changes the meaning. The true meaning is simply Love Me and it will be easy to keep My commandments. Love Me and it won’t be ‘have to’ but it changes. Love me and it becomes ‘get to.’ I no longer had to earn God’s love. He already loves ME! There is nothing I can do to earn it. There is nothing I can do to stop Him from loving me either. Do or don’t do…He loves me.
I spent the next season of my life focused on loving Him and accepting His unconditional love for me. This one comma has changed my life! I learned to get on the other side of the comma and serve because I love Him and NOT because I want Him to love me.
I already have Favor! And so do you! ~ Cindy
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Cindy Willingham is a wife, mother, empty nester and natural encourager. She enjoys writing, working in her garden, taking day trips and talking with friends over coffee. She has a heart for women’s ministry and prayer. To learn more about Cindy click here.