WEEK 3, DAY 18: FAVOR
Scripture Reference: Luke 2:41-52
Favor with God
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) That sentence is the only record the scriptures give us of the 18 years of Jesus’ life between the temple and the beginning of His ministry at age 30.
What is favor? The biblical word translated as favor is actually the word “charis” which means a gift of grace, to bring joy and pleasure. So, when the scriptures say that Jesus grew in “favor with God” it means God took great joy and pleasure in Him. “Favor with God” also involves the process of the loving Father in heaven exerting His holy influence to increase His character and virtues in Jesus.
God works the same process in us. Through the Holy Spirt God placed His character within each of us. God’s spiritual DNA, the very character of God, known as the fruit of the Spirit, is in us. As we submit to God, Holy Spirit is making us more like Christ every moment of every day. The result?
Favor with Man
We see this process worked out through the life of Christ Himself. Jesus began His ministry by proclaiming that He had come “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:19) God’s grace formed in Jesus and the result was the passing of God’s grace from Jesus to others.
For us, this happens through living in submission and faith in Christ. In Acts after the day of Pentecost it says that the early church praised God “and had favor with all the people.” (Acts 2:47) Translated: The early church brought joy and pleasure to all the people.
Somewhere in the course of history Christians stopped being well-known for dispensing God’s grace. Instead, we’ve become known for dispensing judgement and condemnation. We’ve replaced liberty in Christ with rules and restrictions. As a result, “favor with man” diminished. “Joy” and “pleasure” are not exactly the words that come to my mind when many in the world think of Christians. Is this God’s plan?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) God’s Spirit is in us to spill out through our actions and words to others.
What does that look like?
It looks like light in a dark world. Hope in the midst of hopelessness. Love in a culture of hate and intolerance. Joy on a planet where depression and distress are epidemic. Peace among a people who are increasingly anxious and hostile. This is the calling of Christ-followers and it will bring “favor with man.” It will also raise the ire of the enemy.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)
May we all grow in “favor with God and man” and bring joy to God and all who encounter us today!
— Kenneth Grizzell, Greenwood Park church of Christ
TAKE TIME TO CONTEMPLATE
- What keeps me from displaying the “fruit of the Spirit” in my life?
- What would it look like if I allowed and displayed the “fruit of the Spirt” in my conversations and actions?
Lord, increase our faith so that we will be untouched by darkness and dispense the light in this world. Lord, we offer ourselves to You. And ask that you would unleash Your Holy Spirit in our lives. So that we canbring hope, love, joy, peace to this hopeless, angry, hostile, intolerant, anxious, distressed world. Holy God give us what we need to stay strong when the wrath of the enemy comes against us. In the powerful Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.