Hey God! Can you do me a Favor?

10:01 AMHeather

You know how when you look at a word long enough it doesn't seem right?  It starts looking funny and misspelled and makes no sense?  Um, yeah, so we've been looking at the word favor for a couple of weeks now, and it just looks funny to me.  

In case you are just joining us, let me get you up to speed.  My word for 2012 is grace.  And, when I looked up grace in my Bible dictionary, I saw that favor was the word first used in the Old Testament denoting grace.  I think of it as a precursor.  Thus this exploration and investigation into the word favor in the Bible.  But, favor--it just seems funny now?  All day yesterday, I kept thinking, "so what does favor even REALLY mean?  What exactly am I looking at here?"

So, this morning I checked out the definition of the word "favor" on www.dictionary.com.  And, I have to say--I think it brings a lot of meaning to our little journey into favor.  So, today--back to basics.  We're going back to the beginning to reground ourselves into this study of favor.

Here is the first definition for favor:
something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for renumeration; a kind act

The logical part of me was kicking myself for going back to the definition of the word 2 weeks into the study of said word.  But, God is bigger.  Because this definition will come into play BIG TIME for the passage we'll study next week.  You'll just have to wait for that one.  

A kind act.  Goodwill.  Not because it's owed or due you.  Just because of someone else's goodness.  Wow.  That's a pretty awesome description of our God.  He is kind.  He has goodwill toward YOU.  He doesn't owe you a thing.  His "favor" isn't due you.  Sometimes, I admit, I get my thinking all mixed up and I somehow feel that God owes it to me.  But, I couldn't be more wrong.  Come on--you know you're with me--you go through a rough trial or even just a rough morning getting kids to school.  You tend to think--"Come on, God.  Cut me some slack here."  As if he owed it to you.  Stinking thinking because he doesn't owe us a thing.  

And, speaking of God's goodwill and kindness, He literally just gave me a real life example of this definition.  Not cause He had to--but just because He can.  As I was blogging, my plumber arrived to fix a problem.  Again.  Not a good thing to call your plumber and he can recite your address from memory.  But, good ole Mark took care of it quickly.  When I asked how much I owed him, he said I owed him nothing.  He chuckled and said no problem, we've certainly been good customers.  See?!  I was indebted to him.  I owed HIM.  But, he showed me this particular brand of favor.  Just being kind.

Seriously, if we truly focus our thinking on His favor, we can see lots of times when God is just plain kind to us.  Not because He has to be or He owes us.  But just because He's good.  Oh, we can choose to think of all the things that go wrong and see that as some personal affront--as if we are owed something better.  Or, we can realize the debt we owe Him and have eyes to see His goodness.  Like a great parking spot.  Or a bill that was less than you expected--like a free plumber visit.  Or, children who thank you for cooking dinner.  Just meditate on this verse and be convicted.  Don't ignore His goodness and thus show contempt for it.  Look for it--and be changed by it.

4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 
Romans 2:4 

That feels like a blog post in and of itself, but wait!  There's MORE!  

The second definition of favor is:
friendly or well-disposed regard, good will

You see, God is friendly toward us.  God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.  It's His very nature, it's who He is.  It never changes.  He is not out to get us, He is not angry and vengeful, He doesn't keep score, and He isn't waiting to pour wrath upon us.  

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23:6

His just plain goodwill is like a stalker.  It follows us all the days of our life!  Ah, yeah.  That's a friendly God alright who sends his only Son so that we may fellowship with Him forever in heaven!
On to the third definition of favor:
the state of being approved or held in regard 

This one trips me up, I gotta say honestly.  If rejection or abandonment have been strongholds for you--you might relate here.  Approval?  I crave it.  Long for it.  Get tied up in knots for it.  Even if you don't have more issues than Time magazine when it comes to approval, everyone wants to be held in regard.  Here's some good news for you!  

 1 See what great love the Father has 
lavished on us, that we should be called 
children of God! And that is what we are! 
1 John 3:1
When we adopted our doggie a few months ago, we chose him out of all the sad little puppies.  We wanted to bring him home--give him a forever home--and love him and pet him and make him our very own.  HELLO!  The Almighty God of the entire Universe says, "Oh, SHE is mine!  Yep, I want [fill in your name] to be MINE.  I will love her, give her a home, call her my very own, no matter what.  That one--SHE is mine."  Talk about approval and high regard.  Lord, I do believe!  Help my unbelief on this one!

Numero cuatro for definitions of favor:
excessive kindness or unfair partiality, preferential treatment
As a mom of three darlings, I am often accused of preferential treatment.  "MOM!  How come HE gets to stay up later?!  NO FAIR!"  I learned a super great response from a Love and Logic speaker at MOPS.  I turn to the accuser and say, "Because I love him more."  Then they just roll their eyes because they know it's not true.  

But guess what?  It is true when it comes to you and God.  He is partial to you!  He is excessively kind to his children.  And he gives each one of his children unfair partiality and some pretty VIP preferential treatment.  Just because we are HIS.

6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. 
The LORD your God has chosen you out of 
all the peoples on the face of the earth 
to be his people, his treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 7:6
It might be hard to understand in our limited human thinking--but all of His children are God's treasured possession.  His love is so much more vast than ours.  Everyone of us are HIS very favorite.  There's plenty to go around.  He looks down, smiling at you and says, "OH, that one!  SHE is my favorite!"  And he has more than enough love to say the same thing of every one of us.  Pretty awesome!

I feel as though I am being more long winded than the preacher who performed my wedding ceremony, but you have stuck with me!  I just couldn't leave anything out or leave you hanging part way.  So, as your reward, here is the last definition of favor.
a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc--as formerly upon a knight by his lady

I know I may just ruin my chances of getting into heaven with this statement, but I have not yet read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I hope that confession doesn't change your opinion of me. But, from what I've heard of this book--that is exactly what I think this definition sums up.  Every day, God bestows gift upon gift upon gift on us--just as a token of his goodwill.  And, we must train ourselves to see them.  I alluded to this a few paragraphs above.  But, it bears repeating.  We must train our eye to these gifts, for they quicken our hearts to the unseen goodness and kindness of a Father who is simply crazy about you.   For me today, He didn't have to waken my daughter early to have her clean the counters "just because she wanted to help Mommy."  Nope.  He did that just because He could.  He didn't have to have that plumber available within minutes to fix our toilet free of charge.  Again--just because He could.  And, time for me to sit and meditate and blog and share instead of rushing off to work?  Yep, the privilege of staying home--just because He could.  All those just because He coulds in your day?  It's all just because He loves us so.  It's a favor He grants us.

Glimpse of grace: This year long journey into grace looks to be pretty amazing.  In two weeks, I feel we've just scooped a bucketful of water from the ocean of revelations about our God when it comes to grace.  We're just beginning to scrape the surface of favor, which is just one step toward grace.  I hope you agree with me that the riches of this exploration could be--should be--life changing.  May it change your attitude, your day, your heart to consider what FAVOR really means.  And, instead of calling out, "Hey God, can you do me a favor?"  May we instead be humbled to gratitude for all the amazing ways He chooses to pour out His kind, good, friendly, preferential gift of love on us throughout this day. Not because He has to do that.  But just because He can.

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