“Receiving Favor” by Allowing Jesus to Love You

When I think of favor, I remember as a child my Dad would ask me if I would do a favor for Him. I was always glad to do a favor for my Dad. Why? Because if he asked me to do something for him, it meant he trusted me. It means he felt whatever the task was he wanted me to do, I would be able to do it because he must believe in me. He must feel that I am ready. I was honored to be asked.

As I grew older I felt what he would ask me to do a favor for him, I was beginning to think he is asking is something he could do himself. But actually, I believe God was teaching me all about favor: God-centered favor, or worldly favor, and obedience. As I got older, I got more defiant and would tell my dad, “Why don’t you do it yourself?” but then I would always do what he asked me. I would do it because I also feared my dad. Not so sure about the love.

My wife had a beautiful revelation this past week. When she was praying, God told her she does not have to call him God, but she can call him Dad. To those who do not know Him, He is called God — but to her he is Dad or Father. Lines right up with the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, “Our Father…who is in Heaven…Holy is your name.

God tells us over and over to fear not for He is with us. For the believer, the fear of the Lord is to “worship the Lord with all your hear,t soul and strength.”

God loves us, and the favor He has for us is so different from the world’s idea of favor. The world’s way of favor always has strings attached: “You owe me.”

The word “grace” is not a verb but a noun, and this noun is a person, Jesus. Jesus is grace, and grace means God’s favor for the believer. Undeserved favor. The difference between our father on earth and our heavenly father is when God asks us to do something, he will also provide everything you need to accomplish the mission. Favor from God is through Jesus. God’s favor is grace and He gives us an undeserved supply. We deserve death, but Jesus took that punishment for us.

Jesus came — grace, love, favor — not for you to be afraid of Him, but to come to Him, to allow Him to love you so that you might love Him.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord… (2 Peter 1:2)

Listen to this verse in the amplified:

May Grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in ( the full, personal, precise, and correct) knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

The more you know and see and hear Jesus, unmerited favor of God will flow out of every area of your life. Right believing will produce right living. His favor will become evident in your marriage, work, finances, etc.

God’s unmerited favor is the Gospel of Grace: Jesus. Grace or favor is not a doctrine or belief or verb. Grace is a noun, and His name is JESUS!!!

Favor makes us like Jesus. Favor is a revelation with joy… Favor is life… Favor means God is with you…  Grace means undeserved Favor from God… Grace means favor to the unworthy.

The law is right doing. Grace is right believing.  If you live under law you are demanding. If you live under grace you see God supply your needs. Under grace, God will never ask something of you without supplying you with what you need.  Jesus told His disciples this before he returned to Heaven:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-6)

Acts 1:8 tells us…

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

By being baptized in the Holy Spirit one receives power to overcome the world with power. God’s favor, God’s grace, comes with power. It all comes from Him!

We all want to have God’s favor, His Grace. Who doesn’t want to receive God’s best? We receive His grace and favor the moment we begin to follow and believe in Christ.

We need to expect and enjoy God’s unmerited favor. The man, Jesus – 100 percent man, 100 percent God – became sin on the cross that we might receive His righteousness. Christ gives us right standing with God. Undeserved favor. You do not work for righteousness. You do not earn righteousness. You don’t earn grace.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:7-9)

We all receive the same amount of righteousness.

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21-6:1)

Righteousness is not a list of things you have to do. If that were true, we would feel like failures all the time. If your thinking is like that, you will often feel unrighteous. Look at this scripture one more time:

 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21-6:1)

It does not say we become righteous because we do right. No — it says we become righteous because of what Jesus did for us at the cross. Therefore, righteousness is not based on our right doing, but on the right doing of Jesus.

We seem to think that if we feed the poor, help the widow, do good for the broken, we become more righteous. That sounds great! But God never justified your righteousness by your deeds. God loves you, yes, but you are justified (made righteous) by the tremendous sacrifice His only Son made on the cross for us. Only Jesus makes your righteousness possible.

Listen to this wonderful scripture. Paul writes:

21 I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Gal 2:21)

Here is what Paul is saying: If you are counting on your good works to become righteous, then Jesus died for nothing.

I watched the Passion of the Christ. And it’s more than a movie, all the suffering Jesus did for us on the cross. Hit, slapped, spit on, cursed, whipped raw, flesh exposed, bones exposed, beard torn out, crown of thorns pressed into his head, carrying a raw cut cross to a hill, nailed in the hands and feet and raised onto this cross to suffocate and die. We never killed Jesus – He laid his life down for us so that we could receive His righteousness.

Jesus paid for your righteousness only with His Blood.

Jesus became sin. He Who did not know sin, He Who had never sinned, took our sins – for the past, for the present, for the future. He took your sins and my sins, and in place of your sins, He gave you and me righteousness…undeserved favor…grace!

6 And if by grace, (unmerited favor) then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace (unmerited favor) is no longer grace (unmerited favor). But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (Rom 11:6)

You are either dependent on Jesus of you are dependent on yourself.

His incredible grace will come through for you even at times when you never deserve it. Even when you blow it or fail in your walk. You never deserved it in the first place. It’s a gift. His grace is always sufficient for me. He forgives me my sins.

Paul tells us that all of his righteous deeds under the law are nothing but filthy rags next to the righteousness of Christ.

8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, 9 and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith-counting on Christ alone. (Phil 3:7-10)

It is only because of the righteousness of Christ that we are entitled to His unmerited favor. God loves you!

Allowing Jesus to Be the Light at the Center of Your Life

What is the most important thing in your life? What is at the center? Is it your spouse? Your job? Your recreational activities? Your electronics and gadgets? Or is it Jesus Christ?

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light… (Ephesians 5:8)

Have you invited Jesus into the center of your life? If not, what are you holding onto? Until He is the center of your life, providing light to all areas of your life, there will be dark areas in your life. Sometimes it is when our lives seem darkest that we are most able to experience God’s light. When Jesus is the center of your life, darkness is dispelled.

Sometimes Christians go through difficult times. Jesus said these things would happen. But He also said He loves us. He wants to be the center of our lives so that no matter what is happening to us, we are filled with His light, and others can come to His light. John testifies to Jesus, the Word and Light of God:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
4 Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1)

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The Light is the truth, the Word of God – Jesus. Satan wants us to stay in darkness, but Jesus wants to deliver us. If you have dark areas of your life, you will always justify what you’re doing to make it seem ok. But if Jesus is at the center of your life,

Right believing will cause you to live right. If you believe wrong, you won’t see the things in your life you’re hoping for. If you were a tree, what fruit would you bear? Good or bad?

Right believing requires trust in Jesus. Right understanding starts with hearing the Word. You don’t do a bunch of things to get holy. Rather, as you hear the truth, your beliefs will change, and produce right living.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths. (Proverbs 3)

Are you living with a fear? God is greater than ANY sin. He is greater than ANY problem or emotional burden you struggle with. If you’re afraid, that is a dark area where the Light is required. Make Him the center of your life, and He will be able to bring Light into these areas of your life.

There was a man named John
who was sent from God.
He came as a witness
to testify about the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but he came to testify about the light.
9 The true light, who gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world. (John 1)

Do you carry a burden from your childhood? Placing Jesus at the center of your life will prevent you from walking the same painful path a parent walked. People will always let you down. Even a great friend, parent, or mentor will fail you at some point. But when Jesus is at the center of your life, He will not fail you.

The one who lives with integrity is righteous;
his children who come after him will be happy. (Proverbs 20:7)

“I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Let me experience
Your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in You.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I long for You. (Psalm 143:8)

How do we bring Light to others? By sharing Jesus. It isn’t fancy. Jesus Christ is all that is required. Can you pray for someone? Can you encourage them?

“The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands says: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2)

Contrast the church described above (the church of Ephesus) to this church of the Thessalonians:

We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing your election, brothers loved by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit, and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit. As a result, you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in God has gone out. Therefore, we don’t need to say anything, for they themselves report what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Faith, hope and love – these are the things of the Light. There is no magical formula, no preset actions you must go through.

For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.