I recall a Christmas when I was about 10 years old when I did not receive the gifts that I wanted or expected. I was vocal in expressing my displeasure to the dismay of my parents. I was neither pleasant nor civil with my disrespect and ungratefulness. I was immature and did not appreciate all of the blessings and advantages that were mine, but today it reminds me of Christians who are begging and even demanding favor from God. They do not realize how much favor they already possess.
I believe without a doubt God blesses and bestows favor upon his people and he wants to continue to do so, but recently I have been inundated with magazine articles and sermons pushing formulas for gaining favor with God. What is missing however, is the understanding that the greatest favor that we could possibly have is that we are his children. “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 (NLT). Even if we never received another promotion, financial windfall or any other blessing, we should consider ourselves favored because he loves us and calls us his children. Before we even think about asking for more favor we would do well to consider the favor that we already have in our lives. Anything beyond this should be considered minor compared to being children of God.
While we are on the topic of favor, let us examine our motivation when we return our tithes and give our offerings to God. Do we give only because we believe that there is a connection between giving and getting from God? Or do we give because we see the great privilege that we have in being brought in as a member of God’s family? Does God bless us only because we give an offering or does he bless us because he sees us as children who are grateful to be called his own? There are those who teach that the giving of tithes and offerings is the causation for blessing when it is really only the correlation and the real causation for blessing is that God responds to people who are grateful for what he has already done for them and are not compelled to continually ask for more.
Without a doubt, God blesses and favors us in so many ways, but before we ask for more, let us take a moment and meditate upon all the ways that he is showing us his blessing and favor. It is one thing to behave like a spoiled and ungrateful child when young, but as we mature we are to put away childish things. A parent is most delighted when their children delight in them rather than in the things that they give them and so is God. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
Do you want favor? Do not seek after favor, but instead seek after the one who loves you and gave you life and you will discover greater blessing and favor than you could possibly imagine. I recall these words from a song by the late Keith Green "Asleep in the Light:"
"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it's all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can't you see it's such a sin?
We would do well to remember the words of the song that says “Count your blessings, Name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” True favor surpasses any material blessing. “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)