Have you ever needed a favour from someone and wished you had done more for that person so that now you would be in a better position to ask?
Have you ever asked for favour from God and wished the same thing?
The Old Testament indicates that the favour of God is earned somehow. In those times, under a previous covenant, the favour of God was usually reserved for those who meticulously obeyed the laws. Obedience was an indication of fear of God, and God gave favour to those who feared him. The word “fear” would be probably more accurately called “honour’ or “respect”, but the resulting obedience would be the same either way.
I needed Divine favour today and as I prayed I was plagued by the thought that I didn’t really deserve favour at all. And my hope started to wither.
Then I remembered that the law came through Moses but grace came through Jesus. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, it was not because he had done wrong, but because every man, woman, and child on the earth was carrying a heavy weight that they were born with. The connection to the life God intended for them had long been broken, and generations had lived as slaves to death.
But Jesus changed everything! Not just a good man who taught us how to live free, he bought freedom for us, by his death on the cross, and said, “Here, this is for you.”
That one day was the turning point of life on this earth, but most of us still live as if it didn’t happen.
“He bought us freedom? Freedom from what?” you might ask.
Freedom from everything you need freedom from, surely, and freedom from the need to work, bargain, or beg for his favour.
How difficult it is for us to accept that! How we want to deserve, to work for, whatever good comes our way. Our culture demands that of us, doesn’t it?
But undeserved favour is what I needed and that’s what he offered me today.
If you need favour, just take a deep breath and think about what Jesus really did for you. What could you possibly do that would put you in a better position than what he did for you? Think about all he freely offers just because you accepted what he did for you, and said to him, “You are Lord.”
If you don’t know what that is, find a Bible and open to the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You’ll find a lot there, and there’s still more in the various letters to different groups—the Romans and Corinthians, for example—wherever you see phrases like, “in Him, by Him, through Him”. All are yours by grace, through faith.
Sometimes, since we live in a broken world, the only way we can actually receive the favour given is to listen for his instructions. Get to know his voice, either in your heart or in the Bible, and follow it.
I described it once as like being in an undeveloped area on a dark night, with no stars and no moon to give light. Only broken trees, rocks and the sound of a creek. Then you hear voice say, “Go this way. Now over here. Not there; it’s dangerous. Right here.” That’s the way his favour often comes, or perhaps more accurately, how we walk in it.
Right now, just breathe and believe, and receive with thanksgiving.
And keep your heart and spiritual ears open.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).