“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” – Luke 2:52
Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew in favor with God and man (ESV). So what exactly is favor? I think we are most familiar with the idea that favor is preferential treatment shown to somebody. It denotes acceptance, approval, and pleasure. We want to emulate Jesus by seeking favor with God and man.
What does it mean for me to find favor with God? God is not some shadowy, largely unknown being. He has revealed Himself completely and fully in the Person of Jesus Christ. If you want to have favor with God, be fully committed to His Son, Jesus Christ. Worship and revere Him, gain a heart like His, and display His characteristics in your life. Jesus prayed that we would have the kind of unity with our Heavenly Father and with one another that He had with His own Father. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:20-21). Just as Jesus shared intimacy with God, we can share that intimacy with God too, as we love Him like Jesus did – with all our heart, mind, soul and strength: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:30).
Finding favor with God enables you to find favor with man. If we treat people the way we desire them to treat us, we will walk in favor with men. If we respect people and keep an eye out for the welfare of others, people will do the same for us. Proverbs 3:3-4 tells us, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.”
One way to find favor with God and man is to serve others. Servitude is not a glamorous concept. Who in their right mind would sign up for a life of servitude? Yet God knows how service to others will bless us as well as the community around us. Service is a great way to how we are connected, even indebted, to others. None of us became the people we are alone, but by the sacrifice and investment of many others from our earliest years. Serving others not only reveals the bonds between us; it reflects the love of God. When we notice service to us, and when we serve others, we experience God’s grace. It points people to Christ. Jesus emptied Himself for us, though we deserved nothing. His example calls us to “…submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21). In our “me-first” culture, God calls us to put others first.
- Are there ways that we wrongly make serving only about ourselves?
- How can serving others remind you of your status with Jesus?
- What are practical ways you can serve in your everyday life?