Monday, January 28, 2013

FAVOR FOR A LIFETIME by Gary Wilkerson

Does God give favor, bless abundantly and lavish His grace on hungry, waiting hearts? The answer is yes—and we find this illustrated in the first chapter of Luke.

An angel appeared to Mary to announce the amazing events about to take place in her life: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:26-29, ESV, emphasis mine).

Bible scholars say Mary was very young, probably a teenager. Imagine how strange this encounter had to be for her. Here was a simple girl from an obscure village and family, and an angel stood before her: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus’” (Luke 1:30-31, ESV, emphasis mine).

Mary seemed uncertain about what she was hearing, which is easy to understand. Living in a male-dominated culture, she had little influence and probably few expectations for her life. She would have all the privileges of being a good wife and mother but nothing beyond.

A lot of us are like Mary. We would like to see our circumstances transformed. We want to see our sick relative healed. We long for our troubled child to find purpose in Christ or our tense marriage to be restored to its former joy. Like Mary, we think, “Lord, my life doesn’t reflect Your favor at all. I need You to bring Your light into it.” How would we feel if we heard a voice from heaven telling us, “You have God’s favor”?

Be encouraged! God is actually looking to favor you—especially if you will cry out with Mary: “Lord, I want to see You glorified in my life!”