I recently read someone’s response to favor – they weren’t real happy with the idea, because to them it meant that God “plays favorites”. In other words, God unfairly likes some more than others.
While, favor doesn’t really emcompass fairness, I do believe that some people receive more favor in one area while others are favored in another. But all in all, God loves each and everyone of us. He gives us unmerited, unearned favor – despite what we’ve done, despite our imperfections, He still chooses ‘to look kindly upon’ us.
But what exactly is favor?
According to the OED, favor means:
‘to look kindly upon’
‘to be inclined to have a liking or preference for’
‘to treat with partiality’
‘to aid, support’
‘to ease, save, spare’
‘to resemble in face or features; have the look of’
I’m particularly drawn to the third definition, “to approve.” In other words, if you are favored, you are also approved; you are living by the standards He has set for us. Those standards were summed up in the commands to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40) It doesn’t mean you are perfect, but at least working and striving.
All of the above OED definitions clearly are markers of what it means to be a true Christian. If you have been saved (‘to spare, to ease, to save’), you are Highly Favored. It doesn’t mean one Christian is better or more favored than another. If you are a true Christian, you are Highly Favored.
If you are favored you will also “resemble in face or features” of Jesus. Others should be able to recognize your Christian attributes, or your Christlikeness. The Similtudes (Matthew 5:13-16) provide a good picture of what it means to demonstrate “similar” qualities. Your light should shine so brightly that unbelievers will be inspired to inquire. They’ll know from the way you treat them with continual love and kindness, that there’s something special about you.