When I first began my ministry, I was scared. In those days, women were not as widely accepted in the pulpit as they are today. Afraid of being rejected, I bent over backward to behave in the way I thought would please people. The only problem was that I was trying to earn approval, and it didn't work.
At the time, I knew nothing about supernatural favor. I didn't realize that favor is a part of grace. In fact, in the New Testament the words grace and favor both are translated from the Greek word charis.
The grace of God is the favor of God. And the grace of God causes good things to happen in our lives through the channel of faith. It is not by human power or might but through God's Spirit of grace that we find favor with God and man.
There is a distinction between natural favor and supernatural favor. Natural favor must be earned, but supernatural favor is a gift. Natural favor says, If you work hard enough and long enough, some people will like you some of the time.
But that acceptance must be maintained, and having to say and do all the right things becomes a form of bondage. God doesn't expect us to run around trying to earn favor with Him or with others. He wants us only to do His will--whether it is popular or not. Just do your best and leave the results to God.
From childhood, Jesus walked in the supernatural favor of God and men. In fact, He was so popular He could hardly find time alone to pray and fellowship with His heavenly Father. Even those who did not believe in Him recognized that He enjoyed the favor of God.
The guards sent by the Pharisees to arrest Jesus returned saying, "Never has a man talked as this Man talks!" (John 7:46, AMP). Right up to the end of His life, even on the cross, that special favor was recognized (see Luke 23:47-48).
Psalm 8:5-6 says: "You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet." In these verses, honor and favor have the same meaning. We might say that God has crowned man with glory and favor, giving him dominion over the works of His hands and placing all things under his feet.
We must never forget that no matter what happens, we can have favor with God and with other people (see Luke 2:52). But like so many good things in life, just because something is available to us does not mean that we will partake of it. The Lord makes many things available that we never receive and enjoy because we don't activate our faith in that area.
For example, if we go to a job interview confessing fear and failure, we can be almost certain we won't get the job. On the other hand, even if we apply for a job we aren't fully qualified for, we can still go in confidence, knowing that God will give us favor in every situation that is His will.
First Samuel 2:7 says, "The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up." A perfect example of this is found in the life of Esther. God raised her up out of obscurity to become the queen of the entire land. He gave her favor with everyone she met, including the king.
Esther drew upon that favor to save herself and her people from being murdered by the evil Haman. She may have been afraid to go to the king and ask him to intervene, but Esther knew she had favor with God and pressed on with complete confidence in Him.
We don't have nearly as much fun with the Lord as we should. We should have more freedom and liberty and less fear and legalism. Regardless of the circumstances that come into your life, believe God for supernatural favor.
Despite how hopeless things may seem, God can lift you up. If your life is in His hands, the light of the Lord shines upon you. It is time we believe the words of our Father: "You are the apple of My eye. You are My favorite child" (see Deut. 32:10, NKJV).
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries. She has authored more than 90 books, including her new Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). To read her past columns in Charisma, go to charismamag.com/meyer. Visit her online at joycemeyer.org.