Jaap Berg wrote this life-changing blog from a sermon he preached a couple weeks ago. He is interning as Steve Backlund's Global Legacy Regional intern during 2015-2016. He is passionate about cycling, leadership, the church, growth and identity. He loves helping people grow in who they are called to be. Jaap's life vision is to empower and equip people. One of Jaap's dreams is to see the church step into it's full potential, especially in the Netherlands/Europe area. He has such a love for the church.
Finding Favor: Receiving and Stewarding
If Jesus grew in favor, how much more can we grow in it? After reading this blog post you will have a clear understanding of what favor is and how it works in your life. You will find strategic keys and discover how to steward your favor. I will also share my personal journey on favor and how special connections with Olympic athletes, influential (Christian) leaders, and amazing friends got established.
There is a chance that you’ve heard the word favor in a Christian context before, but my guess is that most people don’t have a clear understanding of what it is exactly and how it works. I love writing about these kind of topics; words or principles that we hear a lot about but we might not have a clear definition of what it is. Over the last couple of years, I learned more about why favor actually is so important, what it really is, and how we can partner with it.
Let’s start with a definition:
Favor comes from the Greek word ‘Charis’ (= χάρις, Strong’s G5484).
The word ‘Charis’ is where we get our word ‘grace’ from.
The definition of favor in English dictionaries is: ‘an attitude of approval or liking’ or ‘an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.’
In my first language (Dutch) the dictionary says favor is an advantage and grace is the goodness of God
So, my definition of favor is: an advantage because of the goodness of God.
Favor always starts out undeserved. Everyone has it because of God’s goodness. It’s grace! Favor applies to material things (finances, building) and immaterial things (connections with people).
Favor is something in which you can grow. It’s not just there for some and not there for others. It doesn’t just randomly fall in your lap. It brings you to places or in contact with people that you normally would not have. Besides the fact that favor is fun to partner with, it also has another goal: It helps you to step into the greatness that’s on your life! You have this ‘advantage’ because of God’s goodness and it’s easier to walk in the greatness that’s on your life.
Where do we find favor in the Bible? Luke 2:52 is the first verse that comes to mind for most people when we talk about favor.
“...And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’’
A principle I’ve learned over the last couple of years is this. If it’s important for Jesus, it’s important for us. Jesus is our example of perfect theology. As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). If Jesus could grow in favor with God and people, we can too and it is important to do so!
How does favor work in my life? Here are five keys that helped me.
My adventure with God’s goodness started with the realization that God is for us, and not against us. He is a good Father who loves to help us.
In 2009, I started to think more intentionally about who I am and what I believe. As a result, I started to think and talk about what I really want with my life and I came up with a plan. I decided to set aside time to grow as a person, in my identity. Looking back, I learned this is where favor starts most of the time. The first key is, if you don’t have a goal or direction where you are heading, it’s a lot harder to recognize your favor.
Once you have a sense of direction it’s easier to recognize what God is doing in your life. In May 2011, I went to a conference in Duisburg, Germany. At that time I was considering going to Bethel to do BSSM. One of the speakers was Seth Dahl (Kids Pastor, Bethel Church) and at one of his sessions he shared a dream he knew someone in the audience had. That someone was me and he explained my dream!
During that moment, a connection between us got established. This is something I couldn’t have done myself. This is the second key with favor. Recognize special/supernatural connections or events or (prophetic) words that help you with your goal or direction.
As you can imagine, I moved to California to do BSSM. I expected to see Seth on the first day I would get there, but that didn’t happen. It didn’t even during the first week or month! A couple of months later I finally saw him again. We talked briefly and I asked him if we could set up a short 15 minute meeting. We met up and we had some more meetings over the next few months. The connection grew. I decided to volunteer for him and I went on a mission trip with him. Now, the final key which involves a lesson about favor. It grows! Luke 16:10 says: ‘’Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.’’ Favor is an advantage because of God’s goodness and this ‘advantage’ grows when we pursue the area we have favor in.
If you don’t have a clear vision for this season in your life, serve someone else’s!
Pursuing can look like a lot of different things, but one of the priorities for me was to start serving others. Like I mentioned before, this is what I started doing with Seth. I knew I wanted to grow in my identity, but didn’t really have an idea what that would look like so I started serving someone who is strong in that area. The same thing happened with another couple in my class. They were athletes and because I didn’t have a clear vision regarding sports, I started serving them. It led to me going to the Olympics in London with them. God knows my passion for sports and He gave me an advantage because of His goodness! Key number 4 is this. Serving brings you to places where you normally wouldn’t get too. By serving others, at the same time you grow in favor! The last key is, enjoy what you have and share the favor with others.
So, after a couple of similar events and connections I recognized these 5 steps:
- Favor is connected to a passion or vision: Find out what your vision is, what you’re passionate about or what your goal is.
- What is God doing in your life? Recognize the special/supernatural connections that God puts in front of you or the prophetic words you received.
- Decide to pursue this area (event/person) and find out how you can do so.
- Ask yourself: What does serving/stewarding look like in this area?
- Enjoy what you’ve been given and share your favor with others!
I really enjoy this favor journey. It is really fun! We get the opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God into our spheres of influence. Our favor with friends, athletes, businessmen, church leaders or with God keeps growing. Everything serves the goal of advancing the Kingdom of God here on earth.
My hope is that this blog post helps you steward and enjoy what you’ve been given. Whether it’s a special connection, a building, a job or your personal relationship with the Father, you have an advantage because of His Goodness. What are you going to do with it?
Click here to read more on Jaap's website.