What does a life of favor look like? Do you live a favored life? Where are you currently experiencing God’s favor?
Where did your mind just go? Did you begin seeing, picturing and thinking about elements of God’s favor in your life? Or was it, “Ya, right! Favor? Let me tell you about so and so, they are really favored!”
Comparison makes it challenging to see God’s blessing in my life. Comparing blessings is a dangerous and winless pursuit that leaves you feeling anything but blessed.
Here are areas I feel I’m experiencing God’s favor:
- My self-employed wife has enough work for the rest of the month.
- In the middle of summer I have fully functional AC.
- God seems to be growing our church numerically.
- God seems to be growing our church spiritually.
- I have the largest staff I’ve ever had.
- My kid made the all-star team.
Ok, here is how comparison can ruin all of those areas of blessing:
- My self-employed wife has enough work for the rest of the month. Other pastors make more money, and their wives don’t have to work. Come on, God!
- A former youth student was baptized at my church this past Sunday! A random church online that I follow baptized 30 people this past weekend, and I only baptized one.
- God seems to be growing our church numerically. That church in Texas that I follow is booming; they are opening up multiple services and launching a whole new church.
- God seems to be growing our church spiritually. Growing people grow through dealing with messes. Why can’t I be dealing with people that have no messes and are completely mature? (PS - that is not true anywhere!!!)
- I have the largest staff I’ve ever had. Come on God, we really need to make a hire and can’t afford another full-timer. Other churches are hiring, why won’t you open the door for us?
- My kid made the all-star team. The coach’s son gets more playing time than my son. I don’t have time to coach. Making the team reminds me how unfair my schedule is. Must be nice to be a dad with an open schedule.
Check out these verses.
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7
I think one of the reasons the Bible often warns about the dangers of envy is because envy kills my ability to see the favor of God in my own life. One of the books I was recently reading (I can’t remember which one, just know I didn’t create this definition) defines envy like this: “Craving for ourselves what God has given to others.”
Read those verses again. How true they are! Envy doesn’t want the best for others (love), it wants others’ best for myself (envy.) Envy sucks the life out of me, leaving me with rotting bones. Envy makes me jealous, motivating me to do whatever it takes to get ahead.
When I am stuck in an envious, comparison-filled spiral (the second list), I look to God and say, “I can’t believe you gave me this life,” in anger, frustration and looking for pity. When I see the hand of God all around, not giving into comparison, I look to heaven with utter delight and say, “I can’t believe you’ve given me this life!”
Feeling stuck in envy? Here is one simple exercise: consider a 7 day fast from social media and every day write ten things you are grateful for. No repeats on your gratitude list, new ones each day! Trust me, by the end of the week you will begin to see, know and feel the favor of God in your life.