Finding Favor (IVP Books, 2018)
Brian Jones, founding senior pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley, titles his latest book Finding Favor: God’s Blessings Beyond Health, Wealth, and Happiness. In his Introduction, Pastor Jones asserts his belief that “God in his favor wants to do something in every area of your life.” But the question the author has for you is, Do you believe this? Thus, to affirm that belief, you must realize that God wants you to view every area of your life as holy ground. It follows, then, that you do holy work with every ounce of your being as an act of worship. In addition, Brian notes, “holy ambition honors a holy God.”
Because we need renovation, not improvement, there’s nothing more important than first seeking the Lord’s favor. And God’s favor gives us exactly what we need, but rarely what we want. Therefore, Pastor Jones exhorts, the most insanely great thing God will do in our lives consists of the change He makes in us, rather than His accomplishments through us. That understanding, in turn, shakes us out of our spiritual lethargy. Also, the author defines spiritual lethargy as an “unhealthy acceptance of a situation, relationship, or mindset we know (and God knows) needs to change, but we simply won’t.” As a result, God, in His infinite mercy, shakes us out of our blind contentment. He replaces our stale excuses with sacred rage – which Pastor Jones equates to hope in its purest form.
However, sometimes there’s only one way for God to truly bless us. He places us in obscurity for a season. When our spiritual maintenance lights blink at us, God brings outside forces to bear that shape us to handle the vision God’s given us. During this shaping process, we must get absolute clarity on who God is and what He wants to do with our lives. Then, we fit our experience into God’s reality. For God never meant for you to go into battle without His favor on your life. Consequently, it’s better to go into battle with the Lord’s favor than the best the world offers. Plus, God’s presence, not relief, is enough.
In conclusion, Brian observes, God’s continually bestowing His favor all around us. Therefore, we simply need “the eyes to see” and “ears to hear.” Yet, Christians struggle with trying to discern whether or not God’s calling us to a particular task. So, another way God shows us favor involves giving certain confirmation that He’s leading, guiding, and calling us. At those times, we need simple obedience. Overanalyzing things erects a barrier to God’s presence. Hence, we need to adopt a new definition of success: finding favor with God. Furthermore, we must discipline ourselves to accept whichever type of favor God wishes to bestow. Thus, until you believe something in your heart, keep confessing it with your mouth. At the same time, watch someone who believes it in their heart. Finally, Brian encourages:
“There will be times when we’ll be crumpled. There will be times when we’ll be exalted. But no good thing will he withhold from us. Ever.”