5 Lessons From 2 Mothers

If you’ve been reading my series of posts on God’s favor, I hope you are becoming more aware of how strongly I want you to know this: God is for you! He’s not looking for opportunities to blast you, but to bless you. (If you want to read some of these previous posts, check out the link at the bottom of this post.) 

In writing his account of the birth of Jesus, Luke is captured with the idea of God’s favor. Luke uses the word favor more than any of the other gospel writers, and he uses the word quite frequently as he relates the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. During his narrative we meet two women—Elizabeth and Mary. Here are five lessons we can learn from these two mothers. 

(1) “Favor” is not the same thing as “favorite.” To say, “I am the one on whom God’s favor rests” is not the same as saying, “I am God’s favorite.” Elizabeth recognized God’s favor on both herself and on Mary (Luke 1:25 & 43), and Mary also recognized God’s favor on herself (Luke 1:28, 30, 48-49). But nowhere did these women think they were God’s favorites. God has no favorites, but instead He showers His abundant, never-ending favor on everyone! 

(2) “Favor” probably didn’t look like what they would have planned for themselves. Elizabeth didn’t get pregnant until the age when she should have been a grandmother, and Mary got pregnant before she was even married. I’m sure neither of them thought their lives would go this way! But God knew what He was doing all along (see Isaiah 45:7-9; Psalm 139:16). 

(3) They needed humility, obedience, and perseverance to remain in the place where they could recognize God’s favor. No one can stop God’s favor, but the devil would love to keep you from recognizing God’s favor. One way satan does this is by trying to get us to appeal to our pride (“I think I can do this better”) because then obedience to God and perseverance through the trying times is very difficult to maintain. 

(4) God’s favor is for God’s glory (not necessarily for our comfort). God is accomplishing HIS plan through us. His favor toward us places us where He needs us, when He needs us there, and with the talents we need to respond correctly when we get to that moment. Mary spoke the words that I’m sure were also in Elizabeth’s heart: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me just as you have said.” 

(5) God’s favor doesn’t necessarily answer all our questions. Even though God’s favor places us in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills, we will still undoubtedly have questions about why God is doing what He’s doing. If you feel that way, you’re not alone—Hebrews 11 is full of people who felt the same way. But hang in there and keep trusting God: He knows what He’s doing! In the meantime remember this: God is able to make ALL grace abound toward you, that you, ALWAYS having ALL sufficiency in ALL things, may have an abundance for EVERY good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). 

Check out this video of the full message I shared on these lessons from the life of Elizabeth and Mary. 

Join me this Sunday as we continue looking at God’s favor. You can join me either in person or on Facebook Live. 

If you’ve missed any of my previous posts on God’s favor, check out: 

God Removes Disgrace

I’ve been thinking, writing, and speaking about God’s favor quite a bit lately. You can check out some thoughts here, here, and here. 

This topic isn’t complete without considering God’s grace. After all, grace literally means God’s unmerited favor. 

So what do you think disgrace means? 

The prefix dis- means separation. When something is disassembled, it’s not whole as it used to be. If someone is feeling discouraged, they are separated from what used to give them courage. So disgrace could mean that we are separated from God’s grace. 

But are we really? 

Listen carefully to this, and then take a look at this 4-minute video—satan cannot stop God’s grace, but he can stop you from recognizing God’s grace. In other words, disgrace doesn’t mean that God’s grace has been withdrawn from you, but rather disgrace is when you are having difficulty seeing, hearing, or feeling God’s grace. 

Elizabeth was feeling disgrace, but then check out what God did for her…

You can read the story for yourself in Luke 1:5-25. This video clip is a small snippet from a longer message. If you would like to listen to the whole message, please click here. 

Finding God’s Favor

“It was because of His grace that God the Father sent His only Son to die in our place. To say it another way, Christ’s death was the result of God’s grace; grace is not the result of Christ’s death.” —Jerry Bridges

God had been showing us His love throughout the Old Testament period, but the Advent of Jesus made it abundantly and unmistakably clear that God is for us! 

Check out how Luke focuses on God’s favor in a way that no other Gospel writer does:

  • John (the one who would announce the arrival of Jesus) means Jehovah is a gracious Giver.
  • Elizabeth (John’s mother) said that God had not only shown His favor to her by making her pregnant, but she also said God had removed her disgrace. 
  • Mary (the mother of Jesus) was greeted by the angel with the phrases “You are highly favored” and “You have found favor with God.” 
  • On the night of Christ’s birth, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” 
  • Jesus, in His first public sermon, quoted Isaiah’s words, saying He had come to proclaim God’s favor. 

But please notice this truth—We don’t try to find or earn God’s favor. It’s already there; we just need to realize it’s there! 

You see, we don’t grow in God’s favor, nor do we get more favor, but we progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with God’s favor that is already there. Check out what Moses said:

If I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly and that I may find favor in Your sight (Exodus 33:13)

The angel said to Mary, “You are HIGHLY FAVORED” (Luke 1:28). God uses the same word when He says to us: God made us ACCEPTED in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). 

How can this be?? Because on the Cross, Jesus switched places with us. He took all our sin and DISgrace, and gave us all of His righteousness. Now when God the Father looks at us, all He sees is the righteousness of His Son. Now all praise to God for His wonderful kindness to us and His favor that He has poured out upon us because we belong to His dearly loved Son (TLB).

God’s grace is undiminished. It is as full today as it ever has been. God could never love you more than He already does. God could never love you less because of anything you do. Keep your eyes on Him and you will find just how much favor He has for you! 

Join me this Sunday either in person or on Facebook Live as we continue to learn more about God’s favor. 

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Build God-centered anticipation and expectancy and excitement into your home—especially for the children. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the children get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for the children.” —John Piper

“The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary—people who acknowledge their lowly estate [Luke 1:43, 48] and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.” —John Piper

“I try to read every book—Christian and secular—touted as ground-breaking. None of them are. We are driven by a reality placed in us by the Creator God with legitimate ways, context, and relationship to express our sexuality. If we don’t find those legitimate outlets, we will spend our lives searching for fulfillment in self-destructive ways to fill that God-given need for community, intimacy, relationship, and meaning. We cannot live without intimacy, and here I don’t mean sex. Sex is simply one of the most powerful forms of intimacy. We are not asexual beings. Being Christ-followers, striving for integrity in all things, doesn’t neuter us.” —Becky McDonald, founder and president of Women At Risk (WAR) International

“We must discipline our minds in all things to submit to the Word of God. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and we are commanded to let His mind hold sway in all our thinking (Philippians 2:5). What the Scripture teaches concerning the disciplined life may not always seem the reasonable thing to do—because we cannot square its teaching with our experience or logic—but it is always the Word of God. Our duty is to get behind it and order all our steps accordingly.” —T.M. Moore

“Life is better when we act like we might see someone again soon, isn’t it?” —Seth Godin

This is scary (but typical of how abortion providers operate): a 911 call reveals that a teenager is held against her will and is being forced to have an abortion!

BREAKING NEWS: The US Senate has voted to repeal Obamacare, and defund Planned Parenthood!

Guillaume Bignon, a former atheist, has become a Christian. Here is Sean McDowell’s interview with him.

Archeologists in Israel have found a seal purported to belong to King Hezekiah. You can read about other verified archeological finds every day in the Archeological Study Bible.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the value of imagination—

%d bloggers like this: