Before we get started today, I just want to drop in a big “thank you.” I can’t tell you how many people have asked about my wellbeing and prayed for me since last week’s post. I’m happy to report that I’ve had very little head pain in the past week. This is a MAJOR victory; praise Jesus! In just a week, I have learned a great deal about how faithfulness in prayer and intimacy with the Father brings His favor and healing.
In the past two weeks, we have heard from two of God’s most faithful servants – Brian Alarid and Ebony Small. These two pastors have devoted their lives to the goals of reaching people for Jesus, praying for people, and raising up the next generation of Christian leaders. When asked to share their thoughts about God’s favor, both Brian and Ebony described how faithfulness – obedience – releases God’s favor.
A life of faithfulness consists of quick obedience to His voice. Now, discerning God’s voice amid the clamor of our modern world can be tricky, but it’s a separate discussion. I highly recommend the very first sermon series we had after the 5twelve launch in 2018, called God Speaks. Once God has spoken, quick obedience says, “Act now; don’t wait, even if you don’t quite understand.” Mary acted in quick obedience when she said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” in Luke 1:38.
One of God’s consistent messages from Genesis through Revelation is that if we are faithful with our time, treasure, and talents, God’s favor will rest upon us. Faithfulness with these things doesn’t only include devoting a few minutes of our spare time to Him each day, or giving Him the leftovers after we’ve spent our money on all the toys we want. It involves giving sacrificially. It means giving what He has laid on our hearts to give, even if we’re not sure we can afford it. Consider this passage from the Gospel of Mark:
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.Mark 12:41-44, NKJV
For all of us planners and budgeters, giving above what we think we can afford sounds… well… irresponsible. But to one who trusts God completely, this kind of giving is natural, if a little scary. In the letter to the Philippians, Paul thanks the members of the Philippian church for their outpouring of generosity. They had provided for Paul’s needs several times, and he called it a “sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18b). But Paul didn’t stop there. He went on to assure these faithful servants that God’s favor would bless them for their sacrifice, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Notice the intimacy Paul has with God – “and my God.” Notice, too, whose riches will bless the Philippians – God’s riches.
How does this work? What happens when we give beyond our perceived means? What does God’s favor look like? Our good friend Kirsten recently reached out to tell us a story of God’s favor in her own life.
Late last year God really convicted my heart to start tithing fully again. I had stopped giving my full tithe when I became the sole supporter of my daughters. God reminded me that He’s our provider, not me, and I could trust Him. I really struggled with this, but chose to obey anyway. I literally said to God, “Ok, I’m gonna do what You ask, but You better come through for me!” At the time, the amount He was asking me to give seemed like it would make it impossible to support the girls in college and pay off my debt.
Well, of course, God showed up for me. I’ve been praying that the girls wouldn’t have to take any loans out this coming school year, fully expecting to have to cover whatever was left over after scholarships. But we just found out BOTH girls are FULLY covered for EVERYTHING for next year! They won’t need to take out a loan and they don’t need any help from me! I’ve never asked God to fully cover anything. I’ve always felt like I had to contribute something. This is the first time I’ve stepped out and asked, and He met more than I could have imagined.
There are other things He’s provided since I submitted and obeyed as well. Funds for a car for my oldest when hers suddenly broke down, my credit debt will be paid off by August, and for the first time since being a single parent I have a healthy savings account. He is so good!
Kirsten’s God supplied all her need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Notice her intimacy with God. She didn’t mince words – “I’m gonna do what You ask, but You better come through for me!” She prayed that her daughters wouldn’t need loans for school, and God provided. She was concerned about her debt, and it’s almost paid off. One daughter needed a car, and she has one. Kirsten walked in step with His calling on her life, responding in quick obedience, and He came through.
This isn’t some prosperity gospel, where I tell you that you should give more so you can get more. This message is, “Respond in quick obedience to Him, and His favor will meet your needs.” Will it always be financial favor? No, maybe that’s not what you need – maybe you need healing, or an emotional outlet, or rest, or time alone, or time with friends. He knows your need better than you do, but when you draw near to Him and tell Him your heart’s desires, your fears, and your needs, and when you are faithful with what He’s already given you, He will respond to you beyond your imagining. Why? Because He loves you, and because you trusted Him.
Do you have a story of life change? We would love to hear it. Let us hear how God is transforming your life and the lives of those around you through the power of Christ. Drop us a line at [email protected] or submit a form using the button below! We’ll get in touch and work with you to share your story.