Most Christians are familiar with the Bible verse, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52. How many though take time to ponder this verse long enough to consider that, as Christ is a believer's example in all things, His followers are to be "favor" seekers as well? Author Duane Vander Klok writes that favor can be defined as "the friendly disposition from which kindly acts proceed; to assist; to provide with special advantages; to receive preferential treatment." Who wouldn't appreciate a favorable response as opposed to an unfavorable one?
In his text, Vander Klok lays a foundation for Christians to better understand why God desires to bestow favor on His children and provides the biblical "how-tos" for achieving this advantageous position. He explains that favor does not simply land in a person's lap; rather, every Christian must actively pursue it. Likening favor to an untapped electrical system, believers need to release the power already present. The basics to experiencing a life of favor include adopting a mindset that expects/believes/confesses it. In other words, God desires to give favor to His children personally, but He in turn expects believers to confess it by faith and proactively set the process in motion.
Citing such promises as found in Psalm 103, Vander Klok proposes that God is eager to fulfill such wondrous pledges as offering: forgiveness, healing, redemption, providing goodness and mercy, meeting needs for physical health, meting out justice and freedom from oppression, and even extending salvation to one's children's children. One key point is that there is a significant difference between believing "in" and believing "for" favor. While most Christians believe in the concept, they fail to apply it to their own lives.
Vander Klok warns readers that gaining favor is not found by following a formula. Rather, there are five basic habits to hone and practice on a daily basis that afford Christians a robust and vibrant relationship with God. Vander Klok says that Bible reading tops his list, along with daily prayer, a study hour, physical exercise and maintaining an intimate family circle. On the flip side, he notes that there are also favor-hindering habits to be avoided. These cautionary notes include: a carnal mind not focused on the things of the Spirit, a careless thought life, and an unbelieving heart that speaks defeated, negative words. He also expounds upon the stories found in Scripture that discuss biblical characters who found favor with those in authority over them, such as Joseph, Ruth and Esther.
A particularly interesting section is Vander Klok's warnings about falling from favor by allowing bitterness to take root in the heart, becoming prideful or envious, and believing that once favored equals a trouble-free existence. Instead, Vander Klok challenges Christians to see favor as an opportunity to "favor" and bless others in increasing measure and as an extension of God's love and mercy.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on June 1, 2006