Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God ! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God ’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this. – Proverbs 3:3-12 MSG
Yesterday, I celebrated my 35th (Yup, not hiding my age). I had an unusually restful day – I was simply basking in the Lord’s presence, while receiving greetings from family, friends (since preschool, and even my parents friends since the ’60s) and colleagues mostly through facebook. I realize that by God’s grace, He has enabled me to win the favor of God and man. I just praise and thank God for this. I just pray that I will be effective in pointing folks to Jesus, and that any accolade or words of appreciation will not stop with me. (There are a lot of times when I feel like I am not too good at this though. The Lord knows these moments, just as He knows my heart…and I pray for more boldness to be a good ambassador of His Kingdom). I am to redirect all these to Christ, as part of my worship to Him. God’s smile upon me is more than enough. If He chooses to redirect the smile of men, for His purpose, as well, I am His willing servant.
Alongside with the favor though, recently I noticed that I’ve been undergoing some tests, and am in fact in a rather long period of waiting. At first, I was resisting these, but I realize that they may be a part of God’s discipline designed to teach me or prune me for promotion (whether in the spiritual or natural realm – if I were made to choose between the 2, I’d go for the former over the latter). And so I just yield to the Lord, in trust that He has my best interests in mind, listening to His voice for every next step that I am about to take. After all, doesn’t He have plans to prosper me, to give me a hope and a future? Doesn’t He go before me? Isn’t He more than capable to work all things for the good of those who love Him and were called according to His purpose? Isn’t He my Abba Father, who loves me, and in whose love I am secure? Isn’t it that nothing can separate me from the love of God through Jesus (who endured darkness and death, and triumphed over these to give us light and life)?
The answer to all those questions is a resounding “yes”. These basic nuggets of truth, I shall always go back to, especially in times of testing, or moments when God makes me wait (sure, I have some moments when I’m rather fidgety, but thank God for their decreasing frequency as the years go by)…and for as long as I have His smile upon me, for as long as I am in His presence, I am fine. Or rather, more than fine, for His grace is more than enough for me. 🙂 Even amidst the tests (including the waiting), I am enjoying an abundant life in Jesus. But knowing my God, in His perfect timing, He always comes through. He has proven Himself to be faithful and true, not just in ages past but in my life (and who am I? I am but a worm before Him, yet He’s mindful of me and He calls me friend). So like King David, I just ask the Lord to allow me to constantly be in His presence. (Now, I wasn’t always like this – I used to have different desires and priorities, as you may note if you go through this blog’s archives. But God’s kindness drew me to repentance, and my heart was unexplainably changed in the journey.)
In the past 35 years, I have seen and tasted His goodness, and I know there’s more to that. He is the God who has brought me (and countless others) from glory to glory. So if the former house (the first 35 years) was glorious, in Him the next 35 years (and beyond, should He will it, after all He has numbered my days from the day I was born) will be even more glorious. Because I am in Jesus, I have a confident expectation of His goodness and unmerited favor in my life, overflowing to impact the lives of those around me.
On a related note, here’s a nice devotional re: favor with God and men – http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/devotionals/favor.asp