What’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite meal?
What is your favorite flower?
Who is your favorite child?
Those first three questions might be easy to answer. Perhaps you didn’t even have to think longer than a second in order to give your favorite in those categories.
That last question, however, is a tough one. Hopefully, you answered correctly with “All of them!”. As parents of more than one kid that fourth questions is impossible to answer. I don’t have a favorite kid, and neither do you. What we do have are different relationships with different people.
I am blessed with two amazing kids. They’re adults now, but I am constantly amazed at who they are as individual people. I think they’re both the bomb, and couldn’t pick a favorite if someone was holding a gun to my head, forcing me to choose. I am close to both of them in different ways. It’s called, relationship and intimacy.
You can have a favorite teacher, or a favorite waiter, or boss, but you can’t have a favorite child.
The same is true for God. We are His children, and He just can’t pick one of us to be His favorite.
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In Romans chapter 2, God is talking about how fair He is in both judgement and blessings. That He gets to choose both based on who He is, not who we are. And then there’s this verse:
” God has no favorites.”
Other versions say, “God shows no favoritism.” Or, “God is without partiality”. The concept is the same. And it’s there in black and white. God has no favorites.
Why do we have such a hard time believing this?
- Because we don’t understand God’s grace.
- Because we have let people tell us that God will like us more if we do this or that.
- Because we feel like we aren’t good enough for God.
- Because others have pointed us to people as our example instead of Jesus.
Is it not our pride that leads us to believe these things? Who are you and who am I to think that we can do anything to earn God’s favor?!?! How arrogant we are!
So how do we get past this curse of mankind to somehow earn God’s favor? How do we lay aside our fleshly need to prove we are worthy of God’s gift of salvation? Here are a few ways to help you come to terms with this truth that God has no favorites.
1. Repent from your Pride
It’s comforting for us sinful creatures to think that we are not as bad as someone else. Our human nature steers us to look for specs in other people’s eyes, while ignoring the beam in our own.
Our pride is small compared to their blatant sin of ________ (fill in the blank). Our gluttony, or misuse of money isn’t as bad as their, ___________. (fill in the blank again)
God must like us a little more, because we aren’t as bad as that person.
Newsflash! All sin is sin in God’s eyes. It’s all an abomination. It’s all disgusting to Him. We are all wicked in our hearts.
Get over yourself. Repent of your pride in being not as bad as the next person. If you don’t repent, you won’t be able to move past trying to prove to God that you are more worthy than the next guy. Embrace God’s mercy and forgiveness of your sin,and point the way for others to find that same forgiveness.
2. Understand Grace
Grace is defined as the free, unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor of God. Read that again. Take special note of the words free, unmerited, unearned, and undeserved. That is what makes God a gracious God. He gives us what we don’t deserve. Grace is different that mercy. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. Grace goes beyond mercy.
Grace is THE most integral part of salvation. Otherwise Heaven will be full of people bragging about what they did to get there. (Yuck!) And grace doesn’t end at salvation. It continues daily. The more you grasp God’s grace, the more you will understand God, and the easier your walk with Him will be.
This about it way. A secular definition of grace is “elegance of movement”. Think of how a ballerina or figure skater can move with effortless grace. Their movement seems to be of no effort on their part, even though they are in motion. God’s grace is like that. It’s His movement and power within us, not our effort, that brings us into an intimate relationship with Him.
3. Stop Trying, and just BE
It’s easier to control people if you have rules. Do’s and don’ts are important in our societies, our workplaces, and our homes. Do’s and don’t are important to God too. But God’s motivation for rules are love. He desires to protect us from harm and mold us into His. He truly knows what is best for us. As such, obedience is integral to our relationship with God. It brings His best into our lives. But obedience doesn’t make you one of God’s favorites.
Nothing you do or don’t do, will make God like you more. Read that again. You cannot earn God’s favor. (See definition of grace above).
Going to church will not make you God’s favorite. (God does not have a heavenly church attendance sheet that He is marking off each week.) But He does know that you need to carve time out to focus on Him and hang out with other believers. It helps you and them, but it doesn’t earn you points.
Reading your Bible every day will not make you God’s favorite. It will help you to get to know this amazing God we serve, and will keep you from believing lies told by others. It is also a great way for God to speak truth into your life, but it doesn’t earn you points.
Praying for 30 minutes every day will not make you God’s favorite. Prayer should be a pathway of constant communication between you and God,not a list of requests to check off. See a praying life, not a prayer life. Prayer is important,but it doesn’t earn you points.
God is more interested in being with you, that what you are doing for Him.
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Just hang out with God. Be with Him,and let Him be with you. Make spending time with God more important than doing something for Him. God doesn’t have favorites, but He does have intimates.
4. Look to the Master Only
There is only one example worth following, and that is Jesus. No Pastor, Mentor, Apostle, Missionary,or Friend is a perfect example. We all have faults, shortcomings, and sin. The only person we should be following in word and action is Jesus Christ. No one else compares.
When we lift a person up and seek to follow what they do, we place them above God in our lives. And we will be sorely disappointed. How many churches have crumbled when their leader failed? How many people have walked away from God because of how a person treated them? How many people have been led astray into false teachings because they followed a person, instead of God?
Let God be your plumb line. Use Him only as your prime example to follow. People will always let you down, but God never will.
Do you know what will happen when you get a hold of the truth that God has no favorites?
- You’ll relax. The pressure is off to perform.
- You’ll enjoy your relationship with God like you never have before.
- You will grow spiritually.
- You’ll improve your earthly relationships.
- You will be able to show grace and love to others, because you will experience it firsthand.
Are you ready?
Did you think God has favorites before you read this?
If so, what do you think now?