By Joel Osteen
Read by Joel Osteen
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The Power of Favor
What God has in your future you can’t accomplish on your own. There are places He’s going to take you that you can’t get to by yourself. There will be obstacles that look too big, dreams that seem impossible. You’re going to need assistance for where you’re going. The good news is, God has put something on you that gives you an advantage, something that will open doors that you can’t open, something that will make you stand out in the crowd. It’s called “favor.” Favor will cause good breaks to come to you. Favor will take you from the background to the foreground. Favor will give you preferential treatment, things you don’t deserve. You weren’t next in line, but you got the promotion. On paper it didn’t make sense, but the loan went through. That person who was so against you—for some reason they’ve changed. Now they’re for you. That wasn’t a coincidence. That was the favor of God.
We can work hard, be faithful, be diligent, and that’s important, but that will only take us to a certain level. We’ll go as far as our education, as far as our background allows. But when God breathes His favor on you, things will happen that you couldn’t make happen; opportunities will open that you didn’t see coming. The right people will track you down. I’ve heard it said, “One touch of favor is worth more than a lifetime of labor.” Just one good break, one phone call, meeting one person can catapult you to a new level. You’ve worked hard. You’ve been faithful. You’ve honored God. Now get ready for favor. Get ready for God to show out. He’s about to do something unusual, something that you haven’t seen, good breaks that you didn’t work for, a promotion that you didn’t deserve. You can’t explain it. You can’t take credit for it. It’s the favor of God.
God told Noah to build an ark, a 450-foot-long boat. Noah wasn’t a builder. That wasn’t his profession. It seemed impossible, but God will never ask you to do something and not give you the favor to do it. You have favor. The question is, Do you have the faith? Are you going to talk yourself out of it? “I don’t have the resources. I don’t know the right people. I don’t have the talent.” That’s okay, because you have something that makes up for all of that: Favor is on your life.
It’s good to have education, but education alone is not enough. Talent alone is not enough. You need favor for where you’re going. You may not know the right people, but don’t worry, God does. He has already lined up divine connections, people who will come into your life and use their influence to open doors, to give you opportunity that will push you forward. You don’t have to manipulate people, try to convince them to like you, or compromise to get your way. If someone is not for you, you don’t need them. Don’t waste time trying to win them over. The people whom God has lined up for you don’t have a choice. They may not like you, but they will help you anyway. They will go out of their way to be good to you. You don’t have to find them. They will find you. You keep honoring God, believing and expecting. The favor on your life will cause the right people to show up.
The people in Noah’s day didn’t care anything about God. They were living wildly, partying, and worshipping idols. God was so upset that He was about to destroy the Earth through a great flood. He could have wiped everyone out and started over, but the Scripture says, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Why did he find favor and not all the other people around him who were about to perish? The next verse says, “Noah continually followed God’s will and did what was right.” Noah could have compromised, fit in, done what everyone else was doing, but he made the choice to walk in obedience. When you honor God, when you keep Him first place, you will find favor in the eyes of the Lord. There is a blessing on your life that will push you up when others are going down.
Favor Brings You into Prominence
“Well, if I have favor, why am I having these difficulties? Why did these people come against me? Why did business slow down?” Having favor doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges, but favor is what’s going to keep the challenges from defeating you, and sometimes God will put you in a situation so He can show you His favor. One definition of favor is “to endorse, to bring to prominence, to give notoriety.” If you ask someone to endorse your book, you find a person who has more influence, more credibility, a bigger following than you. When they put their name on your book, their prominence instantly gives you more credibility.
Oprah Winfrey used to have her book club. When she would endorse a book, the author might have been unknown. Nobody had ever heard of them. Without the endorsement, the book would sell a few thousand copies. But when Oprah said on her talk show, “This is a great book. You should read it,” that simple endorsement could cause the book to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
It’s great to have people’s endorsement, but you need to get ready. The Creator of the universe is about to endorse you. God is going to make things happen that are so big, so amazing, that people will know it couldn’t have been just you. The medical report said you were done. “How’d you get well?” God endorsed you. His favor caused you to overcome what looked impossible. “How’d your business get so successful? How’d you get so far ahead? We went to the same school.” God endorsed you. He showed His favor so people would know that you belong to Him.
This is what happened to Daniel in the Scripture. Favor didn’t keep Daniel out of trouble. The trouble was a setup for God to endorse Daniel, to bring him into prominence. Daniel was a teenager living in a foreign country. The king made a decree that no one could pray to any god except to the king himself. But Daniel worshipped Jehovah. He made the decision that he wasn’t going to compromise, so he kept praying just as he did every day. Some people saw him praying and ran and told the king. The king had Daniel thrown into a den of hungry lions. That should’ve been the end, but for some reason the lions couldn’t open their mouths. I can hear one of those lions saying, “I’m hungry. I want to eat this guy, but my jaws are messed up.”
Favor doesn’t keep you out of the lions’ den, but favor will keep the lions from harming you. The next morning the king went to check on Daniel. When he found out Daniel was okay, he said, “From now on we’re all going to worship the God of Daniel.”
“Well, Joel, maybe that was a lucky break. Maybe the lions weren’t hungry that day.” No, when they brought Daniel out of the lions’ den, the king had them throw the people who were against Daniel into the den. Before they hit the bottom of the pit, the lions tore them apart. When people saw that, they knew the Lord was on Daniel’s side.
God is going to do some things that bring you into prominence, into new levels of influence and credibility. People can debate what you say, but they can’t debate what they see. When they see you running the company, paying your house off, and graduating with honors, they’ll know God is endorsing you. When they see you breaking the addiction, beating the cancer, coming out of the lions’ den unharmed, and accomplishing dreams way over your head, they will know God’s hand is on your life and He’s about to bring you into greater prominence. You’ve been in the background long enough, serving faithfully, helping others with no recognition. Your time is coming.
David spent years in the shepherds’ fields taking care of his father’s sheep, and I’m sure at times he thought, I don’t have favor. I’ll never do anything great. I’m stuck out here. Nobody believes in me. The truth is, you don’t have to have people believe in you. The Most High God believes in you. When David defeated Goliath, that one good break, that one endorsement, launched him into a new level of his destiny, and it made up for all those lonely years. You may feel like you’re falling behind, like it’s too late to accomplish a dream, like you’ll never get well. What God can do for you in one moment will put you fifty years down the road. That’s the power of God endorsing you.
The Seal of Approval
You’ve seen a seal of approval on certain products. It may be stamped on the outside of a company’s box, and it can be on a little-known product. Nobody’s ever heard of it. But when that big company puts their stamp on it, their seal of approval, that product has notoriety and prominence, not because of what it is, but because of who endorsed it. The Creator of the universe is about to put His stamp on you. He’s already accepted and approved you, but He’s about to endorse you. He’s about to go public. He’s going to show people that you belong to Him. You’re going to accomplish what you couldn’t accomplish on your own. People are going to go out of their way to help you. You’re going to defeat giants that are much bigger. People don’t think you have a chance, but they don’t know what’s on you. They can’t see the favor yet, but when God endorses you, when He shows out, they’re not going to have any doubt that the Lord is on your side.
Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and eventually sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused of a crime, put in prison for something he didn’t do. All the odds were against him. But the Scripture says, “Joseph had favor in everything he did.” One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t keep a favored man down. You can’t keep a favored woman down. You may have some obstacles, situations that are unfair. That doesn’t mean you don’t have favor. Challenges come to us all, but favor is why you’re not going to stay down. Favor is why you’re going to rise back to the top.
Joseph spent thirteen years in the background, being overlooked and mistreated. There were plenty of lonely nights. He didn’t get bitter. He kept doing the right thing. One day, Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, so they brought Joseph out of prison and into Pharaoh’s presence. Now he was standing in front of one of the most powerful people of that day. Joseph interpreted the dream. Pharaoh was so impressed that he made Joseph the prime minister, second in command. I can imagine that meeting took no longer than an hour. Joseph walked in as an imprisoned slave. An hour later, he walked out as the prime minister.
You don’t know what God can do in an hour. He can take years of heartache, years of being overlooked, years of praying, believing, not seeing any good breaks, and in one hour He not only can deliver you, not only bring a dream to pass, but He can do something that catapults you to a new level of your destiny. How can this happen? The favor on your life. When God breathes on you, doors will open supernaturally. Obstacles that look permanent will turn around. People who were against you will suddenly be for you.
Years later, Joseph’s brothers came to the palace looking for food—the same ones who had thrown him into the pit. There was a great famine in their country, and they had traveled to Egypt. Now Joseph, the prime minister, was in charge of the food supply. The brothers had done their best to keep him down, but God knows how to endorse you. He knows how to put you in a position of prominence.
You may feel like you’re in a pit today. Don’t get discouraged. We all have pit stops along the way in life. The good news is, that is not your final destination. God has an endorsement coming, and I’ve learned that the greater the opposition, the greater the endorsement. Much as with a bow and arrow, the more the enemy tries to pull you back, the more you’re going to go forward. He thinks he’s pulling you back to hinder you. He doesn’t realize he’s setting you up to shoot farther than you’ve ever imagined. When God says it’s time, you’re going to shoot into prominence, shoot into new levels of influence, leadership, respect, income, and credibility.
When the brothers saw Joseph and finally realized who he was, they nearly passed out. They thought they had gotten rid of him. But what they meant for harm, God used for good. God is not going to just deliver you, not going to just bring you out, He’s going to endorse you. He’s going to put you in a position of prominence where people can see you honored, respected, and admired.
You’re Being Set Up for Endorsement
For over forty years, Lakewood Church was located in a neighborhood on the northeast side of Houston, and over time that area of the city became more industrial and a little more run-down. When I was growing up, Lakewood met in a small metal building, with metal folding chairs and a gravel parking lot. We had a portable wood building for the nurseries, and some people looked down on us because we couldn’t afford much. We were second-class. We were at a disadvantage.
When I became pastor, there were certain people I saw during the week who weren’t a part of Lakewood and wouldn’t give me the time of day. They barely even acknowledged that I was there. But in December 2003, the Houston City Council voted for us to have the former Compaq Center as our building. We went from being in the industrial part of town with small roads, back in a neighborhood where hardly anybody could find us, to being on the second-busiest freeway in the nation in one of the most well-known, prestigious buildings in our city. That one good break catapulted us to levels of influence and respect that we couldn’t have reached on our own in our whole lifetimes, and those same people who wouldn’t give me the time of day started to ask me if I could save them seats. I told them, “Of course I will, right up by the flag.”
What am I saying? God knows how to endorse you. He knows how to cause you to be seen in a different light. Don’t be discouraged by where you are. God sees what’s happening. He’s keeping the records. He’s going to make the wrongs right. He hears the disrespect. He hears them making fun. The Scripture says, “God heard Miriam criticizing Moses behind his back.” They may not give you the time of day now, but don’t worry, an endorsement is coming, not by people but by the Most High God. He’s going to do things that are out of your league, things you couldn’t make happen. He’ll not only amaze you, but people around you are going to be amazed.
When people congratulated me for getting the Compaq Center, I thought, If you only knew. Yes, I prayed, and I believed, but God made things happen that I could never have made happen. The Scripture says, “God will turn the heart of a king.” God turned council members who had been against us for years, and suddenly they were for us.
Right now, God is working behind the scenes in your life. He is setting you up for an endorsement, setting you up for something you’ve never seen—promotion, influence, relationships that will thrust you to a new level. That city council vote probably took ten minutes. The mayor brought the motion to the floor, there was a little discussion, and then they went around the table and fourteen council members voted. It’s amazing what God can do in ten minutes. Those ten minutes changed the course of my life. It’s amazing what God can do in an hour—Joseph meeting with the Pharaoh. It’s amazing what God can do overnight—Daniel protected in the lions’ den.
“That Day” for You Is Coming
God has some of these destiny moments already lined up for you. You can’t see them now. If He showed you, you’d think, There’s no way. But when God endorses you, it’s not like when people show you favor. When God does it, it catapults you ahead, and it’s not going to take a long time. Yes, you have to be faithful. Joseph was in difficult places for thirteen years, but it only took him an hour to get out. He didn’t see it coming. He woke up that morning thinking it was another ordinary day in prison. He didn’t know that was his day to be endorsed. He didn’t know that day was a destiny moment.
What God has for you is going to happen unexpectedly. You’re doing the right thing, honoring Him. Out of the blue, someone will call and offer you the promotion. The medical report will say no more cancer, the contract will go through, or you’ll bump into the person of your dreams. What would happen if we’d get up each day and say, “Father, thank You for endorsing me today. Let people see that I am Your child”?
As the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan River, God told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all the Israelites.” God was saying, “Joshua, this is your moment. I’m about to endorse you. People are going to see the greatness I’ve put in you. You’ve been in the background serving Moses, being faithful, but today you’re coming into the foreground.” Not long after that, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
The Scripture says, “That day God made Joshua great in the eyes of all the people.” God has a “that day” for you, a time when He will make you great, when He will cause you to stand out, where you will accomplish things you never dreamed you could accomplish. You will know it, and the people around you will see the greatness in you.
Helen Major was a longtime member of Lakewood. She taught elementary school for nearly forty years, faithfully pouring her best into the children. She got one promotion after another, then became assistant principal, then principal. After a very distinguished career, she retired. A few months later a new school was opening in the school district. The school board voted unanimously to name it the Helen Major Elementary School. She never dreamed a school would be named after her, but God knows how to endorse you. He knows how to make your life significant, and it’s not so we can say, “Look who we are. Look how great we’ve become.” It’s about letting God’s glory be seen through you. God wants to make you an example of His goodness, and if you will walk in humility and always give God the credit, there’s no limit to how high He will take you.
Romans 8 says, “All creation is eagerly waiting for the day when God reveals who His children really are.” That’s talking about when we get to Heaven, but even now, God is going to show people that you belong to Him. All creation is waiting for you to come into that day. The stage has been set. The audience is in place. You keep honoring God, and He’s going to show people who you really are. He’s going to bring you into a position of greater prominence.
You may be behind the scenes as I used to be when I was doing the television production at Lakewood, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but God has something bigger. He’s going to use you to accomplish something significant, not just be a small part. You’re going to shine. You’re going to stand out. People are going to see the greatness in you. It’s good to celebrate others. It’s good to cheer your friends on. It’s good to admire those who are ahead of you, but God doesn’t want you to live in a cheerleader mode, always thinking about how great others are. Can I tell you that there is greatness in you? You have talent, creativity, ability, courage, and strength. It’s going to come out in a greater way, and when you come into “that day” when God endorses you, people are going to step back and say, “Wow, I didn’t know that was in them. I never dreamed they would shine that brightly.” God is going to show people who you really are.
Favor Is Given to Fulfill Your Purpose
There was a young Jewish girl in the Scripture named Esther. She was an orphan, having lost both her parents. She was living in exile in Persia. It didn’t look as though she would ever do anything great, but one day the king was looking for a new queen. He decided to have a nationwide beauty contest where he would choose the next queen. The king sent people out looking for young ladies, and they brought Esther back and put her in the contest. Esther had never been groomed to be a queen, never had the training. She didn’t come from a prominent family. They lined all the young ladies up in front of the king. They were all beautiful, all wearing the latest fashions; all had the best hairdos and makeup. I can imagine the king looked at their résumés. Some of them came from wealth and influence. Some had impressive résumés, great educations, were standouts in their field. There were plenty of obvious choices, but for some reason the king chose Esther, an orphan, a foreigner.
When God endorses you, it will cause you to stand out. His favor will cause you to be preferred. They could’ve chosen anyone for the contract; for some reason they chose you. They could’ve bought any house in the neighborhood; for some reason they liked yours best. There were plenty of students who deserved the scholarship; for some reason they picked you. God knows how to make you attractive. He knows how to make people like you. Sometimes they don’t even know why. They can’t put their finger on it. There’s just something about you. That’s God smiling down on you.
“Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don’t have the training. I don’t have the experience.” Neither did Esther. Favor is more powerful than your résumé. Favor will take you where you don’t have the qualifications. Favor will open doors where you look up and think, How did I get here? I was the least likely one. Esther never dreamed of becoming a queen. That wasn’t even on her radar. But when you come into “that day” when God endorses you, He will bring you into prominence that you’ve never imagined. He’ll cause opportunity to come to you. Esther wasn’t looking for that position. The position came to her. She went from the background to the foreground. Later, Esther used her position to save the Jewish people from a plot to destroy them. I believe one reason God gave her such prominence is that He knew she would use the influence to fulfill her purpose.
Favor is not about having a bigger house, a better car, or more stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not why God is going to favor you. Favor is given to fulfill your purpose. It’s to advance His kingdom. When your dreams are tied to helping others, to making the world a better place, to lifting the fallen, then you will come into some of those “that day” moments when God will shine more on you than you’ve ever imagined. When God can trust you, He will take you from obscurity to notoriety.
Now you’ve worked hard, you’ve been faithful, you’ve honored God. Get ready, for the curtain is about to come up. God is about to show people who you really are. I believe and declare you are coming into a new level of prominence, a new level of influence, a new level of income. God is about to endorse you. People are going to see the greatness He put in you!
One way our faith is released is through our words, and there is a connection between speaking favor and receiving favor. It’s not enough to just believe you have favor. It’s not enough to just expect favor. You have to take it one step further and declare favor. Every day you should declare, “I have the favor of God. Favor is on my family. Favor is on my health. Favor is on my business. Favor is on my finances.” When you speak something out, you give it the right to come to pass. When you face difficult situations, instead of being discouraged, thinking, Why did this happen? you need to declare, “The favor of God is turning this around. Favor is bringing healing, freedom, vindication, and victory into my life.”
It’s one thing to think it, but when you declare it, angels go to work. In the unseen realm, things begin to change. We prayed, we believed, we hoped. That’s good, but it’s time to start speaking favor. Speak favor over your finances. “Father, thank You that Your favor is bringing me clients. Thank You that Your favor is causing me to stand out. Thank You that what I touch will prosper and succeed.” The Scripture says, “Jesus increased in favor with God and with people.” You can increase in favor. The more you thank God for it, the more you declare it, the more favor you’re going to see.
“Joel, you say I have favor, but I never get good breaks. I never see anything unusual.” Maybe it’s because you’re not declaring it. Why don’t you step it up a notch? All through the day say, “Father, thank You that Your favor is endorsing me. Thank You that Your favor is bringing me into prominence. Thank You that Your favor is taking me to new levels.” That’s not just being positive. That’s releasing your faith for the favor of God.
Your Words Release Your Faith
There were five of us Osteen children growing up. We never left the house without my mother saying, “Father, thank You that my children have Your favor.” I like to joke that it worked for all of us except my brother, Paul. Four out of five is not bad. But it’s good to pray over your children. Ask God to protect them, guide them, give them wisdom, but don’t stop there. Speak favor over them. “Father, thank You that my children have favor with their teachers, favor with other students, favor that causes them to excel.”
David did this. He said, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” In one Bible translation, the word goodness is favor. David was saying, “Surely favor follows me all my life.” In effect he was saying, “Favor is keeping enemies from defeating me. Favor is making me attractive. Favor is bringing promotion and opportunity.” He didn’t just think about it. He didn’t just hope it would work out. He spoke favor over his life. No wonder the prophet Samuel came to him and anointed him the next king. No wonder he defeated a giant twice his size. No wonder King Saul couldn’t kill him.
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