Joel Osteen — Heavy With Favor
I want to talk to you today about "Heavy favor". There's something God has put on you that will help you accomplish what you couldn't accomplish on your own. It will cause you to stand out in the crowd, get breaks that you didn't deserve. It's called "Favor". The psalmist said, "God's favor surrounds us like a shield". That means everywhere you go, you have an advantage, a divine empowerment opening up the right doors, causing things to fall into place.
But Isaiah took it a step further. He said, "Arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord is upon you". That word "Glory" in the original language implies God's favor is heavy upon you. There's an emphasis on the weight. Isaiah was saying, "You didn't just get a little favor, enough to get by, scrape through life". No, when it comes to favor, you're not a lightweight. You are heavy with favor. You are weighted down with God's goodness, and it's one thing to know you have favor. That's important, but when you realize you are heavy with favor, it takes on a whole new meaning.
You won't go around intimidated, insecure. You'll put your shoulders back, hold your head up high. When you know you have heavy favor, you'll pray bold prayers. You'll believe for the extraordinary. You'll expect doors to open for you that may not open for somebody else. When you know you're heavy with favor, you'll arise, and that's when God will cause you to shine. You'll step into a new level of your destiny.
Now, maybe today, you're heavy with worry, heavy with discouragement, weighted down with problems, disappointments, sickness, lack. No, you need to get ready. This is your due season. Instead of being heavy with burdens, you're going to be heavy with good breaks, heavy with divine health, heavy with opportunity, heavy with joy.
Remember, back in the '60s, when something good happened, hippies would say, "Heavy, man, heavy". That's what you're going to be saying. Out of nowhere, a good break. "Heavy, man, heavy". The medical report didn't look good, but your heath suddenly turned around. "Heavy, man, heavy". In your finances. An explosive blessing, a raise, an inheritance, and you pay your house off. You come out of debt into overflow, "Heavy, man, heavy".
Now, shake off the doubt. Shake off the discouragement. Have a new perspective. You didn't get average favor, ordinary favor, just enough favor. You are heavy with favor, and when you understand this, it'll change your outlook. You'll have a boldness, a confidence, to ask big, to believe big, to expect God's favor in a new way.
One time, Joshua and his men were out fighting a battle in the scripture, and it was getting late in the day, and he knew he wasn't going to be able to finish the enemy off because he was running out of daylight. He could have thought, "Too bad for me, I've run out of time". No, Joshua understood this principle. He knew he was heavy with favor. He looked up and said, "Sun, stand still". The scripture says the sun stopped, didn't go down until he completed his task, and when you know you're heavy with favor, instead of thinking, "Oh, man, this problem's never going to resolve".
No, you'll do like Joshua and say, "God, I may not see a way, but I know you have a way". "The medical report doesn't look good, but, God, I know you have the final say. Healing is coming my way". Or maybe, "I've had this addiction so long, but I know this is my due season year. Freedom is coming my way".
I wonder how much further we would go, how many dreams we'd see come to pass if we really believed we are heavy with favor. Are you praying these bold prayers, expecting God to show out in your life? Would you dare do like Joshua and ask God to do something out of the ordinary, to bring your dreams to pass that look so far out, like it's not practical? It may not be for an average person, but the good news is, you're not average.
You have heavy favor. This is your time to arise and shine. God is about to make you stand out. He's about to take you somewhere that you've never been. Now, all through the day, let's get in agreement with God. "Lord, I thank you that I'm heavy with favor. Your shining down on me, showing me something that I've never seen".
A few years ago, a friend of mine sold his house, and he and his family needed another place to live, and they'd looked at different houses again and again and couldn't find anything. One evening, they were out walking through their neighborhood, and he saw this certain house that he'd always liked, and the people had lived there for over 30 years. But something said on the inside, "Go ask them if they want to sell it". He thought, "I can't do that. That would be odd, a stranger knocking on their door".
He's a very quiet, conservative man. But he couldn't get away from that feeling, and he finally got his nerve up, went up and knocked on the door, and asked the man if he was interested in selling the house. The man said, "No, we're planning on living here for many more years". My friend handed him his business card and said, "Well, if you ever change your mind, please let me know". Five days later, the man called back and said, "We've had a change of heart. We'd like to sell you the house".
What is that? Heavy favor, to knock on somebody's door and have them move out of their house, only God can make that happen. Don't come knocking on my door now. But when you know that you have heavy favor, you'll have this boldness, this confidence to ask big, to believe big. That's when God will show out in your life.
But too often, we think, "Oh, Joel, this isn't going to happen for me. I never get any good breaks. I'll never live in a nice place. I'll never break this addiction, never get healthy again". No, get rid of that defeated mentality. Have this new perspective. You are heavy with favor. This is your year to rise higher, to come into overflow, to see those dreams come to pass.
Now, be bold, dare to take some steps of faith. Dare to believe. God has already given you everything that you need. Thoughts will try to talk you out of it, tell you why it's not going to happen, but you have to talk back to yourself the right way. "Lord, I want to thank you that you're shining down on me. This is my due season year. Dreams are coming to pass. These problems are turning around. Lord, I believe I'm heavy with favor". When you live with this expectancy, you'll see God do things out of the ordinary.
In 2003, we had our groundbreaking services planned for this building. We were going to have 1 weekend here so everyone could see it. Then it was going to take a year and a half to finish the construction. We had this big weekend all lined up when we got word that the highway department was going to close the freeway a few hours before our services. Nobody would have been able to come. We couldn't change our plans. We had already advertised, already rented all of the equipment.
We could have thought, "Boy, we sure chose the wrong weekend for the groundbreaking". But the scripture says, "You have not because you ask not". How many things are we not seeing God do not because he wouldn't do it, but because we're not asking? We called the highway department and asked if they would change their plans for our services. They kinda laughed and said, "I'm sorry, we don't do that. This construction has been planned for years". But when you know you're heavy with favor, you don't give up because you got told, "No," one time. You go back and ask again.
We got in touch with the main person there. He got back with us a few days later and said, "We've never done this before, but we're going to make an exception for you and close the freeway after your services are over," and if you're going to see the fullness of your destiny, you've got to have this boldness to ask big, to believe big, too expect things to happen for you that may not happen for somebody else. Not arrogantly, but in humility, dare to believe.
There's something on you that causes people to want to be good to you, something that causes you to get breaks that you didn't deserve, something that causes problems that looked permanent to suddenly turn around. What is it? It's heavy favor.
I know this couple, and they have a daughter, and when she was 3 years old, something fell on these two fingers, and it cut the very tips of them off. They rushed her to the emergency room, and the surgeon eventually told the father, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I'm going to be able to do to restore your daughter's two fingers. She will never have a fingernail on those fingers, plus, they will always be a little bit shorter. The bone is missing".
Well, this father, he was respectful, but he knew he had heavy favor. He said, "Doctor, I believe God can restore my little girl's fingers and make them normal once again," and this doctor was from another country, and he didn't understand too much about faith, and he looked at the man and said, "Well, that's fine, sir. You can believe whatever you want to. I'm just telling you, the bone is missing. They will never be the right length".
When the man's wife came in, the doctor got her over to the side and said, "Your husband is in shock. He won't accept the fact that your daughter's fingers have been cut off". She had the skin graft, and 6 weeks later, they brought the little girl back for her checkup. When the doctor removed the bandages, his first words were, "Oh, my God". This father was alarmed. He said, "What's wrong"? The doctor said, "Look, the fingernails have grown back, and it looks like the two fingers are the exact right length". That was years ago. Those two fingers are still perfectly normal.
When you believe you are heavy with favor, you will see things happen that look impossible, and you may be in a situation right now where all the odds are against you. The experts say it's not going to happen. You won't get well, won't qualify for the house, won't see the dream come to pass. But what they are not taking into account is the favor on your life. If it was average favor, you may be stuck. It may not happen. But the difference is, you don't have average favor. You have heavy favor.
God is about to show out in your life. He's about to turn some things around. You're going to look up and say like this couple, "That was heavy favor. That was the goodness of God". Friends, dare to believe big. Dare to pray big. God wants to do something that you've never seen, something out of the ordinary.
Doctor Todd Price is a friend of mine, and he has a successful infectious disease practice here in town, and he does medical missions work all over the world. A few years back, when he was first getting started with his medical outreaches, he had a dream to take shoes to needy children in Africa. He told how because they didn't wear shoes, 80% of them have parasites, and it's ruining their health, and here Dr. Price is just 1 person, a busy practice. How could he make much of a difference?
But he understands that he has heavy favor, and he has this boldness to ask these big medical companies and suppliers to help him out, and his goal was to take shoes to all the children in this particular village that he was working in at that time, 3,000 kids. A shoe company here in the states heard what he was doing, called and asked, "How many pairs of shoes do you need"? He said, "Three thousand pair". They said, "We have a few more than 3,000. How about we give you a million pair of children's shoes"?
That's heavy favor. That's the way God is. When you dream big, believe big, expect big, God will supersize what you're dreaming about, and some of you, what you're praying for is way too small. What you're hoping you can accomplish is not near what God has in mind. You need to get ready. God is about to supersize it. You're going to see this heavy favor. The scripture says, "You haven't seen, heard, or imagined the amazing things God has in store that love the Lord". That's each one of you. I've seen this happen in my own life again and again. What I thought would be so great, what I was hoping to accomplish was nothing compared to what God had in mind.
In my early 20s, when I walked into that jewelry store and met Victoria for the first time, she was one of those things I had not seen, heard, or imagined. God supersized what I was dreaming about. It took heavy favor to get her, and let me tell you, it takes heavy favor to keep her. When I wrote my first book 10 years ago, "Your best life now," I thought, "Wouldn't that be amazing if it made the 'New York Times' bestsellers list"? I would have been thrilled if it had made it just for 1 week. That book was on the list for over 100 weeks in a row.
God supersized what I was dreaming about. When we moved into this building, we had signed a 60-year lease with the city of Houston. We always knew we wanted to purchase it, but the lease was the best option at the time, and this facility is worth several hundred million dollars. In 2010, the city contacted us and asked if we were interested in purchasing it. We told them we were, but of course it all depended on the price. They did all their studies, and after their evaluations, they called us back and said, "We'll sell it to you, not for $100 million, not $50 million, not $25 million. We'll sell it to you for $7 and 1/2 million dollars". That's heavy favor. That's more than we could ask or think.
Paul said, "In the ages to come, we would see the surpassing greatness of God's favor". Friends, we are living in the day Paul talked about, where we will see far and beyond favor, and if you'll get your hopes up, start expecting it, praying bold prayers, believing for the extraordinary, when you arise, God will cause you to shine. He'll show up and supersize what you're dreaming about.
There's a couple that attends here, and they have a daughter that had a heart defect. She had to have several very extensive surgeries. Today, the young lady is perfectly healthy, but those surgeries were not fully covered by their insurance. Their part of the hospital bill was over $400,000. The mother is a schoolteacher, the father a police officer. In the natural, it looked like they would be paying on that debt for a long, long time.
They didn't get discouraged. They didn't start complaining. They knew they had heavy favor, and they dared to pray these bold prayers. They said, "God, we don't see how we could get out of debt, but we know you own it all. One touch of your favor can turn it around," and one day, out of the blue, the hospital called and said, "We've never done this before, but we've decided to not only forgive your debt, but we're going to pay you back for the 2 years of payments that you've already made". They were just hoping to be debt free, but God supersized what they were dreaming about, and he'll do it for you.
1 Kings chapter 6, this enemy army was trying to overtake the israelites, but every time they made a move, the israelites already knew where they were going. And this enemy king was so frustrated, he thought one of his men was a spy. He called them together and said, "Who's the traitor? Who's leaking this inside information"? A captain spoke up and said, "King, it's none of us. There's a prophet in Israel named Elisha, and what you whisper to us in secret, he announces publicly to the israelites".
This king was furious. He said, "We're going to go get Elisha". Verse 14 says: "One night, he sent a great army with many horses and chariots to surround Elisha's house". Notice what happens when you're heavy with favor. This king was trying to capture one man. You would think he would maybe send a dozen people to get him, but he sent thousands of troops, horses, chariots, all to capture one man that was heavy with favor.
Elisha's assistant got up early in the morning and saw all the enemy forces surrounding the house. He told Elisha. Elisha said, "Don't worry, we may be outnumbered, but I know a secret. I'm heavy with favor. They may have more weapons, more equipment, more talent, but I have something more powerful than all of that, the favor of God". Elisha knew how to pray these bold prayers. He had seen God open blind eyes. He prayed for just the opposite. He said, "God, let them become blind so they don't recognize me".
They came, knocked on the door, said, "We're looking for Elisha". He said, "Elisha? You're in the wrong city. You need to go to Samaria". They said, "Thank you, sir, for your help". He said, "Let me help you some more. I'll lead you there". Elisha ended up leading this enemy army right into the hands of the israelites. Once they were surrounded and captured, their eyes were opened, and they realized it was Elisha the whole time.
And when you know you're heavy with favor, you'll see God do amazing things. He'll protect you from your enemies. He'll guide you. He'll even make you invisible to your enemies. Now, don't you dare go around weak, afraid, intimidated. You are so powerful. You are full of the anointing. You are heavy with favor. When the enemy looks at you, just like with Elisha, he thinks, "I have to send a whole army to try to stop them". He may do his best, but his best will never be enough. When you're heavy with favor, you cannot be defeated.
When my father was a young minister back in the 1950s, he would travel from town to town, speaking at small churches and conventions, and he carried his sound equipment in the trunk of his car, and one evening, he arrived at this auditorium a couple of hours early to get everything set up. Several hundred people were expected that night. It was a big deal for my father. He wanted it to all go perfect. But in the midst of the excitement, he accidentally locked his keys in the trunk of his car, couldn't get the sound equipment out.
He and some other people started working on the trunk and shaking it, jiggling it, used a coat hanger to try to get it open, no success. It looked like his big evening was ruined, and just when he was about to give up, he realized he hadn't prayed, and one thing I can tell you about my father is, he knew how to pray these bold prayers. He wasn't ashamed to pray about anything. Growing up, he would pray over the lawnmower, over the dishwasher, over anything that wouldn't work, mostly my brother Paul.
My father told all the people standing there that he was going to pray and ask God to help him open the trunk. They looked at him so strange. That seemed so far out. They were thinking, "You can't pray for a trunk to be opened," but my father did. He said, "God, I know there's nothing too hard for you, and, Lord, I need this sound equipment for my meeting tonight. I'm asking you to somehow, some way, help me to get it open".
While he was praying, the other people were laughing, mocking, kind of making fun under their breath. When he finished praying, he went over to the trunk and he shook it and jiggled it even harder than ever, but it still wouldn't open. He turned and walked away, and when he got about 10 feet from the car, they all heard this click, and they looked back, and all on its own, just like it was in slow motion, that trunk began to slowly open up just like it those other people nearly passed out.
Now, you may not need a trunk to open, but the doctors have told you that it doesn't look good. Why don't you arise and say, "God, I believe I'm heavy with favor, that you can do what medicine cannot do"? Or a child is off course, you're struggling in your finances, your dream looks impossible. Have you ever asked God to turn it around? Have you ever said, "God, I know nothing is too hard for you. You have the final say. You can get me to where I'm supposed to be". When you have this heavy favor, you'll have a boldness to believe for the fullness of your destiny.
Luke chapter 1 talks about a young lady named Mary. Mary was an ordinary teenage girl. She didn't come from an influential family. Her parents weren't wealthy, didn't have notoriety. They were poor. In that natural, there was nothing special about Mary, nothing that made her stand out. But one day, an angel appeared unto her and said, "Hello, Mary, you highly favored woman". I'm sure, at first she looked around and thought, "You've got the wrong girl. I'm not highly favored. I'm just average".
It's easy to talk yourself out of what God said about you. But if an angel were to appear to you today, he would say the same thing, "Hello, James, you highly favored man". "Hello, Marie, you highly favored woman". "Hello, Lakewood, you highly favored people". The angel went on to tell Mary that she was going to have a baby without knowing a man. And sometimes God will put things in your heart that seem very unlikely. That's why the angel started off the conversation by reminding her that she was heavy with favor, and when you face impossible situations, you have to remind yourself what the angel first said, that you too are heavy with God's favor.
Verse 44, Elizabeth said to Mary: "'You are blessed because you believed the Lord will do what he said.'" Notice, believing is the key. In other words, even though the angel said she was heavy with favor, if she had not believed it, she would have never seen this favor. God is saying to you today, "This is your due season year. Dreams are coming to pass. Problems are turning around. You're about to rise to a new level". Now, you can either let circumstances talk you out of it, or you can do like Mary and say, "God, I agree, I believe I'm heavy with favor". When you arise, God will cause you to shine.
Friends, what I'm saying is you're not a lightweight. You didn't get average favor, ordinary favor. You're heavy with favor. Dare to believe big. Pray these bold prayers. Expect God to do the extraordinary. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, you haven't seen, heard, or imagined what's coming your way. God is about to show out in your life. Get ready for breakthroughs, for promotion, for healing, for a new level of your destiny, in Jesus' name.