Joel Osteen — Living Favor-Minded
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I want to talk to you today about living favor minded. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, "I will bless you with an abundant increase of favors". Not one or just two. He said, "I'm going to do favors for you in abundance". You and I are the seed of Abraham. What if we could really believe this, that the Creator of the universe wants to do favors for you?
Most of the time we think, "Oh, Joel. God's got bigger things to deal with than me. He's not interested in that". No, you are God's biggest deal. He wants to make you an example of his goodness. When you keep God first place, when you honor him with your life, God puts something on you that causes you to stand out in the crowd, something that gives you an advantage. It causes good breaks and opportunities to be attracted to you. It's called the favor of God. The word favor means, "To assist, to provide with advantages, to receive preferential treatment".
The favor of God will cause you to be promoted even though you weren't the most qualified. God's favor will cause your children to get the best teachers in school. It will help you find the best deals at the mall. It will put you at the right place at the right time. God is saying to you what he said to Abraham, "I'm going to assist you. I'm going to provide you with advantages, I'm going to cause you to receive preferential treatment". "Well, Joel. This never happens for me. I must not have this favor".
No, you do have it but the reason many people don't experience it is they're not releasing their faith in this area. They're not expecting good breaks. They don't expect preferential treatment. They have an underdog mentality. "Everybody gets promoted except me". "I put my house on the market. Should have known it wouldn't sell". "Went to the grocery store. Got in the longest line. Just my luck". No, if you're going to experience this favor you have to live favor minded. That means you're expecting it and you're declaring it.
Every day before you leave the house you should say, "Father, thank you that I have your favor". Then go out expecting good things to happen. Expect doors to open for you that may not open for somebody else. You have an advantage. There is something special about you. You have the favor of God. And I'm not talking about being arrogant and thinking that we're better than somebody else. I'm talking about living with boldness - not because of who we are but because of whose we are. You are a child of the Most High God. Your Father created the whole universe. You can expect preferential treatment.
Think about if you were born into the Rockefeller family. You're going to have some advantages. If you were born into the Kennedy family, the Bill Gates family, you're going to be treated differently. You're going to expect favor that other people may not expect. The good news today is you have been born into the right family. You come from a royal bloodline. Your Father owns it all. Now you need to hold your head up high and start expecting to stand out in the crowd. Start expecting good breaks, divine connections, opportunities to come your way. You have favor because of who your Father is.
I know as a child, as a young boy, I received preferential treatment because of my earthly father. We used to travel with my dad during the summers when he would speak at these large conferences. One time we were in Chicago in the lobby of this big hotel. I was about ten years old. My sister April was seven and I was standing at the coffee shop admiring the pictures of milkshakes they had up on the wall that they sold.
This older lady came by and she said, "Aren't you John Osteen's children"? I said with a smile, "Yes, ma'am. We are". She said, "How about I buy you one of those milkshakes you're looking at"? I thought about it for about two tenths of a second and said, "That would be nice". She bought us a milkshake. It wasn't because of anything that I had done. She did me a favor simply because of who my father was. The rest of the week I hung out at that coffee shop. (
When I was nineteen years old, I got pulled over by a policeman for driving too fast. This officer was kind of gruff. He seemed like he was having a bad day. I was young and nervous. My heart was beating so fast. He came over to my window and I handed him my driver's license. He stared at it for the longest time. A minute or two. It seemed like forever. Then he finally looked at me and said, "Are you related to that uh... That uh..". He said it three times. "That uh... Preacher"?
By the way he said it I didn't know if it was going to be a good thing to be related to my father. I smiled and said, "It depends". He said, "What do you mean it depends"? I said, "It depends on whether or not you like him". He looked up in the air like he was trying to decide. I thought, "That's not a good sign if he has to think about it". He looked at me and said, "Yeah, I watch him on television a lot. I kind of like him". I said, "Good. Because that's my father. He sure wouldn't want you to give me a ticket".
Believe it or not he let me go. What was that? Preferential treatment because of who my father was. Now why don't you start carrying yourself like you're a child of the King? Why don't you start expecting some advantages, some good breaks, even some preferential treatment? Instead of thinking, "Oh, Joel. Nobody likes me at work. I'll never get ahead". No. Start declaring, "I have the favor of God. People are drawn to me. People want to be good to me. People go out of their way to be nice". That's not just being positive. That's releasing your faith.
If you're going to see an abundant increase of God's favors you can't have a limited, short end of the stick, underdog mentality. It says in Psalms that God has crowned you with his favor. You may not be able to see it but everywhere you go you are wearing a crown on your head. That crown does not represent lack, bad breaks, mediocrity, barely getting by. It represents the favor of God. It represents the fact that the Creator of the universe breathed his life into you. In the unseen realm, the spiritual world, all the forces of darkness, just like they can see you wearing your robe of righteousness, they can see your crown of favor on your head. That tells them that you've been set apart. They can see you have a right to preferential treatment. They can see there is something different about you.
But here is the problem. If you don't see yourself the right way, it's going to limit you. When you need an advantage, a good break, instead of shrinking back and thinking, "Oh, what's the use? It's never going to happen". No, stand up tall and imagine that crown of favor on your head. Let that be a reminder that you have a right to live in victory. You have a right to stand out in the crowd. You have a right to these special advantages. When I look out at all of you today through my eyes of faith I can see your crown of favor. I see royalty. I see increase. I see new doors opening. I see problems turning around. I see dreams coming to pass.
When the enemy tells you those lies that, "You're never going to get promoted. Your boss doesn't even like you". "You're never going to take that missions trip. You don't have the connections". "You'll never sell your house. The market is too tight". No. Tell him, "Hang on just a minute. I've got to fix something up here". He says, "What are you doing"? "I'm straightening my crown of favor. I'm making sure that it's on tight". See, you're not average. You're not ordinary. You come from a Royal family. You can expect advantages that other people may not expect. God has crowned you with his favor.
I received a letter from a lady. She is a single parent mother. She immigrated to the United States from Europe many years ago. English is not her first language. She had three small children. She didn't know how she would ever be able to afford to send them to college. It seemed like she was at a disadvantage; in a foreign country all alone, didn't know anybody. She applied for a job as a secretary at a prestigious university. Several dozen other people applied for the same position. When she saw all the competition she was tempted to feel intimidated. Negative thoughts were bombarding her mind.
To make matters worse, the lady conducting the interview was not nice to her at all. She was harsh, condescending. This mother, she didn't get frustrated by it. She didn't have an underdog mentality, "What's the use? I'm at a disadvantage". No, she knew she was wearing a crown of favor. She knew God could cause her to stand out in the crowd. The whole time she was there, under her breath, "Lord, thank you for your favor". All the applicants had to take a five minute typing test. She was not a great typist. She started typing, doing her best. The bell went off saying that her five minutes was up.
She stopped typing but the lady in charge had gotten distracted answering a phone call. She said to the lady gruffly, "Keep typing. That's not your bell". Well, it was her bell. It was right in front of her. She said, "Okay" and typed another five minutes. They added up the number of words she typed - ten minutes worth - and divided it by five and she by far had the best typing skills and ended up getting the job. One of the benefits of working for this university is that your children get to go to school for free. That was over 30 years ago. Today, all three of her children have graduated from this very prestigious university. Over $700,000 in education all free of charge.
What was that? An abundant increase of favor. Friends, God knows how to give you an advantage. He knows how to put you at the right place at the right time. Instead of thinking, "It's never going to happen. I always get the short end of the stick". No, why don't you straighten your crown of favor. Why don't you start declaring, "The favor of God is opening the right doors for me. The favor of God is causing me to stand out. The favor of God is taking me where I could not go on my own". That's what it means to live favor minded. You're expecting it and you're declaring it.
I was at the airport ticket counter back in the 1990's. Victoria and I were headed to new Delhi, India. My father was having a large pastors' conference. We were going over a few days early. I was hand carrying a television camera. It was very expensive. I didn't want to check it. I had taken it on board before but the lady at the counter was very opposed to that. She said, "Sir, you don't have a choice. Put it back in the case and check it like luggage". I was very polite but I explained to her that I really wanted to carry it on board to protect it and that I had done it several times before even on that same airline. She wasn't about to budge.
I didn't get upset. I knew I had a secret weapon. While she continued to check us in, under my breath I started saying, "Lord, thank you that your favor is giving me an advantage. Thank you that your favor will cause me to have preferential treatment". I asked her if there was anyone I could talk to about possibly making an exception. She said, "The only person that has that authority would be the captain of the flight himself. He's busy. He can't be bothered. He's getting prepared for the flight".
About that time a gentleman walked up wearing a uniform. Very nice. Very kind. He could see that we were discussing something. He asked her what the problem was. She said, "Well, he wants to take this camera on board but it's kind of awkward. And plus, it's expensive. We can't be responsible if something happens to it". He asked me what flight I was on. I said, "We're going to new Delhi, India". He said, "Oh! I'm the captain of that flight. You can put it in my compartment right behind the cockpit". That girl's eyes got that big around. I wanted to say, "Nanny nanny boo boo".
What are the chances of that captain, thousands of people in the airport, walking up right when I needed him? That wasn't a lucky break. It wasn't a coincidence. It was the favor of God giving me special advantages. God's favor will put the right people at the right place at the right time.
Some of you today, you need to get your crown of favor out. Dust it off and put it back on your head. You're not expecting these advantages. You need to start expecting good breaks. Start expecting people to want to help you. God wants to show you an abundant increase of his favors but if you're not releasing your faith for it, it will limit what he can do.
I've learned you can't reach your highest potential on your own. You can't fulfill your God given destiny by yourself. You need God's favor. You need him to assist you, to provide you with advantages, to cause you to have preferential treatment. But if we're passive and think, "Oh, Joel. If God wants to bless me he'll bless me. If he wants to give me a good break he is God. He will give me a good break". No, God is moved by our faith. When you expect it and declare it that's when the Creator of the universe can show up and do amazing things.
It takes a boldness to believe that almighty God will do you favors. Every voice will tell you, "What are you talking about? God is not interested in you. You don't deserve it. Who do you think you are"? Just put your shoulders back and say, "A child of the Most High God crowned with his favor". Think about as parents how we love to do favors for our children. Well how much more does God want to do favors for you, his child? My question, "Are you expecting it? Are you declaring it"?
Psalm 5 says that God's favor surrounds us like a shield. If it surrounds us that means it's with us everywhere we go. You have favor at work, favor at the grocery store, favor at the gym, favor in traffic, favor at the mall. The more aware you are of this favor, the more conscious you are that God wants to assist you, the more you'll see his hand at work.
All through the day, even if it's under our breath, we should get in this habit, "Lord, thank you for your favor. Thank you that I have favor with my boss and clients. Lord, thank you that my children have favor with their teachers, coaches". At the grocery store, "Lord, thank you that your favor is helping me find what I need". In traffic, "Lord, thank you that your favor is making a way. You work in real estate, "Lord, thank you that your favor is shining down on my properties causing them to sell". See, God wants to help you in your everyday life. Not just the big things.
One time Victoria and I were taking our children to the zoo. It was about 10 o'clock in the morning. We didn't think anybody would be there. But when we arrived the place was packed. We didn't realize it was spring break and all the children were out of school. The parking lot was so backed up, the traffic. People were everywhere. We drove around and around the parking area, up and down, back and forth. Couldn't find any place.
Just as we were about to leave I did what I'm asking you. Under my breath I said, "Lord, thank you for your favor. Thank you for helping us find a parking spot so we can have fun with our children". This is not a magic formula. I was simply acknowledging God. The scripture says, "When you acknowledge God, he will crown your efforts with success". A couple of minutes later, just like it was perfectly on cue, as I was driving around this car backed out. We were able to pull in. My first words were, "Lord, thank you for your favor".
When something good happens recognize it's the favor of God and then learn to thank him for it. At the office, all of the sudden you have a good idea. It comes out of nowhere. "Lord, thank you for your favor". At the mall you find what you want on sale. At lunch you bump into somebody you've been wanting to meet. Those aren't lucky breaks. Those aren't coincidences. That's the favor of God. If you will recognize it and thank God for it, you'll see more of his favor.
I was at the mall a couple of years ago with Victoria. She had a couple of things she wanted to buy so I went up to the counter to pay. I was just minding my own business. I said hello to the lady and smiled. Just no big deal. She said, "This blouse goes on sale this weekend. I'll go ahead and give you the sale price today". After I thanked her, under my breath, "Lord, thank you for your favor". She looked at the other shirt. At the very bottom there was a little place where the fabric was messed up. You could barely even see it; very minor. She said, "That's not right. Let me see what I can do". She went away and came back and said, "If it's okay with you we'll mark this down to half price". I said, "I guess it will be okay".
She didn't have to do that. I wouldn't have known any differently. That was the favor of God causing people to be good to me. I walked out of there saying, "Lord, thank you for your favor. I recognize your goodness in my life". When you live favor minded God will cause good breaks to chase you down. He will cause people to go out of their way to do you favors.
A friend of mine was refinishing a piece of furniture at home. She was using this electric sander that she'd had for many years. At one point a part broke off of it and it wouldn't work anymore. She went up to the hardware store. This gentleman came over to wait on her. She had put the old sander and the broken part in a Lakewood Church bag that she happened to have at home. She pulled it out and asked the man if they carried that part. He looked at her very strangely and said, "No. We don't carry that brand". Then he reached up off the shelf, got a brand new sander, top of the line and said, "Here, I want you to have this. I'm giving it to you".
She had never seen the man before. She said, "What do you mean? You're going to give it to me"? He said, "Yes. It's my gift. Take it up to the counter and give them my number: 5-5-5". She went to the counter and there were several lines each with people in them. She was waiting at the back of the line and one of the checkers, a lady, looked over and said, "Excuse me, ma'am. Come up here to the front. I want to check you out now". My friend pointed to herself. She said, "You mean me"? She said, "Yes, you. The highly favored woman".
She got up there and explained, "This man said he was going to give me this sander". The checker said, "I don't know if he can do that. Who is he"? She said, "I don't know his name but he said his number was 5-5-5". She said, "He can do anything he wants. He is the regional manager". Just before my friend left she said, "Why did you call me up here in front of all these people"? She said, "I saw your Lakewood church bag. I watch every Sunday. I know if you go to Lakewood you must be highly favored". That's what I believe about all of you. The Creator of the universe has put favor on you.
David understood this principle. He said, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". He was saying, "Favor follows me everywhere I go". David knew he had an advantage. He knew God would assist him, that he could expect preferential treatment. He was living with a favor mindset. The truth is, something is going to follow you throughout life.
If you go around thinking, "I never get any good breaks. Nothing good ever happens to me," then defeat, lack, mediocrity will follow you around. But if you'll switch over into this favor mindset and have the attitude, "God's favor is giving me advantages. God's favor is causing me to stand out. God's favor is bringing victory into my life".
When you live like that good breaks will chase you down. Favor, increase, promotion will be what's following you. What would happen if we would get up each day and pray this simple prayer from Genesis 12:2? "God, I want to thank you today for an abundant increase of your favor. Lord, I thank you in advance for assisting me, for providing me with advantages, for causing me to have preferential treatment". That's how you will step into the fullness of your destiny.
I talked to a gentleman that was in town for a job interview. It was a very important position. Executives were flying in from around the country to interview for this job. He really wanted it but he told how he wasn't the most qualified, didn't have the most experience, on and on, all the reasons why he shouldn't get it. I told him what I'm telling you. Every day you need to speak favor over that situation. "Father, thank you that your favor is causing me to stand out. Lord, thank you that your favor is shining down on me causing them to want to hire me".
I saw him several months later right out there in the lobby. He was beaming from ear to ear. I knew he had gotten the position. But he said, "Joel, it was the strangest thing. When the executives called me in to give me the good news they were scratching their heads. They said, 'we don't really know why we're hiring you. You're not the most qualified. You don't have the best resume. There's just something about you that we like. There's something. We can't put our finger on it but causes you to stand out.'"
That's what it says in numbers. "God will make his face shine down on you and give you his favor". When you live favor minded it's just like a bright light shining down on you. It will cause you to go places that you could not go on your own. Other people may have more talent, more experience, more education, but the favor of God will cause you to stand out. Every day you need to imagine you're not only wearing a crown of favor but God's light is shining down on you. You are glowing with God's goodness. You are radiating with God's favor.
Now get up every morning expecting it and declaring it-not because of who you are but because of whose you are. Remember, you've been born into the right family. You've come from a royal bloodline. If you'll develop this habit of living favor minded, I believe and declare, God is going to assist you, provide you with advantages; cause you to have preferential treatment. You need to get ready. You're going to see an abundant increase of favor. It's going to thrust you into the fullness of your destiny. In Jesus' name.