Joel Osteen - The Power of Favor
I want to talk to you today about The Power of Favor. What God has in your future can't be accomplished on your own. The places he's going to take you, you can't get there by yourself. There will be obstacles to 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 you can't open, something that will make you stand out in the crowd, it's called favor. Favor will cause good brakes 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 that was so against you, for some reason they changed, now there for you. That wasn't a coincidence, that was the favor of God.
And we can work hard, be faithful, be diligent. 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 breathed his favor on you, things will happen that you couldn't make happen. Opportunity 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 right person will 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, 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 above 450 feet long. 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, you have something that makes up for all of that, favor is on your life. And 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 that 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, compromise to get you away. If someone is not for you, you don't need them. Don't waste time trying to win them over, the people God has lined up for you, they 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, expecting the favor on your life will cause the right people to show up.
But the people in Noah's day, they didn't care anything about God, they were living wild, partying, worshipping idols. God was so upset, he was about to destroy the earth, bring 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 people around him? They were about to perish. The next verse says, "Noah consistently 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.
"Well, Joel, if I have favor, why am I having these difficulties? Why do 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. 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 that has more influence, more credibility, a bigger following. When they put their name on your book, because they have such prominence, that instantly gives you more credibility.
Oprah Winfrey used to have her book club. When she would endorse a book, the author may not have been known, nobody's ever heard of them. Without the endorsement, the book would sell a couple thousand copies, but when she got on her talk show, said: this is a great book, you should read it, that simple endorsement would cause it to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. And it's great to have people's endorsement, you need to get ready, the Creator of the universe is about to endorse you. God is going to make things happen so big, so amazing, that people will know, it couldn't have been you. The medical report said you were done, how would 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, 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 the kings God. Well, Daniel worship Jehovah, he made this decision, he wasn't going to compromise, so he kept praying like normal. Some people saw him, ran and told the king. The king had Daniel thrown into a den of hungry lions. That should have been the end, but for some reason, the lions couldn't open their mouths. I can hear those lines talking, "I'm hungry, I want to eat this guy, but my jaws are messed up". Favor doesn't keep you out of the lion's den, but favor will keep the lions from harming you.
The next morning the king went to check on Daniel. When he found out, he 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 lines weren't hungry that day". When they brought Daniel out, the king had them throw the people in that were against Daniel. Before they hit the bottom of the pit, the lions tore them apart. People saw that they knew, the Lord was on Daniels side. God is going to do some things, that bring you into prominence, into new levels of influence, 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, graduating with honors, when they see you breaking the addiction, beating the cancer, when God endorses you, you come out of the lion's den unharmed, you accomplish dreams way over your head, they will know, his hand is on your life. God is 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 shepherd's fields, taking care of his father sheep. 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, it's too late to accomplish a dream, you'll never get well. What God can do for you in one moment will put you 50 years down the road. That's the power of God endorsing you. You've seen on certain products a seal of approval, maybe on the outside of the box, a company has stamped it. It can be a little-known product, nobody's ever heard of it, but when that big company puts their stamp on it, their seal, that product has notoriety 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, they don't know what's on you, they can't see the favor yet, but when God endorses, when he shows out, they're not going to have any doubt - the Lord is on your side.
Josephs brothers threw him into a pit, they eventually sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused, put in prison for something he didn't do. All the odds were against him, but the scripture says: "Joseph had favor in everything that he did". One thing I've learned is: you can't keep a favored man down, you can't keep a favored woman down. You may have some obstacles, situations that are not fair, 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. And Joseph spent 13 years in the background, being overlooked, mistreated, there were plenty of lonely nights. He didn't get bitter, he kept doing the right thing. And one day the Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, so they brought Joseph in.
Now he was standing in front of one of the most powerful people of that day. Joseph interpreted the dream, the Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph the prime minister, second in command. I can imagine, that meeting took no longer than an hour. Joseph walked in a slave in prison, an hour later he walked out 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 an hour not just deliver you, not just bring a dream to pass, but 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, supernatural doors will open, obstacles that look permanent will turn around, people that were against you will suddenly before you.
Years later Joseph's brothers came to the palace, looking for food, the same ones that threw him into the pit. There was a great famine in their country and they had traveled to Egypt. Well, now Joseph was in charge of the food supply, the prime minister. They did their best to keep him down, but God knows how to endorse, he knows how to put you in a position of prominence. You may kind of 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. Now I've learned, the greater the opposition, the greater the endorsement, the more the enemy tries to pull you back, the more you're going to go forward. Just like a bow and arrow, he thinks he's pulling you back to hinder you, he doesn't realize, he's setting you up to shoot further 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, 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.
For over 40 years Lakewood was located in a neighborhood on the northeast side of town. Over time that area became more industrial and a little more rundown. When I was growing up, Lakewood was in a small metal building. Metal folding chairs, gravel parking lot, we had a wood portable building for the nurseries. And some people kind of looked down on us, like 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, that weren't a part of Lakewood, they wouldn't give me the time of day, they barely even acknowledged that I was there. But in December of 2003 the Houston city council voted for us to have this building, the former Compaq Center. We went from being in the industrial part of town with small roads in a neighborhood, where anybody could hardly 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 lifetime. Those same people that wouldn't give me the time of day, now they were coming up asking, 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 gonna 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, 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 leak, things that you couldn't make happen, not only amazes you, but people around you are going to be amazed.
But people congratulated me for getting the Compaq Center. I thought: if you only knew, yes, I prayed, I believed, but God made things happen that I could have never made happen. The scripture says: "God will turn the heart of a king". God turned council members, that had been against us for years, 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 that you've never seen: promotion, influence, relationships, that will thrust you to a new level. But that city council vote probably took ten minutes, the mayor brought the motion to the floor, there was a little discussion, then they went around the table and 14 council members voted. It's amazing what God can do in 10 minutes. That 10 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. God has some of these destiny moments already lined up for you. You can't see it now. If he showed you, you'd think there's no way, but when God endorses you it's not like people show in your favor. When God does it, it catapults you ahead. It's not going to take a long time, yes, you have to be faithful, Joseph was in trouble for 13 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, 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 calls, offers you the promotion, the medical report says no more cancer, the contract goes through or you 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".
Joshua chapter 3, 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 put in you. You've been in the background, Joshua, serving Moses, being faithful, but today you're coming into the foreground". Not long after that Joseph 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 where he will make you great, where 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 40 years, so faithful, pouring into the children. She got one promotion after another, after a lengthy career, very distinguished, she'd retired. A few months later a new school was opening in the district, the board voted anonymously 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 this is 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. 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. 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, he's going to show people who you really are. He's going to bring you into a position of greater prominence. Now you may be behind the scenes like I used to be. 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 that are ahead, but God doesn't want you to live in a cheerleader mode, always thinking about how great others are.
Can I tell you? There is greatness in you. You have talent, creativity, ability, courage, strength, it's going to come out in a greater way. 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.
There was a young Jewish girl in the scripture named Esther. She was an orphan, she had lost both of her parents, she was living in exile in Persia, didn't look like 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. When 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 fashion, all had the best hair in makeup. I could imagine the king looked at their resumes. Some of them came from wealth and influence, some had impressive resumes, great education, 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 have bought any house in the neighborhood, for some reason they liked yours best. There were plenty of students that deserve 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 resume. 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 become an 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: he knew, she would use the influence to fulfill her purpose.
Favor is not about having a bigger house, a better car, more stuff. There's nothing wrong with that, but that's not why God is going to favor you - it's 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 "That days", where God will shine more, 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, 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, in Jesus name.