Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:1-19
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sin. (Ps. 51:1-2 NLT)
Wayne Jacobsen in his book He Loves Me has a chapter entitled the Tyranny of the Favor Line. What is the favor line? He defines the “favor line” “as that invisible line that tells us whether or not we’ve met enough of someone’s expectations to merit their approval. It’s impossible to live in this world without recognizing its impact on every area of life.”
My parents had a favor line. When I did things that pleased my father such as mowing the grass, taking out the ashes, and spading the garden he would show his approval by making homemade ice cream. But when I failed or was slow in responding, the only thing I could expect would be a reprimand.
My school had a favor line. High grades brought praise and special privileges whereas poor grades meant more homework. Kids knew how to play the favor line too, especially if you helped them with answers on a test.
My friends had a favor line. As long as I let them play with my toys I enjoyed the benefits of their friendship, but if I withheld them they would turn on me like a cat would turn on a canary.
My work place had a favor line. Those who achieved or exceeded expectations found themselves in the bosses’ good graces, with all the perks that favor brought.
We’ve learned to survive in this world by currying the favor of those in important positions of power. We see this in government with the activities of special interest groups. We see it in the marketplace, in the schools, in the workplace, in churches, and in homes. When we see this all around us it is natural for us to assume that God has a favor line as well. But when trouble, disappointments, and failures encroach upon us, we begin to wonder how God feels about us. We think: Does he love me? Have I offended him? What can I do to get back into his good graces?
Are there events in your past that have left you disappointed and questioning God’s love for you? Are you overwhelmed with your failures? Ask God to show you how thinking you had to play the favor line with him was misguided and anti-biblical. Come to the realization that finding favor with God has nothing to do with what you can do for him, but has everything to do with what he has already done for you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to find favor with you like King David did from a heart that is in tune with you.