The best definition of the word favor is “demonstrated delight.” The favor of God can be described as “tangible evidence that a person has the approval of the Lord.” When we favor someone, we want to be with him or her. We delight in him. We connect with her in a way we don’t connect with everyone. We usually favor people who also favor us. In the same way, God shows favor to the ones who delight in, connect with, and give honor to Him. Isaiah 66:2 says, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Second Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” To be “perfect” toward Him means we seek His favor more than we seek the favor of anyone else, even ourselves.
Favor is closely related to grace in the Bible. Those who have received Jesus as their Savior are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). They know the favor of God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), but those who have saving faith in God’s Son are declared righteous (Romans 4:5; Philippians 3:9) and live in God’s favor. The most basic answer to “how can I get God’s favor” is “believe in the Lord Jesus.”
God seeks out those who love Him and love His commands so that He can bless, guide, and protect them (Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 3:5–6). This does not mean that everyone who is prosperous or healthy has found favor with God (Jeremiah 12:1; Psalm 37:7; 73:16). Nor does it mean that those whom the Lord favors will never suffer difficulties. Many people in the Bible had the Lord’s favor but also suffered hardship (2 Corinthians 6:4; Acts 14:22; 20:23; 1 Peter 2:19). Heroes such as Noah (Genesis 6:8), Moses (Exodus 32:11; 33:13), Daniel (Daniel 10:19), and Mary (Luke 1:28) were favored of the Lord, but they also struggled with difficulties like anyone else.
Those who are favored of God know that God is with them and that nothing can happen to them apart from His good purpose (Romans 8:28). They have His ear as they walk through dark valleys (Psalm 34:15) and know that their struggle to remain true to Him will not go unrewarded (Matthew 10:42; Revelation 2:10). In addition to outward evidences, God’s favor can be felt in the spirit. When we have the favor of the Lord, we rest in quiet confidence that our sins are forgiven (Romans 4:7), we are within the plan of God (Psalm 86:11), and that He is there for us at all times (Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20). We walk with God as with our closest friend. We begin to see and appreciate the little blessings that God provides for our enjoyment—blessings that we once took for granted.
The Lord invites us to seek His favor (Psalm 119:58, 135; 2 Kings 13:4; Jeremiah 26:19; Zephaniah 2:3). When we seek His favor, we humble our hearts before Him (2 Kings 22:19); seek Him for Himself, not just for the blessings He gives (Jeremiah 29:13); and arrange our lives around loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). We seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
One way to obtain favor from the Lord is to seek wisdom. Proverbs 8:35 says, “For those who find me [wisdom] find life and receive favor from the LORD.” Psalm 5:12 says, “Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Finding favor with the Lord keeps our lives and thoughts pure because we desire to please Him more than we desire to please ourselves. Hebrews 11:25 says of Moses, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” When the same can be said of us, we know we have found favor with God. His delight in us will be demonstrated.