(1 Samuel KJV) And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
The thing that makes this scripture so exciting is that it clearly shows the correlation between spiritual growth and favor. That would also indicate that favor is a byproduct of spiritual growth because all Godly favor comes from Him.
I suppose there are times in everyone’s life when they feel they have less favor than at other times. When that happens one should check the progress of their spiritual growth and see if their relationship with the Lord has changed in any way.
I once heard a concert pianist say, “If I do not practice for one day I can tell the difference in my performance...if I do not practice for a week my piano coach can tell the difference...if I do not practice for a month the world can tell the difference.”
Our relationship with the Lord is pretty much the same way. When one walks close to the Lord they seem to be more favor-conscious than when they do not walk close to the Lord.
Jesus spent much of His teaching time using natural things (such as trees, fish and rocks etc.) as examples to make spiritual points. These types of teaching methods have always been very effective; therefore I would like to use the same method in making my point on spiritual growth.
I have a pastor friend who spent many years on tour as a professional golfer. Some time ago he shared something with me concerning golf fairways. It still remains active in my mind. What he shared with me is a natural example of one’s spiritual maturity.
I have always been aware that there was a difference in each person’s spiritual maturity; therefore our expectation of that person should reflect that difference. However, the more I think about it the more I realize I do not fully understand where each person’s spiritual maturity actually starts and ends.
My friend explained that the fairways on a municipal golf course could be about one hundred yards wide. The fairways on a golf course hosting the PGA Tour are about forty yards wide. The fairways on the golf course hosting the U.S. Open are about twenty-five yards wide. That means the penalty for hitting a ball in the rough in a U.S. Open tournament is much more severe than hitting a ball in the rough on a municipal golf course.
A new Christian (or an immature Christian) is like a municipal golf course. There is a lot of room for growing and making mistakes.
The more mature Christian is like the PGA tour golf fairways. This person is more accountable for their actions because there is less room for mistakes.
The fully mature Christian is like the US Open golf fairways. Their accountability to God is the highest because of their level of intimacy with Him which is born out of a lifetime of learning through trials and tests.
The fact is…God gives favor to all of His children, but not all of His children are as favor-conscious as the more mature group.
The point that I want to make is that favor and spiritual maturity are twins and should develop together.
I am so happy that You desire for all of Your children to walk in Your wonderful favor. Help us Lord to mature each day so that we come to realize that all good things come from You. Help us to be patient with others that are less mature so those who are more mature will be patient with us.