I recall walking into church
one Sunday morning and a lady walked in with me. She happened to see one of her friends in the lobby and she proceeded to go up and greet her. The exchange went something like this. The one lady said, “Good morning, how are you?” The other lady replied, “I’m blessed and highly favored.”
You may have heard similar greetings like this in your church. You may have even used them.
Regardless of whether you have used it or not, there is a question that needs to be addressed: is this really true? Are you promised to be blessed and highly favored? Most importantly, does God have anything to say about this?
Let’s examine this further so we can get it right.
What Does ‘Blessed and Highly Favored’ Really mean?
This phrase is straightforward. The thinking is that in every area of life you will see God’s blessing and experience his supernatural favor. By the way, if you are from a shouting church you might want to cut a step right here. It’s okay to go get your shout on then come back and finish reading the article.
To understand further, we need to see where this idea comes from. The phrase does come from the Bible, but are we using it in its proper context?
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Where Is This Concept in the Bible?
The idea of “blessed and highly favored” comes from the gospel of Luke. Notice the exchange that happens:
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! – Luke 1:26-28 (NKJV, emphasis added on highly favored and blessed)
One of the first things to acknowledge is that this proclamation was not one that Mary spoke over her own life; it was Gabriel who spoke this about her. Mary was blessed, but not because she said so, it was because God said so.
In other words, we aren’t blessed because we say it. We are blessed because God says it.
The actual word used here in the greek is “Kecharitōmenē” (pronounced key-car-it-oh-may-nay). If you translate it literally in English it means “you who have been graced.” This is the only time this form of the word is used in scripture.
There are other forms of the word grace in scripture but none used in this exact form. This lets us know that while God has called many people blessed throughout scripture and has even called people favored…only one person has he ever called highly favored.
Can We Have Some More Context Please?
To further understand this passage and statement we need to keep reading. The first thing to pay attention to is Mary’s response to this greeting.
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. – Luke 1:29 (NKJV)
Wait a minute why wasn’t Mary shouting? Why didn’t she go running through the streets of Nazareth declaring I am blessed and highly favored? Her response was much more subdued and guarded. The New Living Translation uses the words ‘confused’ and ‘disturbed.’ This alone tells us that this greeting was very unusual and Mary was not expecting it.
It still doesn’t answer the question why was Mary highly favored? The answer is found in the next few verses:
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” – Luke 1:30-33 (NKJV)
What we can glean from this I believe is very simple. Mary was highly favored because God chose her to be the one to give birth to Jesus. This was the favor she had been graced with. It doesn’t mean that Mary was more special or better than anyone else. She too would need to put her trust in Christ for salvation. It means that God had given her special grace or high favor to carry out this particular assignment.
We can all receive favor from God and we often do. However, only one person can claim the distinction of ‘highly favored’ and that is Mary. This is the only time this term was used and rightfully so, because no one else on earth would ever give birth to Jesus.
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Is This a Promise to Be Claimed?
We have every right to claim the blessings and promises of God for our lives, as long as we meet the conditions, because many promises and blessings are conditional.
However, this statement of “blessed and highly favored” was neither a promise nor a blessing.
It was a proclamation made by God to one woman, Mary.
So yes, you can experience the blessings of God and be blessed. Yes, you can see and experience the favor of God in your life. However, unless you plan on giving birth to another Jesus (which we know is not going to happen), then this “promise” doesn’t apply to you.
How Do We Claim the Promises and Blessings of God?
The answer to this question is very straightforward. You must meet the conditions. Most of the promises of God are conditional. They require something from you in exchange for receiving from God. That something could be faith, obedience, sacrifice, giving, seeking, knocking—but it is something that is given in exchange.
Let me give you an example. The greatest promise we have from God is salvation and eternal life. However, to receive this gift or promise of salvation and eternal life it requires confession, belief in your heart, and repentance from sin.
God is willing to give it freely but we have to be willing to ask for it.
Therefore, if you don’t meet the condition, you don’t receive the promise.
Unfortunately, too many people want to experience God’s blessings but have no real interest in following God’s conditions. If you want to experience all of the best God has for you in this life then you have to be willing to do it his way. Remember Joshua 1:8:
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
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What Does the Bible Say about Blessing?
Let me be clear: if you are in Christ you are blessed. Ephesians 1:3 reminds us:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Where we sometimes go wrong is we too often equate the blessing of God with only the material things. The blessings of God that matter most are not food, clothing, and money. These things are important, don’t get me wrong.
However, the blessings that aren’t always seen are the most important…and the ones that matter most. How important is peace, joy, hope, and confidence in a God who will never leave you or forsake you?
When you grab hold of these spiritual blessings you truly begin to experience God’s favor that shines regardless of the situations you are facing.
To be blessed and highly favored may not mean what you thought, but it doesn’t discount the fact that if you are in Christ you are blessed. I encourage you to grab hold of all of the promises and blessings that God has for you in Christ. God’s desire is to shower you with grace and favor. He requires that you walk in agreement with the conditions of his promises, but when you do—watch all that God will do in your life.
A Prayer of Gratitude for God’s Spiritual Blessings
Today I acknowledge all of the spiritual blessings you have bestowed on me because of Christ. I choose today to align my life with your conditions so I can experience all of your promises. I am blessed because of the work Christ has done for me and I receive them freely because of your grace. Amen.