November 7, 2012

Declaring Yourself "Blessed and Highly Favored"? Slow Down A Bit...
I used to speak regularly with someone who often declared herself to be "blessed and highly favored." When I telephoned her and would ask "how are you doing"? or "how is it going with you"?, the instant answer was always "I am blessed and highly favored!" Her answer came too quickly, almost as if no thought went into the response.

I understand what many people teach about speaking only those words that reflect the reality you wish to experience. I think I have a least a little bit of understanding regarding why this type of thinking is so popular. I am not sure it's a good idea, or even biblical, but it is popular.

I suppose we all like to think we are blessed of the Lord, but what does it mean to be highly favored?

I reflect upon two persons from Scripture (Mary, Jesus' mother and the Apostle Paul)  I would consider to be "blessed and highly favored" of the Lord, but their lives were challenging, often difficult, no doubt spiritually powerful, and filled with joyful heights and incredible lows. These are not lives I would choose for myself. Would you?

Many people (including myself) consider Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be a woman blessed and highly favored. In her beautiful song in the first chapter of the Book of Luke, Mary states that all generations will call her blessed:

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

This song is a beautiful affirmation of God's goodness and love, despite the circumstances of daily life and the pressures of history.

All generations of many Christian traditions have called Mary blessed. Some have elevated her to near-Godhood (not a good thing), but she remains a key figure in Scripture. You cannot understand salvation or the Incarnation without respecting Mary's role in God's work in the Earth.

Still, let's look at the facts of Mary's life: a single mother, who risked losing her engagement to an honest, honorable man because she accepted God's will in her life; the parent of a difficult---note  the youthful Jesus' decision to remain in Jerusalem when his Earthly parents returned to their home -- and "different" child; watching this adult child experience extreme success and extreme political failure and then suffer an excruciating, execution style death; being handed over (by that son) to the care of one of His friends (John, the beloved apostle); worshiping with her son's disciples (see Acts Chapter 1) after His ascension, knowing she would never see Him again on earth; in a sense losing Him a second time.

Yes, it was a great life. But it was a roller coaster ride I doubt many of us would sign up for.

To be "blessed and highly favored" suggests the willingness and openness to live whatever life God choses to offer us. This does not always mean success, popularity, prosperity, or wellness. It can and often does mean those things, but it could as easily mean the opposite. I have no doubt that some of the most highly "blessed and favored" people live in obscurity, and struggle with deep spiritual challenges. Their lives are powerful witnesses of God's glory and power  in the "ugly places" of life.

Yes, I would like to consider myself as blessed of the Lord. But in the end, I think that's someone else's call, and not mine. I will be content to hear these words at the end:  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." --Matthew25:34.


blkroc said...

This is well said. You have an understanding that is very scriptural. I appreciate this article. I searched for it after I saw a relative's Skype profile with "Highly Favored" and I looked it up in the bible, saw what it meant and I had the same question. Thanks, much. God bless.

deborah evans, deborahevans100 at gmail dot com said...

Thank you for your comments. I am glad you found something useful and uplifting in this article! Blessings, Deb

sk said...

I'm not sure what you're saying. What's wrong with claiming favor and blessings?

deborah evans, deborahevans100 at gmail dot com said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with claiming favor and blessings.

The point I hoped to make is that if you are a child of God, you already have incredible blessings assigned to you by God: eternal life, the Holy Spirit living within you to guide, protect, and care for you, Jesus as our intercessor and great high priest, an eternal home secured and waiting for us with God, spiritual and physical power to do the things God wants us to do in the Earth, material needs anticipated and met, etc.

We were chosen by God to be His children before the foundation of the world. Can anyone be any more blessed and highly favored than that?

Also, as you study scripture, you will see that some of the greatest heroes and heroines of faith had the most challenging lives: Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Mary, and Paul just to name a few.

I've decided the only declaration of "blessed and highly favored" that really counts is not what I or others say about me, but it is what God says over me. His declaration has already been established and it's all good. It's up to me to live it out in faith and obedience.

Albert said...

You know that roller coaster ride happens in life with anyone, even rich people become depressed at some point. They lose family and won't see them again until, and if, they make it to heaven. I live a roller coaster ride right now, I will declared this life for I know up's and down's are going to come at me regardless. The good thing is that YHWH has been so good to me that even while I am going through this difficult time I will find favor and have joy because he is my strength. I understand what you are saying, so I am willing because I love God that much. There are other things that happens to people blessed and highly favored besides misery, they who receive Christ will go to heaven if they follow after they receive. :) well God bless child of God. :)

deborah evans, deborahevans100 at gmail dot com said...

Thank you, Albert, for your comments.
I never intended to leave the impression that only misery happens to those who are blessed and highly favored. Scripture is full of God's declarations of love for us, and that love does not have the face of misery. It has the face of joy, peace, and all of the other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
At the same time, Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world."
As we think about what means to be "blessed and highly favored", let us keep in mind that we are promised spiritual blessings, not always comfort, ease, and physical blessings. This is not a popular message, but if we prefer physical prosperity over spiritual prosperity, that's a problem.
I don't think these two types of blessings have to be in conflict. You can be materially and spiritually blessed at the same time.
Also, I keep in mind Jesus' teaching that we not lay up for ourselves Earthly treasure, but that we remember where are our treasures are, there will our hearts be also.
So, let's use material blessings to further our spiritual progress---not the other way around.
Wishing you a happy new year!

awetterhan said...

Very interesting article. I was seeking answers to this question in the bible (Via and could only find 1 instance of "highly Favored" and as you mentioned it was with Mary the Mother of Jesus in the NKJ version of the Bible (luke 1:28).
I can see this phrase being used in 2 instances 1: with the "Health & Wealth/Prosperity gospels" (which I do not agree with and think they are anything but biblical). 2: this phrase can be used in times when we are the most downtrodden. Sort of like "I count it all joy" (James 1:2) and so many other instances in the bible where Writers are Praising God in the Face of Adversity. Yes, in every instance of a
human living in Gods Grace in the bible, that individual faced unspeakable trials. I can’t see Job saying "I am blessed and highly favored" but in the midst of his trials he would do things like tare his robe, shave, his head and fall to the ground worshipping... Job 1:21 -And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
If we subscribe to a False Gospel which states that our riches are to be only monetary and here on earth we must also deny that all the apostles (including Jesus) were martyred to some degree. Might as well hide “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” while you are at it.
If anyone has fallen for the idea that “God’s Wonderful Plan for your life” includes an expensive import car, and a Mansion in Hollywood Hills I would suggest you read Ray Comforts “Gods Got a wonderful Plan for your Life” this is a very sobering book that will only point its reader to the cross and Him Crucified. If that is too much for you… you can always just read the bible for yourself!!

Deborah… With all due respect, I have a question for you. In your Bio you labeled yourself as a “Part-Time Mystic.” What does such a label mean??? It seems very contradictory with your favorite books being the “the Bible” and “the Screw Tape Letters” and everything I have seen you write.

-Please understand it is my Job as a follower of Jesus to “Speak the Truth in Love” and I hope you ALL realize that is my motive “Love”

Ephesians 4:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

deborah evans, deborahevans100 at gmail dot com said...

Thanks for your comments and your question, awetterhan.
By "part-time mystic", I am referring to the fact that I enjoy taking regular time away from my schedule to read Scripture, pray, read Christian devotional writers, meditate, and reflect upon the course and direction of my life.
This is in addition to daily devotions.
There is a long and
often forgotten tradition of Christian mystics (dating back to the first century).
I invite you to explore and learn more about them.
Unfortunately, the modern use of the word "mystic" has become associated with tarot, astrology, numerology, new age-stuff, and other things in which I have no

Symone Bloxom said...

Thank you for this article. I have a better understanding now that I read this. When someone ask me how I'm doing? My response going to be " I'm blessed and highly favor".

Deb said...

Thank you for your comments, Symone.

Yes, you are blessed and highly favored based on who you are in relationship to God, not on what you have from the outside looking in.

"Blessed and highly favored" does not have a single look or feel.

We naturally tend to think we can look at someone and tell how well they are doing, or not. We know what someone looks like, but that does not tell us what their spiritual condition is.

If you are connected to God in a loving relationship based on Jesus Christ, then you are blessed and highly favored. The expression of that blessing and favor can be seen in your joy, your purpose, and your witness. You are blessed and highly favored based on what happens in your earthly life and also based on your eternal destination.

The motivation for living a life that is blessed and highly favored is giving glory to God in any way that God chooses. This motivation is based on the understanding that what God chooses for us is better than what we would choose for ourselves.

We, as Christians, should not seek to live a life that motivates others to envy us, or a life that is filled with comfort minus challenge and growth. Our purpose is always to see better the will of God, live closer to the heart of God, and witness more powerfully to the goodness of God.

Do those things, and you cannot help but be blessed and highly favored.

Chlon Harmon said...

when anyone speaks of themselves being blessed and highly favored it can only be in relationship to who we are in Christ. therefore I do not understand at all your article

Deb said...

Try reading through the comments. You may find that helpful. Thanks for writing.

Take note of my reference to St. Paul telling the church at Ephesus they were "chosen from the foundation of the world." Truly no one can be any more blessed and highly favored than that!

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and the comments. I was led to research the topic of blessed and highly favored. On the 5th Sunday of March 2015 I will be speaking with a group of women and felt led to study this topic. I am of the same opinion that to be called blessed and highly favored is what I desire to called by the Lord of someone else not necessary a position I have placed upon myself. To a certain extent we all are blessed and favored by God. But Mary was blessed and highly favored among women chosen by God to carry and give birth to our Lord and Savior...not every woman was qualified or deserving of this honor!

Deb said...

Thank you for your comments.

I wish you the very best when you speak on the 5th Sunday of this month.

God has the first and final word in everything. What a comfort that is.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

It seems like claiming outwardly "I'm blessed and highly favored' is not far removed from stating one has a high degree of humility. As soon as it is stated you either lost it or lost credibility. Are we not to be Lights in the world by our actions and by Our Love? IT all sounds rather presumptuous..if two are in The LORD it's already understood. The short of it is it sounds either 1. tacky; or 2. like the name it and claim false gospel based on feelings and not reality...using scripture out of context as a habit is like saying vain repetitious prayers...just remember your audience.

Deborah Evans said...

Thanks, Stephen!

You point out something I had not originally considered: if one is "highly favored", does this mean someone else can be "less" or "lowly" favored?

Doesn't God love all of his children equally and why would we think God would favor some more highly than others?

Who is in a position to look at themselves or others and say who is "highly favored"? Why would you? Why would we think of placing ourselves above others?

There is no Biblical basis for that type of thinking. Pride and self-elevation are dangerous.

As I've posted in earlier comments, we already have immense spiritual blessings than can carry over into every part of our lives. We have these blessings because God has given them, not because we have done or said something great or special to earn them.

We should definitely "slow down" and think twice when we begin to use terms like "high" or "highly favored" because we can't Biblically justify placing ourselves in a special, elevated (above others) category.

Thanks again, Stephen, for your comments!

Deborah Evans said...

In my previous comment, I meant to write: "...immense blessings THAT can carry over...

Anonymous said...

Are you people stupid? The author is saying what any sane person has been thinking for years. You whores an't use that phrase, comparing yourselves to MAry of all people?! Most of you bats don't/didn't even know what part of the bible it's from. Know your lane and stay in it. You're nothing like Mary and will never be. Thanks.

Deborah Evans said...

Thanks for reading, Anoynmous.

I try to avoid calling people names, but I think I understand what you mean.

Let's seek contentment with what God has given us, and focus on growing ourselves more and more based on the Bible. We're saved so that we can become conformed more and more to the image of Christ, so that we can love Him now and enjoy spending eternity with Him.

If we're not conformed to His image, we are not going to enjoy spending eternity with Him.

As Christians, whatever God wants to do in our lives is designed to make us more and more like Him. Sometimes that means we get what we want and sometimes we don't. We are blessed because of our love for God and our fellowship with Him. "Things" are tools to help us show and share the love of God. Hopefully, that will be enough for us if our purpose is to worship Him and witness to the world of His love and goodness.

Stephen said...

Hi - back again because you guessed it ;-)..someone on facebook continuously posts those words the few times they do is 'blessed and highly favored'..I don't knwo what it is is..but it's akin to 'once saved always saved'..You gave a great answer too and thank you..Does that mean others are 'less blessed' and less favored? What does BLESSED actually mean in the context of the OLD Testament, such as NOAH was is there ..and Mary was where else to we see it except in Paul..though not sure where that is written. Many are called but few are chosen. As soon as I see "I am blessed an highly favored'..that person has lost credibility to some degree for some reason to sounds arrogant...hey, what can I just does. Paul said he was the least of all the apostles and considered anything outside of Christ rubbish to the Life of Love He came to Understand in will know them by their fruits..He pointed to Christ, not himself. hmmm... (I searched on blessed and highly favored and guess where I ended up..back at your post again!)..Searched the scriptures and it is not actually written out anywhere in all...) P.S. Let me added, "Name it and claim it" is meaningless..tell us what is His Name and what do you claim..that is not how it works at all..Seek and you shall find ask and it will be given (IN HIS TIME) 'Knock' and a door will be opened". Name and Claim, I am blessed and highly favored, is like the 'power of positive thinking' and the law of attraction genre of sounds satanic. For Eve saw that the Tree was good for eating and eat of It she did..the fruit of deception. Just thoughts of course. I fear people do not know themselves as they ought at all, they do not see themselves as God does in our Sin.."Think not more highly of yourselves than you ought..." and "Everyone is right in their own mind"..let me say, the only way to be perfectly sane is to be totally out of your who is ought of their mind has nothing to say for themselves..did Jesus say anything when he was accused.. "I am blessed and highly favored said Jesus never..are we in Christ?"

KJBrown said...

That was an excellent response to that contrarian.

KJBrown said...

Very informative and well written article! I just happened to quickly reply to someone who had just said that they were blessed and highly favored with the same response, but it made me feel uneasy because I don't usually say that. I personally feel it's redundant and unnecessary for me to declare what I think my actions/behavior already declare for me.
Long story short, I'm very glad that I read this article because now I have a better understanding both why people se this phrase. I did some research, and it first I thought that people we referring to a song by The Clark Sisters called "Blessed and Highly Favored" when they used that phrase.

Anonymous said...

This is the most judging article I've ever read.

Deborah Evans said...

Thanks for visiting the site, Anonymous. Will you share with us why you feel this way?

Deborah Evans said...

Since it's been over a month since "Anonymous" left their comment and there has been no response to my request for further comment from them, I will try to address the question of whether the article is "judging" anyone or anything unfairly.

Judgment is a human quality, one that distinguishes us from other creatures who respond to stimuli and to the environment and do whatever they can in response to what is going on around them. Judging is not necessarily a bad thing if we refrain from imposing our viewpoints on those for whom we have no direct responsibility and no spiritual authority.

I hope this article made the distinction between explaining God's word and me imposing my personal views on others. I attempted to do the former and not the latter.

I think it's OK for Christians to discuss and share what God's word says about our lives and how we should live. We will not all have the same conclusions about every aspect of these things, and that's OK with me.

Ultimately, everyone is answerable to and responsible to God for how we live, how we use the time, energy, and gifts He has given. In the end, His judgment is the only one that matters.

I enjoy reading the ideas and perspectives of others. Through the lens of scripture, I take what I can from others' ideas. My goal as a student of scripture is to align my judgments with those of God and to become comfortable and happy living within those limitations and opportunities.

If the article has offended anyone who feels unfairly judged by what is written, please accept my apologies.

Deborah Evans said...

It has been suggested that I explain the "apology" given in my previous comment. This, I believe, was good advice, and I am acting upon it.

My apology is directed to any unnecessary frustration or hurt someone may feel after reading the original post and the follow up comments. The original idea doesn't require any apology.

Why not?

Because so much of what some look for as evidence of being "blessed and highly favored" is tied to what others may see, as opposed to who were are spiritually and how we are expressing the life of God in our lives.

Those who are deeply humble, those who are truly giving, those who do not live by fear but by faith, those who change the world (or their corner of it) through their God-inspired prayers followed by their God-inspired actions: these people are among the blessed. It is my belief these are also the ones who don't spend any time or energy defining themselves as "blessed and highly favored."

As I have written earlier, "highly" is a relative term and using it implies something is "lower". I do not doubt some may be blessed in different ways, but I think it's highly presumptuous to declare you are "highly favored" over someone else. Who knows this, and based on what facts can any human person know this? Why do you want to believe this about yourself? Are you not satisfied with the life and blessings God has provided? I believe if you are satisfied with the life God has offered---which is not always the same as the life you may currently experience--then there is no need for a relative comparison of yourself to someone else.

In I Corinthians 11:31, St. Paul tells the Corinthian church that if they will judge themselves, they will not be judged. in the following verse, he goes on to say that when we are judged, we are chastened--or corrected--by the Lord so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Judgment is an important spiritual ability that should not be ignored. Judgment, if God-led and directed, is a good thing. Wisely used, it will always serve and strengthen.

doglive1000 said...

Well, wow... Ha-ha yeah I'm quite overwhelmed right now as I've just (also) done a search on this subject. Initially I was seeking it's biblical premise to hopefully confirm it, and how and why. Of course I didn't find that, and rather just the reference to Mary. However I did find what is, in my opinion, the next best thing, this whole blog from inception to last comment. Just wow! Deborah, talk about rollercoasters, lol! No kidding I couldn't stop reading, through the comments and all. What a fascinating and, quite frankly, beautiful evolution (for the lack of a better word) of truth. Or.... truth I'm not sure is the proper word, but hopefully you feel me on this. You know what, how bout I say a beautiful evolution of the perpetual realization of truth, or sum'n like that. Ha-ha. PRAISE GOD in Jesus name. I just gotta say, and try to be done with this and not rant, that I hope EVERYONE searching this topic finds this blog and does exactly what I've done and reads straight on through to the very last comment! All brilliant! Thank you Deborah for your obvious dedication to only one thing that matters most, God, and His glory. It's evident in all of this that you are in tune all right! In tune and right on the money and I pray the Lord DOES bless you and yours! Lord bless your ministry or whatever you may feel more comfortable calling it. And if I'm mistaken and you are not a minister or have a ministry, then uh, lemme find out that THIS HAS MINISTERED TO ME like nobody's business, okay! I'm for real for real. And I already know it has to countless others, including those who commented, etc. Idk, just saying. 😬 But yes, praise God this has been so refreshing.

Deborah Evans said...

Thank you, Tristan, for your encouraging words! I also appreciate that you continued to read all of the comments to get the full picture.
Enjoy a blessed week!

Anonymous said...

Positive thinking is satanic

Deborah Evans said...

Anonymous, it's been a while since you shared a comment. Would you like to expand upon what you mean?

I have heard and read "positive thinking is satanic" in other settings. I have mixed feelings about this statement.

If the statement means we cannot find ultimate and permanent good apart from God, as revealed in the Holy Bible, I agree.

If the statement means no good or forward movement can come from looking for the best in every situation, I wouldn't agree with that.

Snubbed said...

I googled why do people say they are blessed and highly favored and it led me to this blog. You see, I ran into someone that I hadn't spoken with her in a while and I asked them how they were doing and they so arrogant and they said that they were blessed and highly favored. I felt he was putting his self high above me. By the way, would a follower of Jesus or would Jesus go around selling cigarettes?

Snubbed said...

I asked someone that I had spoken with for a while how he was doing and I feel that he told me with a flare of arrogance that he was blessed and highly favored. Hoping you can read between lines I ask you would our holy god consider this person to be blessed and highly favored when he goes around selling single cigarettes to people in his neighborhood.

Deborah Evans said...

I see your point, Snubbed.

My preference is to examine myself and work on taking myself to the next level, with God's help and guidance. We only have to answer for ourselves, not others. Pray for the person and live before them as an example of goodness, godliness, and joy. You may have more influence through example than through criticism. Thanks for reading the blog!

Kwif said...

Great points! Thank you

Deborah Evans said...

You are welcome!

Anonymous said...

Hello someone said to me this morning " be favored and blessed girl" I really did not know how to take it but after reading what it means and reading so many comments without making to much into it. I though why would anyone take it the wrong way for someone saying this to them? I feel like we are all favored and very blessed "I do believe". I can only truly speak for myself my god has always favored and blessed me in every step of my life.

Deborah Evans said...

I don't know if there is a "wrong" way to understand being blessed and highly favored if we look at those in scripture who lived beyond their natural abilities by choosing God's will over their own will.

My purpose in writing the blog was to point out the need to separate "blessed and highly favored" from "wealthy, beautiful, and envied by others." These may go together, but tbey are not the same.

Of course, it's always good to greet someone with kind words of blessing and encouragement. Words of blessing help and lift up our spirits.

On the other hand, the false teaching that God's favor can be identified mostly by material blessings contradicts the teachings and examples given in scripture.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.