While attending a ladies Bible Study group, I was intrigued by a comment from one of the women regarding a statement from Lisa Bevere's book, "Fight Like a Girl." She said, "I like how she said 'Favor with God is realized in secret' because too many times Christians seem to want to show off our Christianity in public and forget that it starts in private."
She was right.
Because of insecurities, and unfortunately even pride, we often want to make sure others see our walk with God. But we have to be careful--the Pharisees were guilty of the same, and Jesus rebuked them for it. But as I listened to the discussion, I was reminded of Psalm 5:12 which says, "For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield."
I've always been drawn to this scripture. It is both comforting and rewarding--and now I know why:
Favor is like clothing. It covers and surrounds us. And no one gets dressed in public.
We all desire the favor of God, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the Pharisees missed it because they thought it was something they achieved in public, not private. Psalm 89:17 says, "For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor [in private] our horn is exalted" (my emphasis added). In other words, God will lift us up, and others will see God's hand upon our lives and ministries--but not before we're "dressed" in private.
Another Psalm says, "I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word." Think about this: I don't believe it's possible to give God 100% of my heart in a public setting if I first haven't given Him 100% of myself in private. Imagine being in a room of even just 10 people and asking them to close their eyes while you get dressed. You would be so conscious of their presence (and fearful they would open their eyes and peek), that it would be difficult to keep your attention on anything else.
But on the other hand, what if you took the time (as much time as you'd like) to "dress" in private, allowing God to fully clothe You with His presence and favor? You would come out of your dressing room in full assurance.
Would this be why the Bible says Jesus, Samuel, and even you and I, find favor with God first, and then man?
"And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men" (1 Samuel 2:26).
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).
"And [you will] so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:4).
It's never the other way around... You don't find favor with man first, and then God. And you never walk into a crowd naked only to get dressed with all eyes on you.
The best way to conquer insecurity is to dress with God in private first.
God has promised to surround you with favor on all sides. I hope you will take this encouragement to spend extra time with Him in private. I believe when you come out, you will not only be fully clothed, but it will attract the favor of man also.