Flavor vs. Favor

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Peace comes from understanding who we are and whose we are.  Who we are has a lot to do with what we eat.  I’m not talking about physical food; I’m talking about spiritual food.  We can find peace by filling ourselves up with God’s Word.  The Word of God says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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” (Joshua 1:8).  Basically, we are called upon to devour the Word of God.   Truly it is what we are filled with that will come out during times of chaos and upheaval. 

We Have Flavor

I personally love peppermint tea.  I was in Seattle on business travel one year when I purchased the best cup of mint tea from the refreshment cart in the hotel’s lobby.  I was expecting just a normal cup of tea, but as soon as the tea bag hit the hot water, I was presented with the most refreshing mint fragrance I had ever experienced.  The aroma coming from that little paper cup engulfed and overwhelmed me.  It set me up for a taste experience that was both stimulating and invigorating.  This got me to thinking… we’re like teabags.  Our true character comes out when we’re put in hot water. 

Some of us are like Peppermint – delightfully refreshing and invigorating

Some are like Ceylon – brisk and sweet

Some are like Darjeeling – changing with the season

Some are like Earl Grey – floral bouquets with smoky undertones

Some are like Lady Grey – light and refreshing

Some are like Formosa Oolong – piercing sweet flavor with toasty undertones

Some are like English Breakfast – robust and full bodied

Some are like Jasmine – flowery and fragrant

Some are like Chamomile – calming and soothing

Some are like Lavender – light and sweet

Some are like Rosehip – tangy and tart

Some are like Echinacea – strong and unpleasant

Tell me, what’s your flavor?  How do you react when you’re put into hot water?

The longer it steeps the stronger it gets

Have you ever noticed that the longer you leave a teabag in the cup, the darker and stronger the tea gets?  I believe it’s the same thing with us.  When we’re going through, we want God to get us out as quickly as possible. 

However, that’s not always how God works.  Sometimes, God comes into our situation and walks through it with us; very similar to the poem Footprints in the Sand.  God says, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”   The Bible gives numerous accounts of people who had to go through in order to get a breakthrough.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and faced persecution and imprisonment until God elevated him (Genesis 37, 42-45).

While fleeing from Egypt with their enemies on their heels, the Children of Israel had to dip their toes in the Red Sea before it parted (Exodus 14).

Shadrach, Meshack and Abendego were in the fiery furnace but got saved by the Son of Man (Daniel 3:19-20).

Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den but God allowed him to come out without a scratch (Daniel 6:1-28).

The Israelites were doomed until God stepped in and allowed Haman to be hung on the very gallows he constructed for Mordacai (Esther 7).

Lazarus experienced death and burial before Jesus resurrected him (John 11).

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8

As Christians, we can find peace in the mist of the storm.  We can exhibit a sweet aroma that comes from all the good things that we have stored up on the inside.  We can look deep within to discover what our teabags are filled with.  As believers under pressure or in ‘hot water,’ we handle our business with style and dare I say, FLAVOR. 

Flavor is what we have control over and is based on the things we allow to fill our hearts and minds.  It is what we put inside of us that prepares us for and sustains us through the difficulties of life.  It is what we put inside of us that allow us to be still when everything around us is coming apart.  It’s what we put inside of us that will determine if we experience peace or chaos during difficult times.

Sometimes, God allows us to go through challenges but we can take heart knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).   We can find peace by concentrating on Him and His goodness toward us.   “When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).

God Has Favor

We do indeed have FLAVOR.  Our personalities, experiences, environment and a host of other things determines how we will respond to life’s situations and happenstances.  But unfortunately, no matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, it’s not enough. 

Without God’s FAVOR, we aren’t able to make it through.  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). 

Often when we are going through a tough time, we tend to forget that God is in total control.  He has the power to stop the hand of the enemy.  When Jesus died He stopped the gates of hell from prevailing against us; His Church (Matthew 16:18).

God has the power to change our situations and make everything work out.  “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

If we are patient, we ultimately discover that God has already taken care of everything.  We stop worrying as soon as we understand that “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Favor is God’s unmerited grace.  We don’t earn God’s favor; His favor is worth more than any amount of our labor.  However, we can align ourselves to receive His favor.  We have to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well” (Matthew 6:33).

No matter how challenging or chaotic things get, we can have peace when we begin to understand that nothing can take us out of God’s presence.  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

"May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:7