And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with people.” Luke 2:52 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/luk.2.52.NET
I need, the church needs, to increase its favor with God and with people. We think we increase our favor with God by doing religious things like praying, reading the Bible, giving, and attending church. Certainly, some of these things help us to know our God and obey His will, but God is not pleased by religious activities. Favor with God is tied to favor with men. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is just like loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Jesus, God, perfect and holy every day of His life without fault or fail at any time, was beloved by God and men. Why was He loved by men and therefore loved by God? No doubt because He was humble and gentle. Undoubtedly because He came to serve and not be served. Certainly, because He constantly gave His life instead of demanding from others though everyone who follows Him must live as Jesus did. This is what I and the church need to do better in our society if we will increase our esteem and influence for Christ upon society. We must serve, we must love, we must give, and we must be humble and gentle. We must serve for the benefit of others. We must give for the welfare of others while at the same time living holy lives without compromise before God and men. God in Jesus spent thirty years building His reputation and three years recruiting people to His message. We would do well, and I would do well, to likewise spend more time serving and loving others before preaching and teaching others.