Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Real X-Factor

It's that time of year again where singing and talent competitions are all over the television. (Of course, I'm not sure there are too many times when there is not at least one of these shows on the air.) The concept of the shows is actually quite brilliant. There are all kinds of talented people out there who might never be discovered by conventional means. These shows offer a forum for those who would probably otherwise remain in the shadows to have their shot to let their talent shine in front of those who can do something with it in the entertainment industry. And while the talent search goes on money comes pouring in through advertisers who eagerly hope to grasp the attention of thousands of viewers. These shows are money making machines!

The basic format is pretty much the same for each show. Candidates get up on stage and perform before a panel of three or four judges who then determine if the individual has what it takes to be a star. Back for its second season in the search for talent is The X-Factor. This singing competition begins by hosting auditions in cities all over the country. The four judges banter back and forth over those performing on stage. Sometimes the judges are unimpressed, sometimes they are insulting, and sometime they are moved to tears. And we, the audience, drink up every minute of it. I have to admit that I sometimes get a laugh out of some of the people who try out and are clearly not singers and I have even been impressed by some who belt out notes you would not expect.

While all of this is good entertainment, the forum reminds me of another more important event that will take place for each and every one of us. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Each one of us will one day stand before the judgment seat. Only we will not face a panel of judges. We will face only One. We will stand alone to give an account for our actions. It won't matter in that moment what others have done, for this is your judgment. Their turn will come. So what is it that will cause the Judge of the universe to look favorably upon you? To put it simply, He is looking for the X-Factor.

"X" in Greek is the letter Chi which is the first letter of Χριστός (Christ). The X has for over a thousand years been used to represent Christ in a type of abbreviation. That is why Christmas is sometimes abbreviated X-mas. Christ is the X!

Many people who realize they will stand before God in judgment one day, get the idea that there will be some sort of scale there and if our good deeds outweigh the bad the Judge will rule in our favor. Not so! The Scripture makes this point hundreds of times but I will just highlight one verse; James 2:10 - "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." To put that simply, one sin committed is as good as all sins committed. There is no small sin. If you go back to the picture of the scale; one sin is like a boulder and all our good deeds are like feathers. We have no hope of tipping the scale.

You may be asking the same thing as the disciples, "Who then can be saved?" (Matthew 19:25) That's where we get to the X-Factor or Christ-Factor. God is not looking for your good works or your religiosity to save you. "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" - Matthew 7:22-23. Having a religious belief does not impress the Judge. Being "good" does not impress the Judge. What then is the Judge looking for? The Christ-Factor. Have you accepted God's provision of forgiveness through the cross of Christ and now live your life according to His word in response to that gift of salvation? Have you not only received Christ as Savior, but also as Lord allowing Him to transform your life and conform it to Him? This is the real X-Factor!

There are many who willing place themselves before a panel of judges in order to have a shot at fame and fortune. Yet, all these things are temporary. The eternal question must be, when you stand before the Judge of the universe (whether gladly or fearfully) will you have the X-Factor the Lord is looking for? For those who do, their reward will be greater than any talent competition can hope to offer.

1 Corinthians 2:9 - But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”