The Only X Factor

By David Noroña

Every few years I try to get away to New York to see some Broadway shows. On this one creative escape, I hit the lottery. I got to witness two of the best musicals I've ever seen: Matilda and Once.

Matilda the Musical is based on the children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl and featured one the most talented casts I've ever seen -- and most of them were kids. Once was based on the indie film with music by Irish singer Glen Hansard and his Czech partner Markéta Irglová and is filled with the rawest, most honest love songs of any modern musical. Both shows were mind-blowingly good. Both won a ton of acclaim and awards. Some might comment, with a theatrical flare, that they were "glorious". But were they, in the truest sense of the word, glorious?

There's this one story I love where Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to talk with God and comes back down with the Ten Commandments--pretty productive conversation. But something else takes place. Moses comes back changed--glowing, literally. After just 40 days in the Presence of God, Moses returns...iridescent. So much so, that he's forced to veil his face. It was too much for those around him to handle. And yet, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that this "glory", the glow on Moses' face was passing, temporary. It can't hold a candle, if you will, to the glory that we have access to now.

You see, the new covenant promises something "much more glorious". We no longer have to worship on a mountain to be with God. Immanuel, "God with us", has come and taken residence not just among us, but, if we so choose, within us. “For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.” And Holy Spirit is here to stay.

Shows like American Idol, The Voice and the X Factor set out to discover performers who have "it". That "it factor" is usually attributed to the artist's skill or gift. But "it" doesn't come down to talent. “It” came down to us as a Person.

What if our X factor is the glory of God glowing from within us? The "it" the audience will respond to then won't just be a performance that's good but a performance that's God Himself--God-filled, God-inspired. The glow on our faces won't just be stage makeup, sweat and adrenaline but the very Presence of God radiating from within us.

See, if I'm only responding to your talent, then at most I can say, "Wow, that performer was great!" At most, it will inspire me to want to be like you. But when I perform in the Presence from a deep and intimate relationship with Him, then it won't just point to you or me, it points to Him. "It" should beg the question: "What was that I just saw?" Or more importantly, "Who was that?" What you will have witnessed is an artist who knows their craft, their Creator and themselves: a true triple threat.

So what if on opening night we aren't just pulling back the curtain on a new show, but tearing open the veil on the Presence of God Himself? Perhaps then we will discover that Jesus is the only X factor.

"For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.”
II Corinthians‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Redding Performing Arts