Have you got the X-Factor? Plenty of people believe they do, lining up in their thousands to audition, but only one can win. Sony Records won’t be disappointed to hear that I’m staying home. I don’t have the X-Factor. I barely have confidence to hum on the tube, never mind sing live to an audience of millions. “You’ve got to really really want this” say the judges to the musical hopefuls looking like rabbits in headlights on stage. Want what?, I want to ask. Fame? Money? To make music?… If it was all about the music, there’d be buskers on every street corner. More often it seems to appear that the thing these hopefuls most crave is recognition and approval on a grand scale. Everything hangs on this competition.
I’d love to tell them something different. But what? Christian ideals such as selflessness, humility, putting others first, may not seem like an appealing alternative to global recognition and a recording contract. But there’s more to Christianity than sackcloth and ashes. Each one of us may not be born to perform, but, being made in the image of a creative God, we are certainly born to create, and music is one of the most obviously creative things to do.
Do the thing that gives you life and joy, I might say. But what about fame, recognition, adulation? Surprisingly, Christianity offers these too, on an even larger scale but on completely different terms. Want to be someone? God knew you before you were born (Ps. 139:16). Want to feel special? You are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Ps. 139:14). Want to be adored? God’s love for you is insurmountable and unconditional.
Quite simply, there is no competition for God’s love. To win ‘X-Factor,’ you earn praise and stand alone, but God’s love is completely unearned and is lavished on losers and winners alike. The highest love on the grandest scale is available to all but only we can decide if it’s what we really want.