Lessons of the X factor

Now you may think this post is about the TV show “The X Factor”. It is not. Maybe you think its about that special talent or certain thing, or a look that one has that propels them to greatness in whatever they achieve; sports, singing, modeling, sewing… This is about none of the above.

The “X” factor I am talking about is this: the rise of one thing simultaneously with the fall of another. Look at the shape of an X. It really is proof of how this works. (I did not come up with this idea – it is from my ESV Bible study notes.)

God has a way of bringing down someone who does not follow His way, while raising up one who will.

“He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.”
Luke 1:52

Examples!
– Eli was a priest in the end times of the Judges, but his two sons who were also priests were rotten to the core. As a result of Eli’s inaction of training and disciplining his sons, his family’s generational line of leaders as priests began to wane, quickly dying out. At the same time, God was raising up a young man named Samuel, who literally grew up in the presence of God, serving Eli, the other priests, and God himself. Eli’s role declined and it ended badly for his family, but Samuel was promoted to being the Lord’s faithful priest who went in and out from the Lord.
(Read 1 Samuel 1-3.)

– King Saul was the very first king of Israel. Not that God wanted them to have a man-king, no, He wanted them look to Him as their King. Instead, Her gave them what they asked for, a man that was as they were, sinful and arrogant. It didn’t take Saul long to be an egotistical failure, so the Lord demoted him. Meanwhile, a young shepherd named David had the heart that God was looking for, and began to raise him up to become the righteous man and King His people could look up to. Saul’s leadership as king declined, and David’s kingship took over. David was the precursor, the lineage, the foreshadowing of our ultimate King, Jesus.

“But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.”
Psalm 75:7

God also has a way of transitioning from one person to the next, even when both are faithfully serving Him.

Example!
– John the Baptist, the promised prophet that prepared the way for Jesus and His ministry vs. Jesus Christ. Once Jesus was baptized, John’s ministry began to slow and dwindle down, because his purpose was completed, while Jesus’ ministry was just beginning to take off. They were like two ships passing each other – with similar purposes in mind, both orchestrated by God Himself. The torch of the Holy Spirit was passed from John to Jesus, and the rest is history.

We can even personalize this by considering our family generationally. As our parenting time has run its course and decreases in need over the years, our children have grown up and are starting families of their own. Their parenting time picks up. Then they will fulfill their purpose, and pass the torch on to their children, and so on, and so on, until the Lord comes back.

These transitions in our life, like chapters, are preparing you for the next chapter, which is already in the works. Jobs, friends, church, volunteering, home, passions,… These are areas that will change over the course of our lives, so consider how the Lord might be closing one door and opening another.

So the next time you look at the letter X, or hear about that special X factor, ask yourself these questions: Have I been faithful in fulfilling what the Lord has asked me to do so that I am not brought down low? Is there a transition going on in my life that I need to be more attentive to? Am I being prepared for another chapter? Maybe He is slowly removing you from things you are actively involved in to allow for a new person to step in, or vice-versa.

The only way to truly know the mind and heart of the Lord is to go to Him in prayer, regularly. Ask Him. Seek His will for you, and for your family. Then either move forward, or let it go.

“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.”
Deuteronomy 28:1

Food for thought: The letter “X” is the Greek letter “chi”, the initial letter in the Greek word “Xpiotoc” (sorry – not the proper font for Greek), and this word means “Christ”. Therefore “X” has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years.

Fun facts: X is a bit of a phonetic chameleon. For instance, is used to establish the /ks/ sound, as in wax and fox—referred to as a “voiceless velar fricative,” in case you were really wondering.

Photo by: Deva Darshan – Perdana Botanical Gardens, Malaysia

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