Friday, June 13, 2014

Finding the X-Factor

I’m holding out for a hero … well that’s what most of us are doing whether we’d like to believe it or not.

Regardless if it’s a parent, spouse, teacher, mentor, leader or famous personality, we want relationships that have fire which will take us to places that only exist in our dreams.

Our vision of these “X-Men and women” heroes comes with tons of self-made requirements that qualify them as being supernatural in our eyes, establishing relationships that only live in the fantasy world.

Basically, we’re looking for that true X-factor that makes them special and a cut above the rest.

Welcome new friends this week from:

New on DFB – Hungary; Romania; Gunnedah, NSW, Australia; Dominica; Colombia; Jamaica; Denmark; Belgium; Indonesia; Russia; Nigeria and South Africa.

USA: Jamestown, NY; Madison, Tennessee; Vicksburg, Mississippi; Dayton, Ohio and Margate City, NJ.

We’re reaching new areas around the world every week. Thank you to all who have remained faithful in sharing this Inner Journey on Daily Favor.  (DFB - Daily Favor Blog)

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Bonnie Tyler recorded “Holding Out for A Hero” in the mid 80’s reaching #1 on the Irish charts and #2 in Britain.  Why do you think this song rose to the top?
The lyrics by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford give voice to what plays on the record of our hearts. When pursuing a hero we look for something that goes beyond the ordinary to the point where they touch the inner most part of our being.

Take a look at some of the lyrics and see if these are qualities that your hero must possess.  The writer begins by asking a few well directed questions:

“Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?
Where are the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”

What girl isn’t looking for that knight in shining armor on the white horse to sweep us off our feet? 
How many have dreamed of the perfect prince that is this superman individual who is self-confident, there at all times and is larger than life in our world?

Later on in the song there seems to be a “spiritual” awakening. In order for this supernatural event to happen, someone in the heavens needs to look down and pass this magic wand over their life with the right hero.

When I Grew Up

Hero worship comes to all of us in the way we fashion our X-men/women standards. Each individual decides if the person fits those criteria.

One of the saddest things I’ve ever heard was when a young boy of only fourteen told me his dreams. He sat on my sofa and put his words into action acting out what he described as the ultimate goal in his life.

Confidently leaning back where he was sitting, he stretched out his arms over his head. Then clasping his hands together in the air with palms facing upward, in a suave, soft spoken voice he said:
When I grow up I want to put my head back, my feet up and have a cold beer with my dad.”

I didn’t say anything to squash his vision to be like his father, but pressed on for a better image of his hero worship in his Dad.  What's sad is that it's all he saw in his father.

At twenty-one his dream came true.  His father was excited to be the first one to buy his son that beer.  Today the man is pretty much like his dad, in that he has copied his father’s actions and life. 

I remember when one of my brothers was about 3 years old. He would follow my Dad everywhere preventing my father from getting much work done. Dad would come get one of us kids to get him to keep him busy.  It wouldn’t take long before he was again out side-by-side with my Dad.  Eventually, he would give in and my brother would continue to shadow my father all day.  Copying what my father did would almost seem natural to him as time went by.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing or unusual for us to want to be like those we admire.  The Apostle Paul even gave instruction to followers of Christ when he said, “Be like me.”  When he made that statement, the converted leader wasn’t referring to his earthly charm that he wanted us to pattern.

We aren’t to follow or fashion ourselves after some 2,000 year old man. What Paul meant is that we are to follow the steps he took as the new man in Christ.  Our following the Lord is something we are to strive for in copying the footsteps of Jesus. The only hero we should be holding out for is one that follows steps that lead to Jesus. 
“I (Jesus) have set you an example (pattern for living)
that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed (find favor) if you do them.” (John 13:15-17 NIV)

Xeroxing What We Want

In every part of my professional life I have had to use a copier for my work. Sometimes I needed masses of things printed out, and it was those times I was extremely grateful for the staff. 

There came a time when my husband realized that I would benefit from having one at home, so we purchased a Gestetner copy machine.  From that point on I had control over the size, color, image contrast and overall look of my items.  I tweaked and played with the settings until the copy was the exact image of perfection I desired.

We have learned on this journey that God is adjusting the settings of our life, so that we would be an exact image of His Son Jesus spiritually.  He’s not trying to make carbon copies or clones in our personalities and individuality.  No we are the way He designed us so that we function uniquely for Him and one another.  Our Xeroxed life is to be a copy of Christ's obedience to the Father.

When we look back over the influences in our lives, who have we Xerox copied?  What character traits do we look for in our X-men?  If what we see isn’t a copy of what scripture says we need to be, then we’re following the wrong hero.

Heroes of Faith

Last week we learned about an unsung hero in Jonathan, but I’d like you to look beyond that.  Instead of glorifying the people on earth as superheroes to worship, hold out for the real hero who died for the sins and sinners of the world – Jesus.

It’s true that the Bible encourages us to honor people in the proper manner, but we are not to idolize making heroes of worship of those deserving individuals who have achieved specific goals.  Honoring and encouraging are different than idolizing; we just need to understand the difference. 

What do these x-factor winners have in common that set them apart from others mentioned in the Bible? Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Joseph, Paul.

It is said that in Hebrews chapter 11 they had faith to believe God.  They aren’t set apart because they were successful or never sinned.  Their faith in what God said is what made the difference, and that is what caused the Lord to rain favor into their lives. 
These were men (and women) of distinct individuality and callings, but it was the x-factor, the Xeroxed image copy of Jesus that God found replicated that brought them into their destiny to fulfill their purpose.

X-ing out Heroes

Who is your hero? It’s fine to have the desire to “be like” Dad or someone else you admire, but make sure what you are admiring leads to godliness not worldliness.

A few years back mom went on to continue her journey in Heaven. Today my father is 85 years old.  His eyes are dim; hearing faint and breathing is shallow.  Although his hero-like features have long gone, he is still someone I admire.

I love my parents and have tried to copy them by following any good examples they taught me, but they would tell you themselves that they aren’t perfect or right all the time.

Our goal in life is to be more like Jesus so others can see Him in us. If we’re not copying what Jesus did, we’re not pleasing the Father.  Jesus only did the will of the Heavenly Father.

I’ve lived my entire life trying to please others, but have never heard the words, “Well done.”  I learned that I set my sights too low. No matter how high I climbed in my career it will never compare to the longing to hear Jesus tell me “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

"You're no longer my hero!"
Don’t get caught up in hero worship. So many times I looked up to people, especially famous personalities and put them on a pedestal. 
My heroes would fall off their soapboxes when I read their biographies crushing the image I had created of them based on their “talents”.  It wasn’t their fault, they knew they were human. 
People will always fail us and we will always fail them.  Why? … because we’re not heroes, but copies, images after the spiritual likeness of God.  Only the original can be the hero.

In the future let’s stop copying imperfection in our X-men and women hero worship.  We’re going to enjoy one another without comparisons, as we continue toward our goal on this Inward Journey to Jesus.

Encourage and help each other stay focused on the original - the Master, and not a Xeroxed hero.  If we are to copy the best, then the original has to go into the copy machine.

Qualities of A Hero: What are you Xeroxing?

Does your hero have their character traits that line up with those of Jesus? If so, you’ve got a good copy that pleases the Father.
“As snow in summer and rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.”

I believe that God’s timing is always right, and this post falling on Father’s Day weekend wasn’t a mistake.  The best gift you can give the Heavenly Father and your earthly caregiver is to be an individual that honors God. 

The X-Factor ... have you got it?

Here are three specific things we should be looking for in others and ourselves in drawing out the X-factor of God.

First: X-ray your life to examine the inner most thoughts or desires.

Second: X out (cross off our X-men/women superhero list) who you are following who don’t make the cut.
Question if they have the X-factor of godliness that God and others can see.  Remember it has to be tangible and visible.

Third: Xerox (copy) those having the x-factor image of God in them. 

If character traits could be seen on an x-ray, what would show up inside us?  Would the image revealed be one we wanted to remain hidden?
“For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed,
 nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”

One day, the Bible says, all secrets good or bad will be open for others to see. Why not get rid of the bad ones now so the x-ray film is clean and clear.
This Week’s Challenge: 

Finding the X-Factor of God

Our task will entail x-ing out the “X-men/women superheroes” we shouldn’t have copied, while looking for the specific X-factor image of God in those we need to follow.

To help us  in achieving this task start by using these references to help in this quest: Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 13, & Hebrews 11.
Step 1: Get a blank or lined piece of paper. (Remember what that is?) Fold it in half from top to bottom to make two columns. In the first column, write down the things that qualifies someone as a hero in your eyes. 

Step 2: In the second column write down the character traits of Jesus. How do they compare to one another?  The traits that match Christ’s copy use as a pattern in your own life. All the others – well, X them off the list and out of your life. They don’t have the X-Factor of Christ nor do they qualify as “heroic” characteristics.
A Few Factors & Characteristics of A Godly “Hero”

One that rescues and saves.

Demonstrates selflessness.

Desires to please others.

Takes no credit, but gives honor when due.

Gives up their will and life.

Serves without being served.

Never holds sin against someone.

Loves unconditionally.

Gives freely and abundantly.

Never harms, lies or is deceitful.

Always keeps His promises.

Never forsakes, but forgives.
We don’t have to hold out for a hero … one that is strong, larger than life and has survived the fight, because we already have one in Jesus.  Our God hasn’t left us nor is He nowhere to be found, but is alive and still as active as ever.
“He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God,
 the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15 NKJV)    
The qualifications have been met and God approved.  We have a winner that has the perfect X-factor image of the Heavenly Father that grew in favor with God and man.  Our "hero" is Jesus Christ, and we are free to copy His life without infringement rights or plagiarism!
Parents - teach your kids about the real superhero and sing along.
Songs of the past: In the Image of God (My sister used to sing this.)

Until next time, God’s favor comes by imaging Jesus.

Check Messages throughout the week.
What's New this Week: 
 by John Eldredge
Additional references to research:

Image of God Definition: given likeness or reflection; a tangible representation. 

Genesis 1:26-27 & 9:6;
Colossians 1:15; James 3
Idols:  Exodus 20:1-17 & Deut. 27:15
Honoring: Exodus 1:12 & Rev. 4:11
Godliness: 1 Timothy 5:4; 4:8 & 6:6
Commentary by Matthew Henry onGen/Man-Created-Image-God

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Images: X-Factor Hero  Knight  Boys to Men  Gestetner Copier Faith Heroes  Soap Box
Notes: Holding Out for A Hero lyrics by Jim Pitcherford & Dean Steinman; Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.; Xerox Company