THE WOW! FACTOR: DEVELOPING SPIRITUAL WHOLENESS

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Well it’s you girl, and you should know it

With each glance and every little movement you show it . . .

So begins the catchy theme song of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one of the most popular comedies in television history.  Actress Mary Tyler Moore introduced America to the character of Mary Richards, and audiences quickly fell in love with her winsome personality and trademark smile.  What was it about Mary that had such a powerful effect on people?

Mary had what the world calls the “IT” Factor, an indescribable yet clearly discernible grace, beauty, and charisma. It’s difficult to characterize fully, but easy to identify one that is engaging and energizing, that draws people in with a pleasant countenance and magnetic personality. She communicates an intensity, passion, and wholeness, a je ne se quois, and possesses that mysterious factor that makes her shine but also transforms you for having been with her! You’ve probably come across someone that left you thinking and feeling, “WOW!” after meeting her. You may have even wished those things could be true about you. Who wouldn’t want to turn the world on with her smile?

There’s good news for you and me. It is possible, desirable and almost unavoidable for a woman fully committed to a living, growing relationship with Jesus Christ to develop a WOWness about her life. The combination of her personality traits, attitudes and actions create a spiritual wholeness that radiates the charisma of Christ, displaying what I call the WOW! Factor.

The Greek word charisma, meaning gift of grace, is used with respect to the gift of eternal salvation and the spiritual gifts given to believers. God freely bestows grace on us in the Beloved (Christ), according to the riches of His grace, which He lavishes upon us. Think of that, God lavishes (exceeds, goes over and above, overflows) His grace on those who are in relationship with Jesus. Sometimes we feel like we missed out on the grace gifts of God, like we’re the ones in the The Gatlin Brothers song bemoaning “all the gold in California is in the bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else’s name.” We think grace gifts are for other people, not us. Not true!

Oh sister, hear this truth and take it to heart: God generously lavishes grace upon grace to each of His daughters (and sons). He gives grace abundantly and as we learn to receive it, it will transform us from the inside out, making us graceful, charming, and lovely, with a beauty and joy that radiate the charisma of Christ. To be clear, I’m not talking about becoming a “Christmas Tree Christian” by decorating yourself with the ornaments of the grace-filled life to try to look like a godly girl. It’s not about performance but about the lifestyle of John 15, the vital connectedness of the branches to the vine where the life of the vine courses through the branches, reproducing vine life in them. The WOW! Factor is the supernatural outflow of the Spirit living in us, reproducing the charisma of Christ in and through us.

Hopefully by now you’re saying, “Yes! I want that! I want that vital love connection to Jesus so that His grace shines through me!” How does this happen? Three necessary practices must be in place in the life of a woman who loves Jesus for her to grow in grace and develop this charisma.

First, she must be a woman of the Word. Jesus, Himself the Word of God, communicates to us the fullest expression of the nature and character of God. It is in the written Word that we learn of God, His love for us, and His promises and commands to us. We are to meditate on the Word, give it our constant attention, take it in as spiritual nourishment, love it, learn it, live it and let it renew our minds. “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Deut. 8:3) Clearly, if we are to live and grow in grace, and become all God created us to be, we must give highest priority to the Word.

We are commanded to let the Word of Christ richly dwell within us. (Col. 3:16) To dwell means to take up residence in us such that it has authority over us and influences us for good. It doesn’t say the Word is to dwell on our bedside tables, on our phones or Twitter feeds, or in the big family Bible sitting around gathering dust. Howard Hendricks writes, “Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives. In fact, you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is conforming you into its mold.” Which is it for you?

It is the Word, eternal and unchanging, that is living, active and has the power to pierce our hearts and transform us. The Word is the standard by which we evaluate all things in our lives, the authority over all, the truth that is right for all people, for all places, for all times. The Word cleanses, refreshes, reproves, restores, enlightens, teaches, trains, gives insight, guides, counsels, corrects, comforts, etc. Get in the Word and the Word will get into you. It is the first step in apprehending the fullness of the gifts of grace in our lives.

Faithfulness to the Word of God issues forth into Obedience, the result and proof of our love for God. A grace-filled life of wholeness and charisma requires the Big O! Obedience expresses our love and trust in God and our faith strengthens when we walk in His ways. When our love is weak, our obedience level is weak, our faith is weakened. A few points about obedience: partial obedience is not obedience, intending to obey is not obedience, agreeing with God that you need to obey is not obedience. They are disobedience, which is rebellion against God. Anything less than full obedience is like a kink in the hose that prevents the flow of life-giving water to thirsty plants. Rebellion kills spiritual vitality and prevents the life-giving flow of the Spirit in our lives.

In John 14:15-26, Jesus says, “If you love Me you will obey Me.” Simple. Not always easy, but simple. Jesus promises to love and disclose Himself to the one that loves and obeys Him. He reminds us that as we love and obey, God gives us a Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will be with us forever. Want to know Jesus more? Want Him to disclose Himself to you, tell you the thoughts of His heart and mind toward you, show you how He will satisfy every longing of your soul and communicate to you His deep love for you? Obedience opens the door to these blessings of fellowship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the change-agent that equips us, enables us and empowers us to obey.

Years ago as I prepared for a speaking engagement my then teen-aged daughter asked me what topic I was studying. I said obedience, to which she replied, “Tell them obedience comes from an encounter with God.” WOW! A life lived out of love for Jesus will be a life of encountering God – time in the Word with the Word, followed by prompt obedience to the Word. It’s a life that will be transformed into the image of Jesus from glory to glory, a life that shines! WOW!

The third reality necessary for developing spiritual wholeness is Worship. The life of a woman in love with Jesus, living in obedience to His Word, will ultimately be a life of worship. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for worship mean to bow low in homage to God, to adore and reverence Him. Throughout Scripture we find people bowing low in worship after an encounter with God, an act of reverence based in an attitude of reverence. The English word for worship comes from the idea of worth. How much is God worth to you?

Worship is the response of all of me to all of God. Everything in a believer’s life should be an act of worship for everything we think, say and do should glorify God. The Biblical concept of glory comes from weight. How much something weighs speaks of its value, its glory. How much does God weigh in your life? Worship and glory go hand in hand as we recognize how much worth God has and give Him full weight in our lives. Attending church and singing praise to God can be acts of worship, but in the broadest sense worship is an attitude of the heart expressed in actions, reflecting back to God the weight and worth He has in our lives. Worshipping with the assembled community of believers is essential but personal worship is the primary basis for spiritual connectedness to Jesus and spiritual vitality. The higher my personal worship quotient, then the higher my satisfaction level in life, the greater my joy, the deeper my peace, the more exciting and fulfilling my opportunities to love and live Jesus each day.

What does it take to develop a heart that readily responds to the Lord in worship? A worshipful life results from a constant recognition and receptivity of who God is. Too much of our interaction with God is an effort to reform Him into who we want Him to be so He will do what we want Him to do. Lord, save us from ourselves! Make us into Your temple, where everything says, “Glory!” We must relate to You in purity, regularly cleansed and forgiven from sin. We must unceasingly communicate with You in prayer, submitting our attitudes, agendas, affections, and allegiances to Your perfection and power, to be used for Your purposes. We must remain constantly aware that we live in Your presence. We must be women of the Word, of Obedience and of Worship.

Let’s turn the world on to Jesus with smiles and lives that radiate charisma and draw others to Him because His grace and glory are producing in each of us the WOW! Factor!

Laura Kates

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