Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘magnify’

In what has been called, the “Song of Mary” we hear the virgin mother declare that “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke1:46), and I can’t help but believe that there is something of value in those words for all believers. 

To magnify something, we must first focus on it, and when we do, there is a natural tendency to notice details we may have missed.  We might even call that, taking a closer look.  If we don’t lose or shift our focus, the magnitude of our revelation generally grows. 

We certainly see this principle when we focus on our problems.  As we gaze at our unpaid bills, broken relationships, illness’, conflicts… we can quickly lose perspective, feeling as though our whole life hinges on these particular issues.  Discouragement and depression often follow. 

If it is so with the darkness, should it not be so with the light as well.  We need to see God as bigger than our problems, bigger than our hurts, bigger than our enemy…  While we must face difficult situations in our life, and continually battle our own flesh, there is a perspective that we cannot afford to lose.  The scripture says that we should not fix our eyes (i.e. focus) on what is seen, which is perishing, but on what is unseen, which is eternal (2Cor.4:18). 

This reminds me of a scene from the “Passion of the Christ”, where Mary and Jesus come face to face on the way to Calvary.  Jesus has been ruthlessly beaten, and will soon hang on the cross to die, yet He says, “Look, I make all things new”. 

Everything in that circumstance seemed to be out of control and dire, yet Jesus hadn’t lost the heavenly perspective.  Similarly, as Stephen was being stoned, he was able to look directly into heaven, and to pray for the forgiveness of His oppressors.  Though his body was being destroyed, his soul was magnifying the Lord. 

As we go through our day to day lives, there are undoubtedly times when situations seem overwhelming, and our perspective gets out of balance.  In those moments, it is important to recognize what is happening, and to regain an eternal outlook. 

In order to do this I believe it is essential that we get alone with God.  Throughout the gospels we often see Jesus walk away from His disciples, and other followers to be alone with the Father.  Though He was a man of perfect faith, who knew no sin, He still had the need to spend time with the Father.  I would submit that, at least in part, this is what allowed Jesus to maintain His heavenly perspective, despite the consistent conflict and rejection he faced during His ministry years. 

Someone who has tried to “pray” their way out of discouragement may say that this doesn’t always work, but I believe that this is where the phrase “magnify the Lord” becomes most significant. 

Prayer can take on many forms, and not all forms are necessarily effective in the midst of despair.  I believe that there is a natural tendency in the midst of difficult circumstances to ask God for answers, or to pray for the outcome that we desire.  But God does not owe us answers, nor has He promised us our desired outcomes. 

Even if we’re just asking for divine direction, it can be difficult to hear His voice above the other voices at work within us.  The problem with these types of prayers is that they allow us to remain focused on the situation, which often distorts our perspective and inhibits us from receiving truth. 

I sense that before we pray through some of these situations, we must first recognize that we’ve lost our perspective, and acknowledge our need to simply “magnify the Lord”.  If we can lay aside our grievances and petitions, quiet ourselves before Him, focus on who He is, consider His goodness, remember what He’s already accomplished in our lives, and think upon what His word says, His stature as the sovereign God of the universe begins to grow.  

Whatever amount of time is necessary to regain this eternal perspective is well worth it.  When this happens, the ministry of the Comforter avails itself, and our ability to hear from the Lord is restored.  Even if we don’t get specific direction, that abiding peace carries us through. 

I used to associate peace with a lack of conflict and/or adversity, but I now understand that true peace only comes from God, and that it is His response to conflict and adversity.  Our minds struggle with that, but that’s why God offers a “peace that surpasses understanding”. 

The concept of magnifying the Lord is beautifully captured in the old hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”.

Perhaps as important as regaining our perspective, is learning how to maintain it in the midst of our daily struggles.  While we’ve grown up with the idea of Sunday being the Lord’s Day, I believe that the scripture would point us to a constant awareness of Him, and who we are relative to Him. 

It admonishes us to focus on the eternal things (2Cor.4:18), to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt.6:33), to live by the Spirit (Rom.7:6, Rom.8:13-14, 2Cor.3:3, Gal.5:18), to be content (Heb.13:5), to pray continually (1Thes.5:17), to give thanks in all circumstances (1Thes.5:18), to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, to sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Eph.5:19). 

Now all that might sound a little unrealistic in the context of our daily lives, but it may also be necessary to clarify what we mean by “reality”.  Several years ago, I had one of those mountain-top God experiences that went on well into the night.  As I fell asleep in the wee small hours, I felt so close to Him, and full of faith. 

But when I woke up the next morning for work, I grumbled to myself “back to reality”.  As soon as the words escaped my mouth, a wave of conviction washed over me.  I felt like the Lord challenged, “How do you know the difference between reality, and a dream?”  And as I considered a couple of very realistic dreams I’d had, the only answer I could come up with was, “you wake up from a dream”.  

I immediately sensed the Lord retort, “That’s correct, and one day you will wake up from the dream of this life, to the reality of eternity!” 

Often times, we Christians point to the struggles of this life as reality, but if we believe the scripture, there is only one avenue to truth.  If God hasn’t become that reality for us yet, I’d suggest that we might need to spend some time magnifying the Lord, and allow His reality to consume whatever reality we’ve been living. 

Some might suggest that we risk becoming “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good”, but I would submit that there is far greater danger in being too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good.

Read Full Post »