Scriptural Gem for October 2013

In Philippians 1:19-20 we read: 'For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.'

A popular Christian chorus based on psalm 34 enjoins us to 'magnify' the Lord and we naturally attach the meaning of 'praising' God to this word. However, in our reading above Paul uses the Greek word 'Megaluno'. This word simply means 'to enlarge in order to make more visible'. In the context of the passage it is clear that Paul indicates that his trials will be the magnifying glass which makes Christ in him more visible. But here is the issue - we all know that a magnifying glass can only enlarge something that is already there. It does not magically make things appear that are not there. If Christ is to be 'magnified' in your life and mine, He has to already be there. Otherwise, when pressures come, the only thing that will be shown up or 'magnified' is the complete absence of Him and His name will be dishonoured.

Dear friends, we cannot just sing a chorus and think that we have magnified the Lord. Neither can we simply cling to the right doctrine and think that through that we are Christian. The proof of whether we have Christ in us comes when, in the pressures and trials of our lives our actions and reactions clearly display His love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. That is how His name is 'magnified'.  Amen