Philippians 1:20-21 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
We probably all remember at one time or another using a magnifying glass as children. For me there just seemed to be a fascination with looking through that glass at things that I would have struggled to see without magnification. Of course, as with most boys, I was also fascinated by the fact that if you held it just right you could start a little fire.
But what is the purpose of a magnifying glass? The standard answer would probably be, “To make something bigger.” But is that really the case? If I take a magnifying glass and I look at an ant, have I really made the ant bigger? No, the ant is the exact same size. The real purpose is to magnify something in our sight so that we can see it’s details more clearly and notice aspects about it that we would have missed without the magnifying glass. It gives us the ability to focus in on something that we would probably have missed without it. To put it another way: it is to see an object in a way that we haven’t seen it before.
That’s kind of what Paul is saying here. He sums up his life very succinctly in verse 21. For Paul to live was simply about Jesus Christ. And if for some reason he were to die, and he was persecuted and eventually martyred, that would just be gain. But as long as he was alive, his life was about Jesus Christ.
But in what way specifically was Paul's life about Christ? Of course, it was about fulfilling God's will for his life, and spreading the gospel. But Paul sums it up best in that phrase in verse 20, “so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body…” Paul’s desire was to live in such a way that no matter what was happening to him, whether good or bad, Christ would be magnified.
That would be a good goal for us too, would it not? Should we not want our life to magnify Jesus Christ to this world? By magnification we do not mean that we are making God bigger, for that is impossible. That is not the purpose of magnification anyway. Magnifying God means that we make His greatness, His compassion, His love, His power to change your life, more visible to this blind world. By magnifying God in our lives by the way that we live, and by the works that we do, we are showing God to this world in a way which they would have never seen Him before.
For better or for worse, the world seems to judge Christ and Christianity by the actions and attitudes of His children, those who call themselves Christians. When they look at our lives, are they seeing God in a way which they would not have seen Him before? Or are they seeing God in a way in which God never intended for them to see Him, in a way which dishonors and degrades Him? Let us magnify God in our lives each and every day; not that we are making Him bigger, but that we are bringing Him into focus for those who may have missed Him otherwise. Let us magnify Him so that others may see His greatness.
Let us not make the mistake of making any move, or taking any action, unless we have gone to God and gotten some counsel about it.
A biblical template I use and that I have been taught when it comes to proving my music.