[forthright] Magnifying Christ in Our Lives (Part One)

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 09:41:07 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Magnifying Christ in Our Lives (Part One)
by Richard Mansel

The Apostle Paul wrote, "according to my earnest
expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be
ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always so
now also Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20,
NKJV). We learn three lessons from this passage.

First, we are to be constant in hope. Hope is to
be "living" (1 Peter 1:3), "blessed" (Titus 2:13)
and "an anchor of the soul, both sure and
steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19). Hope gets us through
each new day. It steers us through the minefields
of trouble all around us. Hope is the expectation
of future good. It tells us that there are
brighter days ahead of us. We just have to keep
moving forward.

Those without hope see no tomorrows. Elie Wiesel,
in "Night," writes of those who survived the
holocaust as doing so because they had hope they
would survive. The patient who is hopeful of a
full recovery is able to endure the pain.
Tibellius said that "hope ever urges on, and tells
us tomorrow will be better."/1

Christians have a hope that men do not possess
outside of Christ. "Other men see only a hopeless
end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless
hope."/2 "There is no medicine like hope, no
incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as
expectation of something better tomorrow."/3

Paul writes that we should have "an earnest
expectation of hope" (Philippians 1:20). The
phrase, "earnest expectation" means a "keen
anticipation of the future, the craning of the
neck to catch a glimpse of what lies ahead."/4
This is a powerful image.

A child knows his parents are taking him to Disney
to see Mickey Mouse in the morning. His excitement
prevents sleep. Every minute becomes an hour as he
waits and waits for the time to arrive. At long
last, the car heads out. Mile after mile, he keeps
looking out the window and asking whether they are
almost there. Finally, he is told that they are a
mile away. He cranes his neck as far as he can to
see ahead of the car. He knows that if he can
glimpse one corner of the building, his dreams
will be realized.

Imagine having such unbridled anticipation of
heaven! Imagine craning our neck to see what was
coming because we cannot imagine what God will do
next. If we had been a witness to creation we
would have experienced such an exhilaration that
we would be speechless to see what would come
next.     

Augustine said, "Oh God, thou hast made us for
Thyself and our souls are restless until they find
rest in thee!"/5 Are we restless to be in heaven?
Paul had a strong "desire to depart and be with
Christ" (Philippians 1:23). Paul was not going to
be satisfied until he walked the paths of heaven.
He knew there was a "crown of righteousness" laid
up for him and he was ready to rest from his
labors (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

A strong faith in Christ says that we have
absolute faith in his ability to carry out his
plan and fulfill his promises. Paul wrote that we
will be redeemed in our bodies and he says "we
[are] saved in this hope" (Romans 8:23,24). And
hope in Christ, we are assured, will never
disappoint us (Romans 5:5).
    
__________
1/ Eleanor Doan, Speaker's Sourcebook II (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 208.
2/ Ibid. Quote by Gilbert M. Beenken.
3/ Ibid. Quote from O.S. Marden.
4/ Ralph Martin, Philippians, in Tyndale New
Testament Commentaries, edited by Leon Morris,
Volume 11 (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1987), 78.
5/ John Phillips, Exploring Ephesians and
Philippians (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1993), 60.

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