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

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 10:17:53 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

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

Magnifying Christ in our lives is sustained in
hope because of the faith required. We are
convinced that Christ is the one to follow. When
we follow him we stay close behind on the road to
heaven. When we do, his light reflects off of us
onto the world around us (Matthew 5:16).

Second, magnifying Christ in our lives means that
we must be constant in boldness. Paul writes,
"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).

Thayer defines "boldness" as "free and fearless
confidence and cheerful courage."/1 We would have
the type of faith to withstand all the "fiery
darts of the wicked one" because we would have
absolute confidence in Christ's Word (Ephesians
6:16; Philippians 4:13). John Wayne said that
"courage is being scared to death and saddling up
anyway."

Part of this boldness is contained within the word
"ashamed." That we are firm in Christ and are not
ashamed or embarrassed by his word, doctrine,
church, or children (Romans 8:35-39). "He who is
in Christ has found freedom towards God and can
approach God with confidence. He can stand before
the Ruler and Judge free and erect, not lowering
his head, able to bear his presence."/2

This boldness before God, who can "destroy both
soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28), should
bring a "cheerful courage" before men, who can do
nothing to us, other than destroy our bodies. This
boldness brings us security and confidence as we
magnify Christ to the world. That while we are
walking with him, we need not be ashamed of
anything he does.

Third, magnifying Christ means that we are
constant in bringing glory. Once we are filled
with hope, pride in his word, and bold with his
message, we can focus all of our energy into
making Christ look good.

This magnification will require focus and the
proper perspective. The latter means that we will
make mistakes as we follow God and promote his
cause. Yet, we know that God's grace will be there
in our weakness. God knows that we are trying to
serve and glorify him, despite our weaknesses.

The proper perspective is required in every aspect
of our faith. It allows us to see our failures and
weak efforts in the right light. It means we
understand God does not require perfection. It
brings peace and comfort in the face of temptation
and suffering. To know that we are not alone in
our challenges as we are a part of the fierce
battle between God and Satan (Ephesians 6:10-20).

Magnifying Christ means that we are "deeming or
declaring him great."/3 We are making him larger
in the eyes of the world. "Ordinary views of
Christ were too small. Christ was big enough to
fill the universe, but to most people he was
remote and far away. Paul wanted to be a telescope
to bring him closer to their consciousness so they
could see him in all his glory and grace. Paul
wanted to be a microscope to enlarge their vision
of Christ -– to make the various facets of his
magnificent life manifest so that people could
study him in detail."/4

Christ always magnifies God, so we have no reason
to do any less (John 14:10). We live by and for
him every day of our lives and he will then be
powerful in the world around us (Galatians 2:20).

__________
1/ Joseph Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament, 491.
2/ Heinrich Schlier, "parrhesia," in Theological
Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard
Friedrich (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 5:883.
3/ Thayer, 394.
4/ John Phillips, Exploring Ephesians and
Philippians (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1993), 58.

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