How would you live a life that “magnifies the Lord?”
Our small group looked this week at the passage known as “The Magnificat,” or Mary’s song of praise. In Luke 1:46 (ESV) she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
One of the discussion questions asked how you’d go about living a life that “magnifies the Lord?” One guy offered a pretty good visual.
He talked about a magnifying glass, and how if you turn it one way it focuses on you but if you turn it around the focus shifts away. We thought that was good but then realized you can’t really focus on God, or at least it’s really hard, because you can’t see Him. But you can turn the magnifying glass on other people. We reached this conclusion.
We make life about Jesus when we shift the focus to others and their needs rather than ourselves.
The study took us to this passage in Philippians:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)
I’ve read those words many times. I’m fairly sure I understand their meaning. But, you see, there’s a problem.
I’m entitled. I’m an American. I have rights. The Constitution says so. Advertising says so. The legal system says so. My hard work and the stuff I’ve accumulated say so.
And along comes Jesus saying I have no rights at all, that none of it belongs to me and it’s all a gift. Is He really claiming I’m supposed to value His principles above those set forth in the Declaration Of Independence, inalienable rights with which I was endowed by my creator?
I think He’s saying exactly that. I think He saying I’m entitled to nothing, that He cares about what’s right, not my rights. I think He’s saying I’m supposed to care about people, not flags and documents and winning.
The problem is, I like my moderately entitled life. I like the relative safety and comfort with which I’m blessed. I’m grateful, and I don’t pretend to deserve any of it, but I also don’t want to lose it. I don’t mind looking first to the interests of others, as long as I get to park my car in the garage every night.
So I nibble away at the edges, a corner here and there, perhaps a bit less selfish than before, trying to turn the magnifying glass a little more toward others. But “not looking to my own interests”?
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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com