Christ be Magnified
song by Cory Asbury, Ethan Hulse, Cody Carnes
(check the links below to listen while you read)
"Were creation suddenly articulate, with a thousand tongues to lift one cry, then from north to south and east to west, we'd hear ‘Christ be magnified.’"
"Were the whole earth echoing His eminence, His name would burst from sea to sky. From rivers to the mountaintops, we'd hear ‘Christ be magnified!’"
Verses 1 and 2 paint such a picture of the resounding beauty of creation that longs to see Christ revealed. Romans 1:20 says that God has made his invisible qualities visible - through creation! - that men would be without excuse. We have NO EXCUSE not to praise. Look at the sky, look in any direction and see His eternal power and divine nature. Yes, I do believe that creation itself cries out to its maker. I am reminded of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; when the Pharisees were offended at the wild crowds, Jesus responded with “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." We cannot afford to be a generation that drops the ball on this. I’ll say it again; we are without excuse. We as the church, know our maker. He has allowed Himself to be found by us, discovered in our corporate gatherings as well as in the deep places of the soul. What an amazing thing to be able to express praise and adoration for who He is, and what He has done.
Imagine meeting your favourite author, artist or filmmaker etc. and being able to express your thanks and appreciation for their craft. It probably wouldn’t mean so much to them, they may hear such praise often; but it is actually more meaningful for you to be able to share your value for their work. In a way, it completes the enjoyment of it. C.S. Lewis has written that “It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed”. So let us express our praise!
“O! Christ be magnified! Let His praise arise! Christ be magnified in me!"
These words in the chorus are very churchy, and easy to gloss over - for me anyway, because it's not my type of language. I don't know the last time I told someone, ‘oh, I want that magnified in my life’. But when it comes to our walk with God, we know that there is a daily outpouring of ourselves for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We know that Jesus reveals the heart of the Father, we know that we have"taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (Colossians 3:10).
God my creator, renewing me in my very innermost being, according to His image and perfect design for my life. So yes! That is what I want magnified, highlighted, visible above all else in my life.
But it's not a natural thing that will happen on its own, it comes as we go from glory to glory, faith to faith. The next lines of the chorus sing to this:
"O! Christ be magnified! From the altar of my life! Christ be magnified in me!"
The ‘altar of my life’ means from the place where we sacrifice our wants and desires for His. Our way of doing things for His. Our recognition and advancement for His. This is how he will be magnified in us - when people look at us, and see His way of life, instead of ours. But as I mentioned earlier, there is a daily outpouring. This is what I believe Jesus was talking about when He said,
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
(Matthew 16: 24-25).
And this is what leads us into the bridge and gets me every time.
"I won't bow to idols, I'll stand strong and worship You; if it puts me in the fire, I'll rejoice 'cause you're there too. I won't be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true; if the cross brings transformation, then I'll be crucified with You.
'Cause death is just the doorway into resurrection life,If I join You in Your sufferings then I'll join You when You rise.And when You return in glory, with all the angels and the saints,My heart will still be singing, and my song will be the same."
There is nothing I could add to this. It is so beautifully written and powerful. What a way to praise Him – in Spirit and in truth. I love that this song does not ignore the times that we will be in the fire. Instead, it invites those memories in to our worship, and brings them under the authority of the hope that we have in Christ; for our “momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
If we die with Him, we will surely rise with Him, not only on the last day, but every day I must die to myself. And there are some days I cannot come to that conclusion fast enough! Last month, Jordan wrote about the lyric "Because all I want, is all you are" and it has struck me more and more, that apart from Jesus, what in this lifetime is worth having? As the Psalmist says
"And besides You, I desire nothing on earth... God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
Again, our creator, draws us in to the innermost parts of our heart, and entrusts Himself to us. We carry an invaluable weight of glory from the moment we accept Jesus as Lord, and its time we started living as such.This summer, the sermon series has continually asked people what they would want said at their funeral and I think I have finally been able to pin it down for myself; if at the end of my days, anyone could look at my life, the summation of my accomplishments, the victories and the trials – through this all, my greatest hope is that they would be able to see Jesus in every part. May the overwhelming conclusion that to live is Christ and to die is gain flood the sanctuary again as we sing,
"O! Christ be Magnified! Let His Praise Arise! Christ be magnified in me!"