October 24, 2021

The power of sincere praise



Years ago, a pastor warned his congregation not to focus overmuch on one doctrine. He explained that doing this was like looking at something with a magnifying glass; that teaching might become large and clear but everything else around it would be blurry.

Since then, I’ve noted how this happens both in cults and in some Christian denominations. At the same time, I’ve also noticed that as God’s child, my one main focus is to glorify or MAGNIFY Him. This does not blur all else. Rather it clarifies everything else around me!

To magnify someone, particularly God, means to make a big deal out of who He is and what He has done. The psalms are odes to Him, offering worship in many ways and magnifying Him with praise and adoration. They call His people to “magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Other ways to magnify God include “seeking Him and being glad in Him” and saying, “God is great.” We “praise His name with a song” and “magnify Him with thanksgiving.” We speak of the “greatness of His works” and the “depth of His thoughts.” We bless Him, noting that He is “clothed with splendor and majesty” and has “done great things” that “fill our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy.”

We can do this because we realize that God also magnifies Himself. Psalm 138:2 says, “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”

In the NT, when she was told she would be the mother of the Messiah, Mary offered what is not called the “Magnificat” in praise of God. It begins with, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Her response sets an example for all God’s people to offer this kind of verbal response. While none of us are in Mary’s shoes, anyone who believes in Jesus and has been reborn into God’s family is also a recipient of great things. This holy God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams by forgiving our sin and giving us eternal life. Jesus lives in us and His life magnifies our lives. How appropriate to magnify Him for all that He has done.

Paul said it well in Philippians 1:20–21. “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

GAZE INTO HIS GLORY. Isaiah 26:3 says that God will keep me in perfect peace as my mind is fixed on Him because I trust Him. The NT tells me that as I do that, He will transform me into the image of His Son. I must magnify Him for this incredible grace, knowing that nothing in me is worthy of such a wonder. The NT also tells of how God uses Christians. We can even magnify our ministry (See Romans 11:13-15) drawing others to what He is doing and creating in them a desire to have this salvation for themselves. This isn’t about bragging. It is about magnifying God for what He does in my life in such a way that others want Him to show the same grace and power in their lives. For this, I must realize my humble estate too, because any hint of boasting as I magnify the Lord can negate the power of sincere praise.