OK, I admit it. I love chocolate, just about any way that it comes: bars, drops, kisses, chips, syrup, you name it. It can be milk, white, or dark; with raspberry or orange it’s even better. It’s great in a mug (with or without coffee). Whether it’s wrapped around some filling or fruit, or some coating is wrapped around it, it doesn’t matter. Belgian, Swiss, Hershey, Cadbury, Dove, whatever. Just keep it coming.
I do have some favorites, though. For instance, in the candy bar category dark chocolate Three Musketeers bars rank high on my list, and so do Snickers bars. I have noticed, however, that it takes quite a few 3M’s to satisfy me (and then I have a roaring sugar buzz to work through). A Snickers bar, on the other hand, “really satisfies you.” With all those peanuts in there, I’m generally good with one.
So what does all of this have to do with magnifying Christ? I’m thinking of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippian church (1:20) when he declares, “so may also Christ be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” That word magnify is the key. It means to make heavy, or to show worth. Paul is saying the objective of his existence is to exalt the weight or worth of Christ to all around him; to demonstrate by his life the reality and substance of the Savior. Paul speaks at length of that substance in his epistle to the Colossian church as he insists in chapter one that Christ is preeminent in all things (verses 15-29).
You see, Three Musketeers bars are tasty and sweet, no doubt. They’re also mostly air. Not much substance there at all. It takes a lot of them to sort of fill you up, and to obtain that goal will cost you. In the end, though they promise a satisfying experience, they can’t do it because they have no substance, no weight, no real worth. And while I readily acknowledge that Snickers bars hardly qualify for health food status, they at least have weight, and some protein, and they do fill you up without the buzz. They have solid content through and through, which is the point of the analogy.
Too many believers want to focus on the “light” version of the Lord Jesus Christ: His sweetness, His love, His kindness, His innocence as a baby, and so on. There are lots of worship songs out there that elevate those things exclusively, and for many this is the only Christ they know. Thinking they are praising Him as He desires, they really are trying to fill up on a partial understanding of Who He really is. It’s no wonder that the largest number of converts to cult religions are evangelical Protestants who are basically “Three Musketeer bar” Christians who don’t really know the substantial, weighty Christ. They are defenseless against the subtle deceits of the Adversary.
Christ is “sweet,” no doubt. He is full of love, kindness, and tenderness. But He also is just, holy, a righteous Judge, infinite, eternal, one with the Father, full of grace and truth. He is first in all things, and will not tolerate being one idol among many in our hearts. He is solid through and through, of worth and deserving of our highest praise, our earnest seeking out of every facet of His character, of our declaration of Him to the world in fullness (not just the parts we’re most comfortable with). To magnify Him means that we make it our burning desire to help others to see Him as He reveals Himself in the Word. Toward the end of his letter to the Colossian church, Paul commends his fellow laborer, Epaphras, as one who manifests this attitude: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis” (4:12, 13; compare with 1:29). Epaphras was a Snickers bar Christian, and wanted others to have the same genuine satisfaction in Christ that he himself had experienced, whatever it cost him. So may it be with us.
And now, for some reason, I feel strangely hungry. Time to go raid the snack drawer….