And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:46-47 ESV
A converted Hindu gave the following address to a number of his fellow countrymen: “I am, by birth, of an insignificant and contemptible caste—so low, that if a Brahmin should chance to touch me, he must go and bathe in the Ganges for the purpose of purification; and yet God has been pleased to call me, not merely to the knowledge of the Gospel, but to the high office of teaching it to others. My friends, do you know the reason for God’s conduct? It is this—if God had selected one of you learned Brahmins and made you the preacher when you were successful in making converts, by-standers would have said, it was the amazing learning of the Brahmin and his great weight of character that were the cause; but now, when anyone is converted by my instrumentality, no one thinks of ascribing any of the praise to me: and God, as is His due, has all the glory.”
Source: An Answer to the Abbé Dubois, Henry Townley and Jean Antoine Dubois
“My soul magnifies the Lord.” These are the words of a teenage mother who has been informed she would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit with a special baby who would be the Savior of the world. But that pregnancy would be controversial. It could have possibly led to the stoning of Mary for adultery according to Jewish culture because she was engaged to be married to Joseph. Yet, this teenage girl found the spiritual courage to magnify the name of the Lord when her cousin Elizabeth affirmed what the Holy Spirit had already told Mary about the pregnancy.
It is easy to magnify the Lord in times of comfort. When all the bills are paid, or the business is thriving, or one is excelling in their career, or fame and fortune are within one’s grasps, magnifying God does not take much mental and spiritual fortitude. It is in times of hardships that our praise to God becomes even more meaningful. Indeed, it takes a lot of faith and courage to magnify God when facing rejection, persecution, or possible martyrdom.
What does it mean to magnify the Lord as Mary did? It is surrendering our personal agendas and acknowledging that whatever God plans for our lives will work to our good even when the process may not feel good or look good. Mary rejoiced in God though she was going to become a pariah in her community. She maintained that it was an honor to be chosen by God to carry the child, though she may have to pay the ultimate price for her obedience to the Lord. Throughout her song of praise, Mary exalted the name of the Lord for His mercy, faithfulness, and steadfast love for the lowly. Though Elizabeth sought to praise Mary for being the chosen vessel to carry the baby Jesus, Mary redirected all the praises to the Lord.
Magnifying God is precisely redirecting all praises for any accomplishment toward God. As the converted Hindu in today’s illustration states: God should get all the glory for all accomplishments. When people laud us with praises for our successes, we should say: “To God Be The Glory.” Every glory has a story that is authored by God. Therefore, we should magnify the name of the Lord from whom all blessings flow.
Not surprisingly, Mary magnified the Lord with her soul and not just her lips. Many people give lip praises to God while their souls are not fully convinced of the power of God and His love for His creation. Lip praises are temporary and conditional. They tend to be emotional and circumstantial. But one must dig deep within to magnify God with one’s soul. Magnifying God with the soul requires intervention from the Holy Spirit. It takes us to a higher level of spiritual awareness. It is worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What does it mean to you to magnify God with your soul?
What do you need to do to elevate your worship of God from lip praises to soul praises?
Prayer- Almighty God, I confess that I’ve not always given you the glory for all the things you have done in my life. Please help me to be more intentional to magnify your name with my soul and not just give you lip praises. May I remain as excited about purpose and plans for my life in times of hardships as I am in times of comfort!