at the altar of my life

Ever sing a song a bunch of times, but then on the millionth time you actually listen to the lyrics? Like really listen to the lyrics and what they are saying. This was me recently with “Christ Be Magnified” by Cody Carnes.

As I stood there in the sanctuary, surrounded by my church family all raising their arms in praise of our Heavenly Father, the words on the screen in front of me, the same ones that were coming out of my mouth, suddenly became my prayer.

Oh! Christ be magnified

From the altar of my life

Christ be magnified in me

I left church that Sunday and could not stop singing the song, but even more so, thinking about the true meaning of the message of the words. I was overcome by the imagery of every tongue coming together to articulate His glory. As we lifted our voices, I saw mountains rumbling, ocean waves rolling, colorful butterflies dancing and people all over the world falling to their knees at the name of Jesus. Christ was magnified.

Not long after God broke me with the lyrics of the song, I came across Psalm 63:3. “My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life.” 

As I dwelled on that verse, the question came to my mind, “What would my life look like if I only focused on glorifying the Lord?” What if I just let go of all the little things that worry me? What if I stopped trying to take control over my family, my businesses and my life? What if I just spent my time here on earth praising him. 

What if my life really became an altar to Him?

The lyrics found in the bridge of the song started to become my anthem.

I won't bow to idols, I'll stand strong and worship You

And 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

And if I join You in Your suffering, 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, my song will be the same

God started to reveal the idols in my life: success, security, appearance. He gently showed me that the very things I was using to try to bring Him glory were the things that were holding me back from truly worshipping Him. That in the midst of trying to minister to others, I was worrying more about my own outcomes and not the impact on others. He showed me that ministry is not always comfortable, and that times of transformation are hard but lead to beauty. And no matter the season, my song should always be the same - Christ be magnified in me.

Over the last few months, when I feel the pressures of the world around me, or can tell my priorities are getting jumbled around, I take a deep breath and pray, “Christ, be magnified in me.” I ask Him to show me how the very stress, moment or trouble can bring Him glory. And, I close my eyes and remember the beautiful picture He gave me of mountains and oceans and people joyfully worshipping Him together.