Nothing I do impresses God.
Many of us spend our lives seeking to impress others. As young children we learn that people will like us if we impress them; impress them with our grades, our athletic prowess, our artistic skills, our musicianship, our ability to talk, whatever. A little later, we may have even bent over backwards to impress a potential marriage partner.
It’s little wonder, then, that we want to impress God, too. “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). We want to pull off something big, something successful … something impressive. We’d like to wow God.
The Apostle Paul urges us to “learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10) but this has to do with obedience, not achievement. Christ is pleased with our surrender; never impressed with our ability. After all, the Holy Spirit empowers the people of God to do whatever the Father needs done in the moment. If Christ is impressed by anyone, He ought be impressed with Himself…and His ability, by the Spirit, through His people, to achieve the purposes of the Father in this world.
The “desire to impress” that we have learned for a lifetime does not shake off easily or quickly, and every effort to impress God diminishes us because it diminishes grace. The desire to impress emanates from pride, not humility. It therefore undoes us.
This week I am not called to impress God, but to be impressed by God.
How differently might we live, if we lived in response to His leading rather than seizing the initiative ourselves, if we replaced the desire to impress with a heart for humble obedience, and if we started to extol His glory and greatness instead of our own?
Grace beckons us in this direction.