When was the last time you felt the overwhelming pressure to impress someone you were around? Was it your wife or kids? Boss? Co-worker? We all know the feeling. We get embarrassed about something and then we’re hit with a wave of insecurity that is immediately followed by a desire to impress the people we’re around to make up for the embarrassment. Or another situation – we feel our worth is in what other people think about us which leads us to talking our selves “up” to people we’re talking to, or the people we’re around. Have you experienced anything like that? I do all too often.
Imagine The Scenarios…
You’re having a normal conversation about work with your neighbor and they mention the great month of sales they’ve had; when he asks about you and your company, you immediately lie to sound more impressive. Have you been there?
How about this example from the baseball world: Roughly 90% of pitchers I met over the course of my playing days claim to have thrown 95 mph but I’ve only seen around 10% actually hit that mark. Why? Because 80% of people really like to sound impressive to their teammates!
Our desire to be impressive forces us to try and “keep up with the Joneses” doesn’t it? Dave Ramsey states it best, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Which means debt, and more debt, and more debt, and…. Surely we don’t actually like living this way, do we?
In recent years Social Media has expanded the problem. Social Media makes it easy for us to live two different lives at all times. We present the more impressive parts of us to the world and we hide the less impressive – hoping that everyone, including ourselves, will forget that we’re not actually that impressive at all.
How could we not fall victim to this? Our culture is basically screaming “IMPRESS ME!” at us from every direction. In ministry a fellow minister will ask, “How’s your church/ministry?” and the question they really mean is, “How many people do you have coming?” In business we’ll ask, “How’s business?” and what we really mean is, “Did you exceed your quota last month?” People will ask, “How are your kids?” and what they really mean is, “What has your kid accomplished? I want to see if my kids are better than yours.”
It is exhausting, is it not? It can seem like an unescapable trap.
Our spiritual lives are not immune to this either. Raise your hand if when your spiritual mentor/pastor has asked you how your spiritual life is going you’ve frantically racked your mind for the one or two pieces of your week that he/she would approve of? I know I have! There have been a few times that I’ve gone back to something I learned months ago when asked the question, “what is God teaching you?” Why? Because I can’t stand to be viewed as less than impressive. I would rather lie about my bible reading than be viewed as a failure.
[tweetshare tweet=”I would rather lie about my bible reading than be viewed as a failure.” username=”@msmnwa”]
Like I said, exhausting.
At this point you would think I’m going to wrap up by saying, “don’t worry about those people! You just need to live to impress God!” If you were thinking that, you couldn’t be more wrong about your assumption. Do you really think you can impress God? Do you really think you can live in such a way that causes Him to stop all that he’s doing, gather the angels, and watch your masterful performance? Do you really think the God of the universe is going to be impressed by something you create, you lead, or you oversee? No way. And if we’re honest, we know that, but it’s also our deepest fear.
Imagine you’ve been out on a sales call gone haywire and you’re about pull up to the parking lot of your office. At the same time you pull up, you see your co-worker getting out of their car with a huge smile on their face – you know they finished the sale. What are you going to do? My inclination would be to stay in my car until my co-worker is well out of sight! The last thing I want to do is own up to the fact that I couldn’t finish the sale!
This mindset isn’t a good one because it directly translates to my relationship with God. What am I going to do if I know I’m disobedient and think God is going to be less than impressed with me? Avoid Him, of course! Have you been there, or am I the only one? See, I know I cannot impress God and that scares me because, well, why would He want to spend time with me, or know me, if I’m not impressive?
The good news is that His love and desire for you is not about you. It’s about Himself. He desires for the crown glory of His creation to be back in peaceful relationship with Him. The good news about Jesus is that he’s impressive on your behalf, you can’t impress God, but Jesus has impressed Him for you. Jesus is the only perfect human. He is the second Adam that did what the first Adam could not do – be obedient and perfect. Jesus did what is required of us so that if we trust in Him, we could be approved of by God.
Christian, when God looks at you He looks at you through the lens of the Cross. With His spiritual eyes He is able to see the blood of Jesus covering you. He doesn’t see you as people see you, He see’s Jesus when He looks at you.
Jesus displayed perfect obedience and faithfulness to God on our behalf. He took on flesh and was completely sinless during His life so that buy being covered in His blood, God would view us as completely sinless as well. Because of Jesus we can approach God as our less than impressive selves with complete security because by denying us, God would be denying Himself – and that, ladies and gentlemen, He will never do.
So, let’s me make this clear. You can’t impress God and because of Jesus you don’t have to try, and you don’t have to try to impress any body else because with Christ’s blood your already impressive to the One that matters. Isn’t that refreshing? If you have trusted Christ and Christ alone as The Way to unity and right-standing with God then you are His Beloved. There is nothing you can do, good or bad, to change the way God thinks about you.
Everything in this world is passing away. Everything that we try to impress people with today will not be here tomorrow. Let’s place our hope in Jesus for freedom from trying to impress everyone around us.
Make room for God today in your heart and mind – He loves you more than you think.