For most of my life, I haven’t known what it is like to not be trying to impress people. I’ve had people tell me, “You don’t have to impress anyone.” My problem wasn’t just about impressing people. My problem was also everything that goes into impressing people, and I needed people to be impressed with me. It takes a lot of energy to try and impress everyone so that they will like you, or the work you create. In fact, trying to impress people takes so much energy that I often felt exhausted when I was at home. Alive where the crowd was. Exhausted at home. My drive to impress people wore my soul like tattered clothes.
I was so caught up in the art of impressing people that I didn’t notice how this played out in every relationship. The relationship it played into most was my relationship with God. A.W. Tower wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I know this to be more true now than ever in my life. I was spending so much time trying to impress God, trying to prove myself to God, that I had no idea how to enjoy God. The other thing I was clueless about in my own heart was the grace of God. I was too busy trying to impress God with how good I was to comprehend grace.
Many days now, I wonder how many people walk around trying to impress God with their moral muscle. I wonder how many people are exhausted in every part of their life, because they don’t understand what it is like to truly be accepted. Grace is not just God covering my sin. Grace is God covering my sin, and placing me in a position of value, worth, and honor in His eyes.
Grace is a wrecking ball destroying the pride of man. Grace devastates self-righteousness. Grace unravels this idea of me impressing God by doing enough good things.
Paul wrote about grace like this, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more…” Romans 5:20.
And yes, some of you right about now are flinching inside just like I flinch when I read that verse and say, “Yeah, but Paul’s not making excuse for sin or disobedience. I mean, let’s talk about obedience.”
Sure, let’s talk about that sometime. But not before we bring to the forefront of our minds, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8.
When you and I couldn’t do anything, Christ died for us. At our worst, Christ loved us best.
Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
I think God is asking us to receive something we can never pay back, and to stop trying to pay Him back for grace. I think God wants us to love Him instead of trying to strike bargains with him. What do you do when you’re not trying to impress God anymore? I think it is then that you’re free to really love God and to love people.
My whole life, I’ve been around the things of God. I’ve been around the church, learned the bible, sang the songs, and heard the sermons. This year, I believe I’m starting to comprehend the incomprehensible grace of God. It is messing with me in great ways. I am asking questions about what is important. I’m also learning to leave behind this idea of trying to impress people because God accepts me for who I am instead of who I wish I was, and how I wish I was. To be quite honest, it is not easy to move from the way you have oriented your life for years. Yet, I believe God loves me and accepts me for who I am. Hopefully, I will have the humility to accept this.
Here are two things I’m saying more often to God.
“I love you.”
Grace is greater than we would have ever imagined. Grace is bigger than our minds could believe. Grace is and will continue into eternity where we find ourselves at rest with the God who created us, and loves us as we are.