Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Who Are We Trying to Impress?

It is a difficult thing not to worship God in order to please the people who are looking on, rather than to please Him. Yet we are commanded to do so (Matthew 6:1-18; 23:2-12; Galatians 1:10). But it is easy to be concerned about what people will think of my prayer or my singing or whatever else I am doing. Do I sound and look sufficiently spiritual? But I think frequently our problem has a deeper root. We are trying to impress God. Now it is not that God needs something from us. He is, in fact, the possessor of everything (Psalms 50:7-13; Romans 11:33-36; Isaiah 40:21-26). Rather, all we can offer is a response of thanksgiving for all the good things He has done for us (Psalms 50:14,15; 100:1-5; Philippians 4:4).
For Christianity is not about what we can do for God but what He has done for us. He has made us and all things that we might come to know and serve Him (Genesis 2:7; Psalms 8:3-8; Acts 17:24-31). He supplies all our needs (Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:28). When we were in rebellion against Him (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9), He sent His Son to pay the price, that we might be reconciled to Him (Romans 5:6-8; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Through faith in His Son’s work (Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9), that we might belong to Him (John 1:12,13; 1 Peter 2:4,5; Ephesians 2:20-22). Further, when we do this He sends His power into our life to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29).

Now this should result in our responding in love to His love (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Romans 12:1,2) by living in light of what He has done in our lives (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 6:20). But this is simply the appropriate response to who He is and what He has done. Therefore, we approach God, not as having something to impress Him, but as those who are nothing and can offer nothing apart from what He has given us. We approach God for His provision and protection (Hebrews 4:16; Psalms 46:10,11; 3:3). We come to Him, not with full hands, but with empty, to receive His grace. But we also come to respond appropriately to this grace by giving thanks for and celebrating His goodness. But we are offering Him nothing but what He Himself has given us. And as we realize we cannot impress Him, we will be less prone to try to impress others.

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