ARE YOU IMPRESSED?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Would it be something external—your hair color, eye color, height, weight, shape of your nose or ears, or size of your feet? Or would it be something internal—have more courage, less fear, more intelligent, more patient, less serious all the time, or maybe a more positive outlook?
Let me ask you another question: In social situations, are you the “impresser” or the “impressed”? In other words, do you frequently go around trying to impress the people you’re with? Or by the time you leave, do you walk away more impressed by those you interacted with?
If you’re the “impresser,” what qualities or characteristics about yourself are you trying to impress others with—your physique, impressive travel history, intellect, success at work, thoughtfulness, listing the number of famous people you’ve met, etc.?
And if you’re the “impressed,” what was it that captivated you most about these people—their good looks, fancy car, leadership ability, attention to what you were saying, sensitivity toward others, wisdom, expensive clothes?
There’s a story in the Old Testament in which God told Samuel to go “evaluate” the sons of Jesse in order to select the next king. The first son he saw was Eliab. Samuel must have been impressed with how he looked or how he carried himself, because he thought, “Surely, this is the Lord’s anointed.” Interestingly enough, however, God’s immediate response to Samuel was, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
What was God impressed with—the externals or the internals?
The Apostle Peter reaffirms what we already know to be the answer to this question: “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NLT).
Allow me to ask you a couple more questions. How much time and effort (and money) do you spend on your “externals”—your hair and makeup, landscaping your yard, shopping for the perfect outfit or shoes, working out, etc.? And how much time and effort (and money) do you spend on your “internals”—praying, reading God’s Word, listening intently to those in need, sacrificing your time for others, etc.?
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9. God is searching for folks who are fully devoted to Him. Not only that, He’s standing by, ready to strengthen and fully support them.
If God is “impressed” with a gentle and quiet spirit, and in looking at the heart, He is searching for people who are fully devoted to Him, then I have a long way to go. No, that’s not very impressive, but then again the fact that the God of the Universe loves me, chose me, called me, redeemed me, and created me for a purpose is very impressive indeed!