God is not impressed with that
This is the season of Lent (which technically ends today). But why do we do it? Are we unconsciously trying to impress God?
Why do we deprive ourselves of certain luxuries, or creature comforts, or niceties, or even necessities? In my conversations with others, I often discover that beneath our spiritual practices is the belief that somehow we can capture God’s attention, earn his favor, and possibly even alter his mind and actions on our behalf.
I don’t think that works. I don’t believe that God is impressed with our spiritual practices, even if they are accomplished at great cost to us. In fact, I don’t think anything we can possibly do will impress God. Or surprise him.
But that’s not the purpose of those spiritual practices anyway. They’re not for God’s sake, they’re for ours.
- We pray because we need to stay in two-way conversation with our heavenly Father.
- We give because we need to push back against self-serving greed and become generous.
- We fast because we need to learn that there is a better master for our lives than simply our physical appetites.
- We serve because we need to be reminded that our life is not about us, but about something greater, namely the work of God in and through us.
I could go on, but you get the point. During this season of Lent, I pray that your efforts at spiritual practice would bear fruit in your life. Not because you manipulated God into doing something for you, but rather because you stepped into the stream of what God is longing to do IN you through the power of his Holy Spirit.
And whether or not you chose to implement some spiritual practice during Lent, let me add this: These practices are not just for a season. They’re for life. Because they’re the way we actually continue to grow into the men and women we were created to be. So take heart, spiritual practices are for life. And while God may not be impressed by them, he will be delighted.
P.S. I hope you can join us on Resurrection Sunday! We’ll have four identical gatherings, at 8:00, 9:15, 10:30, and 11:45.