Day 5: Pleasing vs. Impressing

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

I’ve been carefully trying to use the word “impress” and not “pleasing” as I am going through this subject.

When I started out thinking through writing about this subject, I found myself using the word “pleasing” a lot.

What is the difference between pleasing and impressing?  I think saying that we need to quit trying to impress God is right and true.  Is it just semantics?  Or would it be heresy to say we should quit trying to please God?

Impress is a verb meaning to make someone feel admiration or respect.

Please is a verb meaning to make someone feel happy or satisfied, or to give someone pleasure.

Are we called to please God?

God said this about His Son Jesus, as He was being baptized, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  Of course Jesus would please His Father, but are we suppose to please Him?

We are.  I could list out dozens of scriptures that command us to please God.  You can find them by searching online or in your Bible app the word “please.”  I’ll just give you one from the New Testament.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
— Colossians 1:9-12 ESV

If we are able and expected to please God, then how do we accomplish this?

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who seek him.”

Since faith is a gift from the Lord, we cannot please Him on our own.  He gives us faith, we put it into action, believing in Him.  That pleases God.

As we obey God, we are showing that we actually believe in Him.  As we seek to be more like Christ, out of faith and obedience, we actually do please Him.

To take from the definition of pleasing, we make God feel happy or satisfied, or we give God pleasure.

How is this different from impressing God?  If we put God into the sentence definition of impress, we can see the difference.

We make God feel admiration or respect.

Um.  No.

God isn’t going to tip his hat at us like a cowboy lassoed into learning a lesson.  God doesn’t learn lessons.

God isn’t going to do a Wayne and Garth move, wave His arms up and down, and vibrato out a, “We’re not worthy” to us.

That is heresy.

The worship should only go one way, from us to Him.

We can see that there is a difference between pleasing God and impressing God.  How do we do one, and not strive to do the other?  The answer is in our motivation.  We will explore that topic tomorrow.  See you then.



Click to return to series table of contents.



I like to include a song with each blog post, because it's my blog, and I can listen to music if I want to.  My husband has been listening to this album a bunch.  It came out 2 years ago, so we were late to the game.  I'm guessing you might not have heard it either.  I was trying to explain ambient music to my friend who only listens to country music.  I sounded like a crazy person.  The story behind this song is pretty interesting.  The "vocals" are re-mixed up vocals from a children's Christmas album.  I think it sounds so beautiful and relaxing.  I do my best writing listening to ambient music.