What kind of impression do you make on others?
As a teenager, I learned something about impressions. For several years I had an interest in crafting leather goods. I bought a set of leather sculpting tools and stamps and expressed a bit of creativity making a variety of items like belts, guitar straps and wrist bands. Using the tools and striking the stamps with the proper hammer, I would imprint and impress certain designs, names and phrases on the wet leather.
I soon discovered that once struck, the leather is permanently marked. There are no second chances or changes. The impression that is made is the impression that lasts. Needless to say, I wasted lots of leather in the early stages of my craft. Over time I became much more careful with the use of my tools. With greater care, the mistakes and waste significantly decreased and my efforts actually made me a little spending money during college!
What does this story have to do with your life now? Lots!
Every day, whether we realize it or not, we make impressions on others. The Apostle Paul reminded us of this:
” … Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” — 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
The Greek word Paul used for “example” is very instructive. It is a word meaning “a mark, print or impression.”
Through our words and life patterns we make an impression on others — we leave marks or prints on their lives. We can imprint them for good or evil. And many times, whatever impression we make on someone lasts — there are no opportunities for re-do’s. If we get it wrong, if we strike them the wrong way, we may not have an opportunity to correct the mistake. I am sure that you, like me, have longed for a chance to change a comment made, an attitude exhibited, or an bad example set, but couldn’t.
Paul used three words to describe the way God wants us to impress others. We are to mark them with our:
When people interact with us, they should walk away impressed with the way we love God and people, the depth and sincerity of our faith, and the moral purity and integrity of our character. These are the prints we want to leave behind — impressions that we never regret and opportunities that we never waste.
How about you? What marks are you making on others? When people encounter you are they impressed with your love, faith and purity?
Let’s decide to do everything possible, trusting in God’s grace and power in us, to make a good impression on the people He places in our lives!