7 Seconds – What do 7 seconds mean to you? How important are first impressions?

7 Seconds – What do 7 seconds mean to you?
7 Seconds.
During a speech, when you forget what to say, 7 seconds is an eternity.

During your first date, when holding a kiss, 7 seconds is gone in a heartbeat. That 7 seconds is never forgotten.

During lunch, when putting doughnuts out for desert, 7 seconds is enough to say, “What doughnut?”

During an interview, the first seven seconds creates your first impressions. They establish the tone of the interview. They can make huge difference for you in the long haul. They can make the difference between being hired or not. First impressions, amazingly influential.

How important are first impressions?
We all create first impressions nearly every day. First impressions are a key factor in networking with other people and establishing new relationships. First impressions are a key factor in determining whether we will accomplish our goals on our own. Or, if we will have someone else’s assistance.

For example, when meeting someone on the airplane, or church, or at work, how do you answer the question, “What do you do?” Your answer will determine whether you will get to know this person. Your answer will also determine if that person was placed in your path so that they can help you. Or, if you can help them.

Breaking down first impressions into parts using Romans 1:1-16:
Let’s take a look in the book of Romans for first impressions. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he had not yet met the Romans. So, we can see in the first 16 verses how Paul created his first impression.

I’m going to break down the first sixteen verses into 8 parts. And, in those 8 parts, Paul introduced himself, stated who he worked for, stated his goals, showed how his goals effected the Romans, told what Paul was thankful for and how much he cared, showed what Paul had in common with the Romans, and showed how Paul could help the Romans.

Name and job title:
Verses 1-2, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,”

Description of Paul’s boss:
(This like us describing the company we work for)
Verses 2-4,”concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Paul’s Goal:
Verse 5, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,”

How Paul’s goal effects his audience:
Verse 6, “including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is Paul thankful for:
After the greeting, it is common for Paul to state what he is thankful for. For example, see 1 Cor. 1:1–9; Phil. 1:1–8; Col. 1:1–8; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:3; and Philem. 4). Romans 1, verse 8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”

Paul show’s how much he cares for the Romans:
Verses 9-10, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”

Paul states what he has in common with the Romans:
Verses 11-13, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Paul states how he can help the Romans:
Verses 14-16, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Paul did all this in sixteen verses. That’s amazing.

Looking forward
We can choose to work on our first impressions or not. I choose to work on them.

Here is a good way to determine how good your first impressions are. Try it for yourself. In 20 seconds, can you state your name, what you do, and your goals for the future? Yes, in only 20 seconds. Why only 20 seconds? That’s your first impression. After that, find out about the other person. What do they do? What common interests do you both share? How can you help them? If the other person is interested, you can provide more details about yourself.

Lord, thank you for great examples of first impressions. Help me to clearly see how Paul created his first impressions. Help me to learn the lessons that I need to learn so that I can apply those first impression lessons to my life. Please increase your wisdom in my life. The next time I have a chance to make a great first impression, I am going to remember Paul’s example.

I never thought I had self-esteem issues until a read the story of a man who had the patience to wait.

He’s a follower of Jesus Christ. His whole spirit has been committed to it for quite a while. When he talked of what he knew, incredibly blessing flowed with his words. God blessed his actions. He knew it. He was thankful for it. He said so to God every single day.

Lately, he heard of his friends in a different country. The reports of their faith were being told to the whole world. Saying that he desperately wanted to visit them would be an understatement. He yearned to impart and share with them some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish them. Still, every attempt to travel there had been hindered. Every plan that had been made had been prevented. He pleaded with God that somehow by His will he would proposer and see them.

I thought about him. I thought about his prayers to God. They were nothing like mine would be. I would be saying things like this.
“God, do you really want me to go there?”
“God, maybe my words aren’t as good as I think.”
“God, maybe I can’t help them.”
“God, you’re right. I’m no good to them. I really shouldn’t go.”
“God, are you trying to stop me from going there so I don’t hurt them?”
And, the list would go on.

My thoughts would be filled with doubt, fear, and self-esteem issues. I would doubt my calling. I would believe that God is saying no.

Yet, that’s not what Paul said in Romans 1:11-13, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Paul wasn’t doubting his calling like I would have done. Paul knew that they could and would build each other’s faith up. He also knew that he would be able to honor God through showing God to the people there. See Romans 1: 1-16.

Paul had the confidence and self-esteem to know that he could honor God through his actions. He also had the grace and peace and patience to wait for the opportunities as God presented them. Paul knew to wait on God.

Psalm 139:7-10 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Sunet Over the Dead Sea from the Glow Bible.
Psalm 139:7-10
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

When I have a skill to offer, a skill that I’m good at, a skill that can really help other people, do I have enough self-esteem to wait on the Lord to share it? Or do I force the issue, which invariably causes more issues.

When people cut me off on the road and disrespect me, do I get mad?

When someone speaks a cruel words to me, do I get depressed?

When I fail, do I tear myself down?

For me, all these issues relate to self-esteem problems. Then, I prayed to God about it. That’s when God showed me many verses on self-esteem. Now I read them out loud, daily.

Psalms 139:13-15, “13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11, “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Titus 3:5, ” 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”

Luke 12:6-7, ” 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

1 Corinthians 10:13, ” 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

There are so many more.

God, please help me to believe who You say that I am.
God, please teach me how to ever increase my trust in You.
God, please help me to look to you daily for my self-esteem.