Friday, November 13, 2020

Living Life Before God

"You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar" (Psalm 139:2).

So much of 2 Peter and Jude is concerned with God’s anger at sinfulness in the church. This brings up a question: What is it that pleases God? For the coming week we shall be occupied with that question, before we turn to a survey of the letters of John.

The Protestant Reformers used the Latin phrase coram Deo to describe what they regarded as the fundamental attitude a believer should have regarding God. Coram Deo means “before God” or “before the face of God.” We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.

This sounds idealistic. Nobody lives his life constantly aware of God’s eye. So the question comes: Practically speaking, what does it mean to live coram Deo? It means to press through the hard times and continue on, living for God through Christ. It is like persevering in piano lessons or in any other skill that takes years of practice to learn. Only after we have practiced for a while, doing things that are not interesting at all, do we get the point where we can play a piece of music well. Each new piece requires hours and weeks of drudge work before the beauty comes. Similarly, living the Christian life involves dogged perseverance if we are going to grow to please God.

If God made His presence felt with us all the time, living coram Deo would not be a challenge. But as it is, we have to live by faith. It is like the life of Robin Hood. King Richard the Lionhearted is away on a spiritual quest. The land has fallen under the domain of the evil Prince John. Robin Hood, however, remains loyal to the true king. He keeps in his mind the fact that Richard is king. He keeps alive the memory of Richard among the people. He obeys Richard’s laws, protecting the weak from the wicked. Finally, King Richard returns, and Robin Hood’s perseverance triumphs.

There is one major difference, however. King Richard really was away, but Jesus is with us always. We don’t usually sense His presence, but we know that He is with us.

One of the primary ways to increase our awareness of God’s presence is through prayer. A consistent prayer life is one of the most difficult skills a Christian is called to acquire. Today, renew your effort to practice prayer every day. Use the Psalms as your guide. Become a “concert-level” prayer.