I believe that we are all born with an innate desire to be approved or confirmed by others. Just the other day, my cousin and I were talking about how this feeling ruled our lives as we were growing up. We wanted to be “in”; to wear the right clothes, the right hairstyle, and all just to be approved. We were never the trendsetters.
We were ruled by our culture, and I must say, we still are unless we deprogram our minds from ever-changing enticements and distractions this world freely offers, and instead look to God our Creator, who wrote the instruction manual for living.
Coram Deo is a Latin phrase that means “in the presence of God” or “before the face of God. Just the phrase itself reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 139, where the psalmist states no matter where he goes or hides, God is there; there is nothing hidden from him.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:7-12
Whether we realize it or not, we live in the presence of God, Coram Deo. Trying to live for the approval of the culture in which we live can be frustrating because the standards are always changing. What was once really cool is out of date, or out of style, but God’s word does not change with the times. It is truth. It does not change.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Numbers 23:19a ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
God alone as Creator is able to tell us how to live, and he does so in his word, the Bible.
To live Coram Deo is living life conscious that God knows and sees all, and wanting to be approved by him in all we do. How do we know what God approves? His word!
We must deprogram ourselves from what the secular world says to what God says.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2 KJV
Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. Psalm 101:3 NKJV
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 NKJV
This results in seeing all of life with a biblical perspective and making decisions in light of what the scriptures say because we are calibrating our minds by the word of God. This is how we grow to love what God loves and hate what he hates.
Having this renewed mind, doesn’t mean that we only do “Christian” things, but it does mean that everything we do goes through the prism of what is good, and acceptable, and perfect before God.
There is a certain freedom and comfort living Coram Deo.