If you know me and my life as a believer in Christ, you know that my life verse is Galatians 1:10. “For do I now persuade men or God, or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a bondservant of Christ.”
This is my life verse because this is my ultimate struggle. I need God’s help to alleviate my desire and endless pursuit of the approval of men. As of late, the Lord’s prayer has become a resource of mine to avoid this temptation. I find that as I first recognize God as my Lord, whose very name is holy, that it puts my current plight in perspective. When I have that understanding, my priorities match more with His and I can focus on His kingdom instead of my own. I can pray that His will would be done, even if that outcome is different than what I might have wanted. It brings me into a perspective to be truly thankful for what this new day has offered me, and how He has provided for my every need. It helps me to realize the fact that I have awakened with a breath of life in me, in spite of whatever evil I feel has befallen me. His provision is abundant. It also helps me to see myself in light of Him, and I must come to terms with the forgiveness that I still need, in spite of the fact that He has already justified me by His blood. It offers a humble look at the plank in my own eye, and begs me to offer up my transgressions that my conscience would again be cleared by His mercy and grace. To ask for forgiveness makes forgiveness absolutely required of me, especially as we know that as disciples we are to be known for the love we have for one another. I am brought low by the conflict this fallen world lays upon me, and I am compelled to lay down my arms and forgive those who have wounded me. I forgive those who haven’t listened, who have turned their backs, who have assumed the worst of me, and who have assaulted my character. After all, haven’t I done this and even worse? How could God forgive me, if I can’t also forgive them? From here I can ask that God not lead me into more temptation, though I know at times He will allow me to endure some trial in order to bring about the maturity of my faith and dependence on Him. While I would rather avoid the temptation, the trial is counted as joy as it brings me closer to an understanding of my Father’s great love for me. All the while, I know that He will provide a way out of the temptation, delivering me from evil, and preserving me in the fiery trial.
All of this brings about a greater understanding of my heavenly Father, and a deeper love and appreciation for what He has accomplished in saving me from destruction. It reminds me that I live my life “coram Deo”, in the presence of God. A favorite saying of Calvin, “coram Deo” means that I live my life with the understanding that every moment is in the very presence of God. My heavenly Father is there, watching every action, as a loving Father. He’s not watching to find my failures and bring judgment. No, He is watching over me as a Father watches over His son. He wants to see me succeed in being more like Christ. He wants to see that I’ve been learning from Him. He wants to see me representing the family name. “Coram Deo” means living with God as my authority. It means living for His glory and not my own. It means seeking the approval of my Father, and not the approval of men. It is the active life of Galatians 1:10.
Whatever man may say about me, whatever trial comes against me, whatever decisions I have to make, and whatever path I must take, let it be said of me that I have pursed life “coram Deo”.
I will fail. I will make grave mistakes. I will be selfish at times. I am prone to wander. Men may accuse me, and most likely there is truth in what they have to say. Even in those times that I am stretched beyond what I am able, let it be said that I have soberly examined myself in light of scripture, and have chosen to live “coram Deo”.
Ever living in His presence, “coram Deo”, let God be my judge. Oh that I might live to please my heavenly Father.