Living Coram Deo

“And it came to pass when Abram was a son of ninety and nine years, Yahweh appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Ed-Shaddai; walk before me and be whole.”

(Genesis 17:1)

“Walk before me and be whole.”  What an amazing statement that God makes to Abram.  Being whole is what people want and yearn for in life.  Some people try and find this “fulfillment” in climbing mountains and taking other risks and some try and find the fulfillment in gratifying the flesh.  God is plainly stating to Abram that if he wants to find this kind of fulfillment, it comes through walking faithfully with God.  There is no other way to be satisfied or to be made whole—everything else may thrill for a moment, but it will leave you wanting and craving for something that is real. Life is like being lost in the desert. What we need is water if we are not going to die.  The things that this world offers are little better than a mirage and sand in one’s mouth cannot quench one’s thirst.  Christ is an oasis of living water and a place to eternally rest your soul.  There really is no comparison between the two.

When theologians speak of walking before God, they refer to this as the doctrine of living Coram Deo (before God). In other words, what this doctrine seeks to articulate is that as believers, everything we do, we do before the face of God; nothing is done in isolation. On one level, the concept is fairly easy to grasp, but on another level, it is extremely difficult to live out.  All too often, Christians live and act one way in the presence of their pastor or in the presence of other Christians and then live an entirely different way when no one else is looking—or when no other Christians are looking.  Yet, given that God is omnipresent and omniscient, God sees and knows all we do. If we are honestly living for His glory and honor, then we must be intentional living as ones convicted of that knowledge.

Sometimes we wonder as Christians why our society rejects what we believe as true.  A large part of the reason that they reject what we believe to be true is because they don’t see us living it out.  They see believers talking one way and living another and thus conclude that Christianity is bunk and irrelevant to live “in the real world.”  Sadly, if Christianity really were what many professing Christians live out, then their observations are correct.  Christianity is not a list of rules and going to Church on Sundays nor is it a cross that we wear around our neck or a point by which we can “tap into the truckload of blessings that God has waiting for us in heaven,” as if God were a senile old grandfather just waiting to dote on his ungrateful spawn.

God is the transcendent God of creation who has spoken all things that are into existence and who has chosen to come into relationship with his people through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ.  An encounter with the living God is not one that can be contained in a 60 minute or a 90 minute block of time scheduled on the calendar, but this encounter will not leave you unchanged.  An encounter with the living God consumes you and consumes every inch of your life from church to the grave and it will leave you different than you started. It is this kind of change that the world is looking for in our lives and just does not see.  Loved ones, they want to know that the walk we are on is real, and we are not doing a very good job of living that out.  My prayer for you is that you ask the Holy Spirit to consume your life; make your Christianity real in your business ventures as well as in your Sunday School class.  Show the world that Christianity is not only True, but that it is relevant as well, and then pray that through an encounter with Him that you will never be left unchanged.  May people see something within your life that is Holy and true and is wholly unearthly in origin and then see what happens to your witness.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,

Reigning omnipotent in every place;

So come, O King, and our whole being sway;

Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

-John Calvin

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