I recently watched a series of lectures from R.C Sproul called, “A Life Pleasing To God.” In this series of lectures he unpacks what a life pleasing to God looks like, and practical ways to achieve this.
He opened one of the lectures by telling a story of an encounter he had with a Japanese businessmen. This man told R.C. that corporations in Japan structure there business with one ‘Big Idea.’ One over-arching goal that they are trying to achieve, and long-term steps they will take to achieve it. Often times they will plan up to 200 years in advance.
He asked R.C., “Tell me, what’s the ‘Big Idea’ with Christianity? If you could explain to me the goal of the Christian, the aim of the Christian, and why you guys do what you do?”
Taken back a bit, R.C. said his mind began reeling. What is the big idea? What is the goal? Why do we do what we do? And he remembered a rallying cry from the reformation, and Martin Luther. A latin term, Coram Deo. This term means to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, or before the face of God, to the glory of God. R.C. built off this term and replied:
“The aim of the Christian life is to live in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and to the honor and glory of God.”
The weight of this statement hit me like a train. My heart exclaimed, “That’s it! That’s what it is all about!” I wrote that statement in my Bible, and I intend to turn to it anytime I feel lost in the wilderness, without direction. Anytime I feel like I don’t have an aim, a purpose, or any reason to continue, I will look to this statement.
I want to unpack what he is saying in this bold declaration:
Living in the presence of God:
The idea of this statement is to live before the face of God. Living in light of His piercing gaze, and omnipresence. Understanding that He sees you. He sees you as you are. He sees the intentions of your heart. He sees your behavior. He sees absolutely everything. You are not hiding anything from Him, at anytime. He sees you.
When we live in the presence of God, before the face of God, it changes the way we view our day-to-day actions, intentions, and devotions. Many people live a certain way in the presence of people, and live an entirely different way when they are away from people. Their private life, does not line up with their public life. They wear the mask of Christianity in public, and remove that mask into atheism in private. That’s why Charles Spurgeon said these piercing words,
“There are many professing Christians, that are practicing atheists.”
When we live in the presence of God, understanding that He sees us, we no longer live double-lives. We live in light of His light upon our life, and we live accordingly.
Living under the authority of God:
Not only do we live knowing He sees us, but we live in submission to Him, His ways, as revealed in His word. His word has the final say in all of our daily living. His word has the final say in all of our decision-making. His word has the final say, period.
“If you love me you will obey my commandments.” – John 14:15
If we profess to love Jesus, cherish Jesus, treasure Jesus above all else (which is what it means to be Christian), and do not submit to His word, what does that say about our love for Him? The greatest expression of love for Jesus, is to live in submission to His written word.
Living for the honor and glory of God:
To live for the honor and glory of God, we must first deny the honor and glory of self. The idea in this statement is to structure your entire life in such a way that honors God, and glorifies God. Everything that we do, and say, should have a disposition that desires to honor the Lord, and glorify the Lord.
When we live for self-honor, self-glory, self-exaltation, self-preservation, we are minimizing the glory and honor of God. Spurgeon said it this way:
“You will never glory in God, until first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”
Jesus said it this way:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Let us come to the cross for our forgiveness, and let us pick up our cross for His glory.
So, in light of all that’s been said, let us live lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the honor and glory of God. And in return we receive the greatest of blessings, eternal life.