ODJ: Coram Deo

June 1, 2016 

READ: Matthew 6:1-24 

Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you (v.6).

Coram Deo. Christians in the 16th century used this simple Latin phrase to capture a profound idea. Coram Deo means “before the face of God”. It says we live before the One who sees all that we are and do. And it says we should act accordingly. Living before the face of God means we walk with integrity under His loving eyes. It means His smile is all that really matters to us.

Jesus came into the world to open our eyes, and this theme of ‘seeing’ runs through much of His teaching (Luke 4:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, He shows us that idols dull our sight (Matthew 6:19-22), that “logs” in our eyes blur our vision (7:5) and that He opens our eyes to see the unseen God at work in the world around us (6:26-30).

Jesus also opens our eyes to the Coram Deo life. Three times in His sermon He mentions that our Father “sees everything”—our giving to the poor (vv.3-4), our praying (v.6) and our fasting (vv.17-18). And He knows our motives for doing all three. If we announce our generosity with “trumpets” (v.2), turn our prayers into a performance (v.5) and proclaim the reason why our tummies growl (v.16), our spirituality is not done before the face of God nor for the benefit of others—it is done for ourselves. In the Coram Deo life we seek the approval of God, not the applause of others.

“Most of us, whether we are aware of it or not,” writes author Os Guinness, “do things with an eye to the approval of some audience or other.” That audience may be our friends, bosses, colleagues, partners, teachers or followers on social media. But in the Coram Deo life only one audience matters—the audience of the God who loves us.

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan: Daniel 5:1-30

Consider the words of Numbers 6:25 and the blessing God brings as He smiles on us. 
When are you most tempted to seek the applause of others for the things you do? How will you focus on the face of God today?