Do you remember carpe diem? If you’ve ever seen the movie, Dead Poets Society, you know that it is Latin for, “Seize the day.” For a dead language, Latin sure has a way of sticking around. I have never forgotten carpe diem. Recently, there is a new Latin phrase tumbling around in my brain: coram Deo. I hope this phrase has the same sticking power of carpe diem, because it has a profoundly deeper impact on how I live my life. Coram Deo means, “Before the face of God.” Do you know that everything we do is coram Deo? Not a single word is uttered, not a single thought is born that is not coram Deo.
“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12
Most of us, if not all of us, would acknowledge this fact. Everyone will give an account to God for what we did with our lives. The problem is we often live as though there will never be an account to give.
How would we be different if we were constantly aware that we are coram Deo? Would we look lustfully at other people? Would we fantasize about a different life with a different spouse? Would we think about ways to take revenge? “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment . . . I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” Matthew 5:22, 28.
Think coram Deo.
Would we say one thing to a person, but think another? Would we allow gossip to come from our lips? Would we allow thoughtless words to find utterance? “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” Matthew 12:36.
Speak coram Deo.
Would we do things in the dark, thinking they will never come to light? Would we live consistently as the same person publicly and privately? Would we be the model Christians on Sunday, and the model hypocrite the rest of the week? “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known,” Luke 12:2
Live coram Deo.
The coram Deo life has no divisions between sacred and secular. Everything is done before the face of God. Because of this, everything is sacred. Our efforts to compartmentalize our lives are futile. God sees no dividing lines. God sees one life that is lived out before Him. The only division that God sees among people is that some are covered by their sins, and some are covered by the blood of Jesus. Everyone lives coram Deo. The question is what is covering you coram Deo?