Carpe Diem or Coram Deo?

8:52 AMHeather

I am going to completely date myself and talk about that classic movie Dead Poets Society.  What a great flick!  That came out while I was in college, and I have great memories from a college church retreat based on that movie.  We'd watch part of the movie, then divide into our small groups to tie in Biblical principles.  Yes, I have long thought that CARPE DIEM!  is a great battle cry in this life.  Surely, we should seize the day and make the most of every opportunity.  

But, while reading my Lies Women Believe chapter yesterday, I saw a new and bigger challenge.  Personally, I felt convicted that it trumps even carpe diem.  I need to be about coram deo.  Now, unless you are my brilliant friend, Amy Brooks--or one of her Latin students--you may be as clueless as I was.  But, Coram Deo means "before the face of God."  Here's some further insight from Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  

Coram Deo
Living all of life
in the presence of God
under the authority of God
and to the glory of God

Here's the thing.  We live in an "all about me" world--even within the church walls.  Even the well intentioned carpe diem mentality can get us into trouble when we are seizing our day for ourselves.  Oh, we can dress it up in a pretty Biblical bow and think about seizing the day that God has given us--and honestly, that in and of itself is not necessarily wrong.  But, oh the world of difference it would make in my day if my absolute focus and goal were to be before the face of God--to be intent on living FOR Christ, to be determined to approach everything I do and say to be about bringing Him glory--making Him known.

Do you see the BIG difference that this slight tweaking makes?  If we are ever more passionate about His fame, His pleasure, His glory, instead of our own desires, then what might your life look like?  I think your life looks something like Jim Elliott--giving it all, counting no costs, for the glory of God.  I think your life looks something like Rachel Scott or Cassie Bernall at Columbine--living for Christ no matter what.  How about that Iranian pastor whose face I keep seeing on Facebook?  Unyielding in his stance for Christ, even with the threat of death.  Or, in my own life--it looks like my Dad.  Told his cancer could not be removed and death was imminent, he quoted Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  My dad truly had lived that out in his life, and did until his dying breath.  


Coram deo doesn't just say carpe diem.  But, it says seize the day--not for my own good or agenda--but for GOD'S alone.  It makes that remarkable statement that Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8:


More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, 
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.
(New American Standard version) 

INTENTIONAL challenge: Rubbish.  Everything rubbish compared to gaining Christ.  Wow.  THAT is heart of coram deo.  To be that singularly focused.  To see each moment through the view of eternal value, shaking off the temporal.  And even more--to be able to shake off myself and cling wholeheartedly to Him instead.  Lord, please help me to have your eyes on this.  Help me to be ever more about making you known through every day--to take up my cross, my agenda, and lay it down, seeing it as worthless in light of gaining YOU.  Help me to not just carpe diem--help me to coram deo!

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