What it means to live before the face of God
The Bible speaks about living before God. But what does that mean in practice?
Live before God’s face: A hidden life
“If then you are raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things of the earth. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3.
It is when we live before God’s face in the hidden that anything of value in this life and for eternity is produced. However, society teaches us from childhood to please people, to gain favor, impress people and go upward to become someone great in people’s eyes. That is thewe live in. Jesus said that what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 6:15) It leads to a lot of stress, anxiety, and unrest. Not an easy life to live. This can carry over into our Christian life.
Don’t be a people-pleaser
People can use their natural talents to please people and become strong in themselves, making a name for themselves. The gifts and natural talents that God gives are meant to be used to serve Him, and in this way also serve others, in humility before His face, and for His sake. Self-promotion and people-pleasing to “get in good” with people doesn’t lead to a blessing. Jesus exhorted the disciples to let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no.” (Matthew 5:37) When we live before God’s face we don’t have to explain or justify ourselves to anyone. We simply commit it all to God who judges righteously, as Jesus did. (1 Peter 2:23)
Jesus said, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them.” Matthew 6:1. If you do that you’ve already had your reward: earthly honor. Do you find yourself getting offended because you didn’t get the honor you thought you should have? Are you troubled because your name isn’t mentioned or you are not thanked? If these things become a problem then you are living before people and you do not live before the face of God.
There is a tendency in our nature to want to compare ourselves with the others. Paul wrote to the Corinthians not to commend themselves, by measuring and comparing themselves amongst themselves, because it was not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12) It doesn’t lead to fellowship and unity. Why not live before God’s face and compare ourselves to God’s Word as in a mirror and be a doer of the Word? (James 1:21-25) Paul exhorted Timothy to take heed to himself and the doctrine and he would save himself and those who heard him. (1 Timothy 4:16)
Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees in John 5:44. “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” We are called to a life of faith in obedience to God’s Word which results in life and blessing. That is not possible if we seek to please people. Without this it is impossible to please God. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:16)
The Spirit of truth
If you want to only please God then give up all the striving that comes along with trying to please people and let the Spirit of Truth teach you to live before God’s face. Paul came to the acknowledgement that there was nothing good in his flesh and when he willed to do good he found evil was present. (Romans 7:18-24) If we let the Spirit of truth scrutinize what we do and say, we will see that there are many ways in which we live before people instead of before God. Then we can love the truth we get to see, humble ourselves, and become free from that so that we can live before God’s face instead.
David wrote in Psalm 131:1, “Lord my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor things too profound for me.” He had quieted his soul. Think to be set free from being a busybody in other people’s matters and the suffering that is associated with that. Jesus offers us a life of peace and contentment within the borders He has set for us, our measure of faith.
It all comes down to humbling myself before God’s face, loving the truth, and living in self-acknowledgement. We grow in the virtues of Christ and our service to others becomes purer and we are able to help people in the right way. We live before the face of God alone and become happy and blessed in our deeds.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.