Before the Face of God; Sweeping the Floor with Francis Schaeffer
”Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether we want to admit it or not, Christians have a tendency to mentally compartmentalize their lives. We divide our activities into categories. Certain actions are seen as “spiritual” such as church attendance, prayer, discipleship, evangelism, Bible study, and worship. On the other hand, other actions are labeled as the “non-spiritual.” They can be simple, every day, run of the mill activities such as sweeping a floor, painting a fence, having a conversation, purchasing bread at the bakery, texting a friend, going to school, driving a car, hanging a screen door, walking the dog, taking a bath, mowing the yard, watching a ball game, or even eating a good meal. But to divide our daily activities into two separate categories labeled “spiritual” and “non-spiritual” is a dangerous approach to take within the Christian life. Why; because the truth is, every activity we do is a spiritual activity. In our passage above, the apostle Paul instructed the early church at Corinth to see everything they did, no matter what it was, through spiritual lenses. No matter the activity, it was to be seen as a spiritual activity done for the glory of God. He stressed this same truth to the early church at Colossae when he wrote, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).
The great twentieth century theologian Francis Schaeffer expressed this great spiritual truth by teaching a Latin principle known as “Coram Deo.” It simply means “before the face of God.” Schaeffer taught the importance of seeing every activity done as being done “before the face of God.” It is a phrase that reminds us that every activity done is done before a perpetual audience of one, namely God, and that every activity should be done for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and Him only.
It means that church attendance and sweeping a floor are both spiritual activities. When you sweep a floor, you should do so wholeheartedly for the glory of God. It means that hanging a screen door and praising the Lord through song are both spiritual events. It means that when you eat a meal, you should do so with the same zeal that you would when feasting upon the Word of God. This might sound a little strange to you, but God wants you to eat each and every meal for the glory of God.
But seeing every activity you do through spiritual lenses calls for personal discipline. And if you are not used to doing so, it will some time and practice. But know this; the benefits of this spiritual discipline are limitless! It will help you weed out things in your life that ought not to be there. Test each activity by asking yourself, “Can it be done for the Lord?” If it fails the test, then it needs to be purged from your life. Also this discipline will enhance certain activities that you are already doing. It will cause you to turn up the intensity and passion, and do those things for the Lord with a higher level of sincerity.
Have you incorporated the Latin principle “Coram Deo” into your life? If not, then I challenge you to begin doing so today. One thing is for sure; it will change the way that you view and approach your daily life. And when you fully embrace this mindset and incorporate it into your life, there will no longer be a need to compartmentalize your daily activities. Everything you do and say will be viewed as a spiritual matter, because your life is a spiritual matter. I encourage you to take time out this week and take inventory on your daily activities and start doing every activity for the glory of God. Take down any mental partitions you have set up, and kick the bad habit of compartmentalizing your life into the spiritual and the non-spiritual; for everything is a spiritual issue to God!
– Pastor Eric