“Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child.” (2 Sam. 1) Like Another even greater, he grew up before the Lord, and it is of far greater importance than might be suggested by the little fragment of three words. That is the first thing that must be true of us that our whole life is not lived before men but primarily before the Lord; that there is always that about us which speaks of an inner life before the Lord.
When we are alone, shut in our room with the Lord, then everything is very pure. We know quite well that there before Him there is no deception, there is no feigning and pretending, there is no unreality. We know quite well when we come into personal aloneness with the Lord that everything artificial is stripped off. There we know that we are seen through, we are thoroughly well known; we can put on no camouflage, no disguises, in the Lord’s presence. There we are, what we are, and we know it, and we make no pretense about it. We cannot be on stilts or on a pedestal in the Lord’s presence.
When we are with people we may put on a lot of things to cover up, to make believe; we may become very artificial. Even when we are praying in the presence of other people, we can be anything but natural. We are so conscious of them, and begin to preach to them in our prayer. We do not do that when we are alone with the Lord, we do not make up anything then. We are right down on the very bedrock of what we are, a certain kind of naturalness; we cannot be other than perfectly natural there. What we are as before the Lord we have to be when we are with people in public life. It is important, it is essential. You see, anything put on amongst people, anything artificial, is not our measure at all; it is a false measure, and it may be holding us up in true spiritual life and growth.
“Samuel ministered before the Lord.” We might well take that for every sphere and every hour of life. “Whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.” (Col. 3:23) God said to Abram, “…walk before me…” That may be very simple in its terms, but it is something which has to do with a ground work for spiritual growth. People who are like that will go on, will grow.