Who is a saint?

ImageWhat does a saint look like? What characteristics would you ascribe to him? David asks that question rhetorically. “LORD, who shall sojourn in Your tent?” [Psalm 15:1 ESV] David is asking what character qualities does God expect for those who are members of his household? By extension, what characteristics do we want in someone we call a friend?

Life is a journey and ‘walking blamelessly’ is not about being free from sin but about living and acting the same before God and man. We all have expectations regarding our friends. We expect them to act in a certain way. The closer they are to us the higher our expectations. God wants to be friends with us but that means He too has expectations. He expects us to be just in our dealings with others in business, loving in our relationships with those around us and to walk humbly before Him. We, like God, are not satisfied with just outward talk and actions from our friends that can be hypocritical pretenses. Before God and men, our real character is revealed by what is seated in our hearts. A saint speaks to God and men with the same transparency.

I do not expect my friend to be a backbiter. I do expect my friend to stick up for me when someone tries to bring reproach on me. I want my friend to not expect the worse in me and not grab for gossip greedily. Our tongues are prone to kicking about like an old tin can on the street, the character of an absent person. A saint will bite their tongue rather than backbite.

One of the first things that I learned about Jesus Christ is that He does not change. His character can be counted on to be the same as it was in the past as it is now and will be in the future. He does not change. That is what makes Him so trustworthy. I can count on Him being the same no matter how I act toward Him. I wish that I could say that about myself consistently. God wants me to learn to be like Him; not a respecter of a person’s learning, rank or social standing. That is a gleaming hallmark of a saint.

Want to measure whether a person is a saint? Watch their money trail. Watch how a saint treats his brother, the one who is in the family of God with him. Does he take advantage of his brother. Are they willing to share the resources that God has given them with their brothers who are in need? Or do they act in a harsh, grasping, gripping manner with their money? Are they willing to protect or enhance their wealth by lying or taking a bribe? A saint is one who can never be moved because he has decided, determined and built his character on the Rock. Jesus Christ is always sufficient for him. A saint is one who exhibits the character of Jesus Christ in all they do or say before God and men.

I am learning

“I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.” Psalm 119:7 NIV
Life is an ongoing process. We arrive on earth bringing nothing with us. We leave this earth taking nothing with us. But the latter is not exactly the whole story. For the Christian, he takes with him a relationship that is built on learning how to worship God. Time here on earth is just God’s time getting us ready, those of us who have responded to God’s call, for living on a new redeemed earth. For those who have learned to obey their Creator, when they hear the name of Jesus, their knees will bow in eager homage to the King of Kings. The resistant [those who ignore Jesus for ‘better’ things here on earth] will have a bitter surprise. They will not be accustomed to their heart’s ‘bending the knee’ at the name of Jesus. They will be forced to acknowledge the King of King that they may have paid lip service to but in obedience ignored. Their future will be a dark, cold and full of cursing.