Have you ever met a celebrity? Maybe it was an actor, singer, or well-known politician. If so, you generally find a way to bring this encounter up in casual conversation. It might be one of the highlights of your life simply to catch a passing glimpse of someone you admire; a quick encounter or an autograph is even better. What if this person invited you to lunch? What if they asked to keep in contact with you? What would that say about you?
From the perspective of the Psalmist, there was only one person he was interested in being close to: the Lord. In Psalm 15 he asks a simple question: Who has the right to be in the presence of God?
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Our character determines how close we draw to the presence of God. Of course, just like with any king, we are granted access only by his grace and mercy. At the same time, if we hope to remain in his presence and become more intimate with him, there is a certain way we must behave. What exactly is the conduct expected of the friend of God?
We are to be people of integrity (speak truth in his heart), honesty (does not slander with his tongue), compassion (does no evil to his neighbor), trustworthiness (nor takes up a reproach against his friend), righteousness (in whose eyes an evil person is despised), faithfulness (swears to his own hurt and does not change), and generosity (does not put his money at interest). This is the character of the individual God wants in his home.
Of course, without his help, we can never be who he needs us to be. This list should sound familiar, as its ring is similar to that of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). That is, as the Spirit of God dwells in our life, and we follow God in faith, we are transformed into the person God intends for us to be (2 Cor. 3:18). Our encounter with God isn’t simply an experience we talk with others about, but an engagement which completely transforms us. In fact, whether or not a person is changed, tells us whether they really have come to know God (1 Pet. 2:3).
So, are you the man/woman God wants to invite into his tent? Are you trusting in his grace, following his word, and allowing his truth to transform you? If so, you’ll one day experience the encounter of a lifetime.