Though God desires all men to come to Him through Jesus, the one who would accept that invitation must strive to be like God. We cannot simply confess our sinfulness and brokenness and make no effort to purge wickedness from our lives. We must purify our lives in order to reflect the glory of the Father.
David contemplated the character of one who would abide in the tabernacle of God and dwell in His holy hill in Psalm 15. Here are the characteristics he observed:
- Walks uprightly: The ESV says one who walks blamelessly. The word “walk” describes a manner of living. To live blamelessly means that no charge can easily be made against him. He strives to live holy because God is holy. 1 John 3:7 says, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” (ESV)
- Does what is right: Not only does he live righteously, he is actively doing good. He follows the righteousness of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). He produces good fruit because of the living faith planted within (James 2:14-17). Who he is and what he does is right.
- Speaks truth in his heart: His life is not a false front. From the depths of his heart, he embraces truth. He does not allow wickedness in the place where no one would see it. He is true to God in the one place that only he and God can see. He also has a tender heart to receive and practice the truth.
- Does not slander: James 3 urges the believer to control his tongue. 2 Corinthians 12:20 warns that an uncontrolled tongue can destroy the relationship between brethren. This person does not use his tongue to tear down others but builds them up with graceful words of truth.
- Does no evil to a neighbor or friend: He does not speak evil slander nor does he do wrong with his hands against others. His neighborly love is such that he will not listen to gossip or lies spoken against the neighbor or friend. Instead of doing harm to a neighbor, he helps and protects him.
- Honors the godly and despises the vile: He gives honor to those who, like him, honor God and respect His word. These are the people with whom he shares a brotherhood and common love. Because of this desire to live holy, he cannot stand that which is wicked. It disappoints him to see people rejecting God and embracing immoral lifestyles. Like Lot, his soul is vexed by the evil conduct of the wicked, 2 Peter 2:7. The Judean king Jehoshaphat was rebuked for his association with the wicked kings of Israel in 2 Chronicles 19:2: ““Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” The one who loves God will love the lost souls but despises their behavior.
- Keeps his integrity even if costs him financially: He will take a financial loss to preserve his good name and avoid bringing reproach on the name of Christ. If he gives his word, he will keep it no matter what the cost. Of course, one would be wise to keep his mouth from making agreements that will be costly to fulfill. However, for the sake of integrity, one must keep the promise and strive to make better promises in the future. In 1 Corinthians 6:6-8, Paul urges believers to settle financial differences away from the court system instead of being a bad example before the unbelievers. He urged them to take the dispute to knowledgeable and fair brethren or, if necessary, to accept being wronged rather than acting disgracefully and materialistic before the unbelievers.
- Generous lender: He does not take advantage of others in financial distress. He is generous and helpful to the needy. He uses his financial blessings to be a blessing to others.
- Does not take bribes: Not only is he generous, his integrity and sense of justice will not allow him to take a bribe against the innocent. He does not compromise others and he is not compromised himself. He will not pervert justice for financial or personal gain.
The principles described in Psalms are the core values of the believer. They become part of the character and guiding principles to ensure the person stays on the correct path. Daily Bible study and prayer help refine and improve the strength and depth of these values. Daily exercise of righteousness further integrates the will of God and the character of His follower.
David notes that if a person embraces these principles he can live in God’s holy hill and shall never be moved. From integrity in the heart to the outward display of righteousness and good, this person strives to be like God and to be with God. And to paraphrase a popular song, “No power of hell nor scheme of man can ever pluck him from God’s hand.” He will not budge from his desire to be with God.