Nuggets of Hope 7 – Called to Shine
“I’m no saint”.
When someone says these words they are usually admitting that they’re far from perfect. But is that what it means to be a saint? Does it mean that you have achieved moral perfection? If that were the case, no-one would qualify except Jesus.
For the past week I’ve been offering these daily reflections on Scripture to bring hope and courage into the hearts and homes of God’s beloved people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we are going to look at a Biblical concept that is often misunderstood, and may not seem very relevant or encouraging at first glance. Like some long-lost family heirloom, many people don’t appreciate its value, or don’t even know it’s there. In this short post I want to try to blow the dust off and shed some light on this gem of life-giving truth.
Most people have a great deal of respect for Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She was renowned for her works of mercy and charity. She was also recognized for her simplicity and humility. Many would have no problem calling her a saint.
These are all great qualities, and they do indeed flow from a genuine relationship with Jesus. But it’s not actually our character traits that make us saints. Believe it or not, being a saint is actually very simple. The only qualification is that you have to belong to Jesus. It’s really that simple.
This doesn’t just mean saying a quick prayer. It means letting Him change us day by day, by the power of His Spirit living in us. So, for example, if we truly belong to Jesus, we won’t be panicked by this pandemic. Yes, we’ll experience feelings of fear like everyone else, but we won’t let fear rule us. Why not? Because we have Jesus living in us, and we are letting Him renew our minds with His word, and pour His peace and joy into us by His Spirit.
Being holy is a gift, but it’s also a daily choice. It’s something that happens over time, as you respond to Jesus day by day. The pull of darkness and despair is strong – not just during COVID-19, but all the time. But the resurrection power of Jesus is stronger. We are the ones who get to decide what defines our lives. It took a lifetime of daily choices for Mother Teresa to become someone who was defined by the Light. We can feed ourselves on Jesus, or we can feed ourselves on things that pull us away from him. One way is the path of life, the other is the path of death.
The Apostle Paul frequently referred to those who believe in Jesus as saints (e.g. Colossians 1:3-4, 12). The word saint simply means someone who is holy, set apart for God, and in the process of being purified. He wasn’t saying that they were already perfect. Far from it. He was saying that the life of Jesus in them was changing them day by day, and that their destiny was to be like Him. Their destiny was to shine. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, he wrote, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
The Apostle John put it this way (1 John 3:2-3).
Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears
we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him
purifies himself as he is pure.
If you already belong to Jesus, you are a saint – a holy one. The power of God is at work in you to make you new. And if you don’t belong to Jesus, this amazing gift is freely available. All you have to do is surrender to Him and trade your life for his. It’s that simple.
What a hope! What a promise! When we wake up to the glorious destiny that we have in Jesus, what hold does a virus have on us?
God bless you today with hope and courage. You are called to shine.