"Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
- The Breastplate by Saint Patrick
‘Tis the month of green beer, shamrocks, and endless parades. These festivities are all done in celebration of a man named Patrick whose story happened hundreds of years ago. Though he was never formally canonized by the Catholic church, his fellow Christians referred to him as a saint, a tradition we still carry on today. But who was this man? And why did so many call him a saint?
Patrick was born a free man in 5th century Roman Britain society and his father was a Christian priest. During his early years, he knew nothing but comfort and affluence but, when he was fourteen years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold as a slave to a Druid high priest.
It was during his time as a slave that he began to feel increasingly hungry, lonely, and frightened and he was sucked into a bitter depression. But this low moment forced him to turn to God.
“It was there that the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith. Even though it came about late, I recognised my failings. So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God.” - Confessio of Saint Patrick
While Patrick was forced to work as a shepherd, his faith steadily increased. One day, the Lord spoke to him in a dream telling him that he was to return home. Hallelujah! The answer to his prayers! When he woke up, he left his master’s property and flocks, walked to the Irish coast, boarded a ship, and sailed back to Britain where he was reunited with his family.
With his freedom in hand and his life of slavery behind him, his desire and love for God continued to grow. He followed his passions, leaving his family behind, he traveled to Gaul (modern day France) and studied to become a priest. After Patrick was ordained, God spoke to him yet in another dream, but this time, the request was much more difficult to obey: go back to Ireland.
Now, just put yourself in Patrick’s shoes for a moment. This was the home of the people who had kidnapped and enslaved you. These were the people who had taken you away from your family and the comfortable life you were born into, all for their financial gain. And those were the exact people God wanted you to preach to. How would you have responded to such a request?
Patrick didn’t hesitate. He didn’t ask for clarification or a gameplan. He immediately traveled back to Ireland and began to share the Gospel. His missionary journey wasn’t a picnic or a fairytale; many people simply didn’t like the message he was sharing. During his time in Ireland, he was beaten, robbed, and even falsely accused and jailed but, despite those roadblocks, he continued to share Christ unashamedly with those he encountered.
And his efforts were not in vain: during his 40+ years in Ireland, thousands and thousands of people came to know the Lord. What an incredible legacy! He died a peaceful death from old age on March 17, 461 AD.
This month, when people are donning green, displaying shamrocks, and letting their inner-Irish out, remember the real reason for the holiday: a man who passionately pursued God even when it cost him dearly. He had to lay down his pride, his comfort, his right to be offended, and his past in order to take up the calling that Christ had on his life. He pushed past fear, refusing to let anything keep him from sharing the love of God with those who didn’t know Him. What an incredible man!
What is the Lord asking you to do in this season?
Maybe you need to fast social media, cancel your Netflix membership, or break up with your boyfriend. Or maybe he’s calling you to get plugged into a church, let go of an offense, or share your story with someone.
Whatever it is, know that we’re here for you, cheering you on as you walk in obedience today!
How can you conquer fear this week?
Living a life fully devoted to God isn’t easy and fear has a way of popping up around every corner. But God is bigger than our worries, His love is stronger than our doubts, and His grace can drown out those pesky insecurities that lurk in the backs of our minds.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
Is God calling you to step outside your comfort zone and share your story?
We would love to read it! This is a safe space for you to share your story, mess and all, with us.