Daily Lent Devotional #9 (March 17, 2011)

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, today’s devotional will feature some thoughts from his “Confession”  (his autobiography).  First off, though, here’s a Bible passage that I feel most represents Patrick’s life and mission.

Romans 6: 16-22

16 “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.  19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

Patrick was about 16 years-old when he was abducted from England and taken to Ireland aboard a slave ship.  Patrick became a Christian while serving as a slave in Ireland, after remembering many of the Scriptures and promises of God that he had once known (but had never embraced).  Trying to live an honest and dedicated life to God while living in a land filled with witchcraft and paganism earned Patrick the sarcastic title “holy boy” among the natives and his fellow slaves.

After six years of slavery, God provided rescue for Patrick aboard a ship.  After eventually getting back to England and settling in to “civilized” life again, Patrick received a vision during the night.  A man in the vision representing the “Voice of the Irish” said, “We beg you, holy boy, come and walk among us once again!” After receiving two more visions later, the message was clear:  God was calling Patrick to GO BACK to Ireland to spread the Gospel there.  He was being called to return to the same places and people who had mistreated and mocked him in order to extend Christ’s love and forgiveness to them.  After a ton of bureaucratic nonsense, Patrick was allowed to go on this missionary journey.  Patrick stayed and served the Irish people the rest of his life, and Ireland’s dark culture of sin and witchcraft was shattered due to his obedience to the Big Plan of God.

Only the grace and love of God could fill a person under such circumstances to accept and carry out such an unthinkable mission.  Throughout his life, Patrick always lamented missing out on a proper education that he could have had as a boy, feeling that he was an inadequate vessel to be used for proclaiming the truth of God to others.  Very similar to the Apostle Paul, any success that his ministry saw, Patrick always gave full credit to God.  He had been a slave to his own sinful ways.  He then became a slave to men.  Finally, he willingly became a slave to God.  He was blessed and successful because of his availability, not because of his ability.  Here are two excerpts from his “Confession”:

The Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew Him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son…

…I am, then, first of all, countrified, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favors in this world and forever.

In Closing, here is the prayer that is attributed to St. Patrick which is often referred to as “The Breastplate”, as it focuses on Jesus’ covering power and protection that we lean on daily:

Christ beside me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ within me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me.


Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Pastor Josh:
    I enjoyed the information on St. Patrick and it makes the celebration of the day more meaningful. If only we all could be so faithful and hear the voice of God leading us. Keep up the good work and looking forward to Sunday. Love & prayers…Vi

  2. I was especially moved by reviewing this information about a great evangelist and am always spurred on with the reminder that we should aspire to being slaves of righteousness.. thanks for these devotions.

    • Thanks for checking out the blog, Lois 🙂
      I, too, am always inspired by stories of heroes of the faith!

  3. Pastor Josh i just watched the video “Heal Me” and it was just what i needed to hear right at this particular moment. Ive watched it over and over a few times already and im just sitting here crying and reflecting..really really touched my heart..thank you for putting that on there…and that i found it right at this particular moment tht i needed it the most.

    • Julie, I’m glad that it helped you. I’ve loved that song for years and was really happy that Eddie R. could sing it in church 2 weeks ago. 🙂

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