Have you ever really committed yourself to something? It seems to be a rare find in people. Most of us want what is easy. Some are comfortable the way life is. Others cannot stay focused on a goal, because the fun stuff keeps getting in the way.
Are you familiar with Patrick, otherwise known as St. Patrick? He is an inspiration to the committed, and a challenge to those who are not.
Patrick was born British and lived 385-461 A.D. His parents were very religious, but he wanted nothing to do with their faith. As a teenager, his life dramatically changed when an Irish mob abducted and sold him into slave labor in Ireland. For six years he served as a shepherd watching over his master’s sheep. During that season of quiet suffering, he came to know the God of his parents. Eventually, he was led by the Lord to escape slavery in miraculous fashion, and made his way back home. There Patrick prepared for a career in ministry. In time, he was convicted by God that he must return to the land of his slavery and spread the good news of Christ. He boarded a boat that took him to the shores of Ireland; this time of his own choosing. The day he stepped onto Irish shores began 29 years of a legendary mission.
Ireland in Patrick’s day was an evil and dangerous place. Knowing this in advance, Patrick recounted in his writings, The Confession, saying “I am ready to be murdered, betrayed, enslaved -- whatever may come my way.” It was an epic battle of light versus darkness which made for mythical type stories that followed Patrick’s work. Upon his death in 461 A.D., light had won the battle setting a new course for the Irish. God used Patrick to see over 120,000 people baptized and 300 churches planted.
Patrick was one man, wholly dedicated to Christ. Through his full commitment, God changed a nation.
Is the life of Patrick normal for anyone who follows Jesus? Yes and no. No, in the sense that God in His wisdom, chooses certain people for certain missions. Not everyone will travel to another country. Not everyone will change a nation. Not everyone has the same gifts, talents and experiences. We are all different, which should be celebrated rather than compared. But yes, in the sense of what the Bible lays out as a standard for all Christians.
Where did Patrick get his commitment from? Read what Jesus explained to His disciples about what was going to happen to Him, “And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20:18-19) Jesus undertook His mission fully knowing the cost. It sounds like Patrick was influenced by Christ.
But you say, “I am not Jesus, nor am I Patrick. How does Jesus want me to live?” Read these words He spoke to His disciples as Jesus lovingly looked each one of them in the eyes, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37-39)
Jesus is clear. There is a cost to following Him. A person must be willing to humble themselves before Him as both Savior of their sins, and Lord of their life. This is the price of a Christian. Total devotion of his life under the Lordship of Jesus. This is the example He gave us through His cross. As Jesus lovingly yielded all for you, He calls you to yield all for Him. Will you, today?
A prayer for you. “Lord God, thank you for the life of Patrick. Through his life of faithfulness, teach us be fully committed to you. Nothing less. Point out anything that is hindering an unswerving dedication to you, that we might confess and turn from it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at email@example.com and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.
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