Therefore, let God never permit me to lose the people that He has won in the ends of the earth. I pray God to give me perseverance and to deign to allow me to give faithful testimony of Him until my death, for the sake of my God.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
…but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…
- Hebrews 3.13, 14
Patrick knew where the power came from – the power not just to witness, but to persevere in the faith.
Patrick went to Ireland because God called him irresistibly. He went against the wishes of his parents and the advice of his pastors, because he was certain God wanted him to return to the people from whom he’d escaped as a runaway slave, to tell them about the freedom he’d found in Jesus Christ. And after many years of powerful ministry there, he knew he’d been able to reach so many people because God had opened wide doors of opportunity for him. Many had come to Christ because God brought them. Patrick knew he’d been able to labor faithfully for so many years because the power of God was working in and through him.
Patrick was a true apostle of grace, and by grace he prayed that he would have grace to continue in his walk with and work for the Lord all his days. Nothing is possible without grace, and nothing is impossible with it.
The life of faith is a continuous struggle. It’s more than just a good beginning – believing in Jesus – and a happy-ever-after ending – going to heaven when we die. It’s more than an occasional “mountain top” experience, or some happy association with like-minded believers. In between the new birth and the new heavens and new earth, and interweaving all the highs, lows, and activities of faith, the Christian life is worked out day by day in faithful submission to God’s Word and Spirit, and faithful obedience to His calling (Phil. 2.12, 13; Acts 26.19, 20).
If your faith is not a workout, your faith is not working out as the Lord intends.
All this working out of our salvation is by the grace of God. He Who gives us new life enables us to hold fast our confidence firm to the end. We do not persevere in faith to be saved; rather, we persevere in faith because we are saved, and because God Who has saved us is graciously at work within us to will and do of His good pleasure.
Our challenge is to stay in the battle, taking up each day the work of service and the ministry of love that draws on the power of the Spirit for true words and good deeds. Each day our Personal Mission Field awaits us. There is always work to do – preparing the soil, sowing the seed, watering and fertilizing the ground, cultivating fruit-bearing plants and combating fruit-stealing weeds, and so forth. If we prepare well each day, we should have no difficulty demonstrating the love of Christ, talking about Him with others, and working for transformation of one kind or another within our own spheres of influence (2 Cor. 10.13-18).
As we reach out in faith to live our confident hope, taking every next step of obedient faith, the Spirit strengthens our soul and transforms us, so that holding our confidence firm to the end becomes just the sweetest, most satisfying, and most natural of things.
How’s your confidence these days? Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and boasting joyfully in Him? Are you praying for and reaching out to others? Rejoicing to know the Lord at work within and through you, day by day? Faithfully working your Personal Mission Field?
Yes, it can be a struggle. But if Jesus is real to you, like He was to Patrick, and if you continually avail yourself of the grace of God, that struggle will lead to many fruitful and exhilarating days of following Jesus and bearing fruit for His Kingdom.
On this day, when we praise God for the life and work of Patrick, let us pray that God will give us a double measure of the Spirit with which He endowed that great saint, whose faithfulness sparked a revival that lasted nearly 400 years.
1. How do you prepare for going into your Personal Mission Field each day?
2. Do you thank God at the end of the day, and reflect on the work He has done in and through you? Why should you do this?
Psalm 105.45 (Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
So let us all in our Savior confide, and in His holy Law abide.
Let us observe His glorious Word, and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!
Thank You, Lord, for Patrick, and for his example. Help me to be more like him in my walk with and work for you, so that I…
Patrick in his own words
In our book, Celtic Flame: The Burden of Patrick, we allow the saint to tell his own story. We set the two documents Patrick left behind – his Confession and the Letter against the Soldiers of Coroticus – into a verse narrative in heroic couplets. Read Patrick’s story for yourself. Order you copy of Celtic Flame by clicking here.
Will you seek the Lord?
God supplies the needs of The Fellowship of Ailbe, as we look to Him day by day. It has pleased Him to enlist many of those who are served by our ministry to share in the financial support of this work. He may be pleased to do so, at least in part, through you. I ask you to seek Him in prayer concerning this matter. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Da Paor, p. 107.