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Vindicating Faith

If we have faith, everyone will know.

For that reason, I offer thanks that He gave me strength in all matters, not hindering that departure that I had decided upon, nor also those works which I learned to do from the Lord Christ; rather, I felt all the more His great power in me. And my faith was vindicated before God and men.

  - Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century[1]

Vindicate me, O LORD,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the LORD;
I shall not slip.
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.

  - Psalm 26.1-3

Neither Patrick’s parents nor his pastors wanted him to go back to Ireland. He had been gone from home, as a slave in Ireland, for six years. He returned to his home after fleeing Ireland and undertaking a perilous voyage with some rather unseemly characters.

Now he was home, safe, and loved. But not for long. God spoke to Patrick in a vision, calling him not merely to take up the work of ministry, but to return to Ireland and spend himself for the souls of those who had enslaved and abused him.

His parents were not thrilled at the prospect. His pastors told him, “Absolutely not!” After all, he wasn’t trained; he hadn’t even finished the equivalent of high school. (Note his comment about Jesus teaching him what he needed to know, like Paul in Galatians 1.11, 12.)

And the Irish, well, as Patrick knew, they were a wild and untamed lot. But Patrick firmly believed God had called him, and he would not allow anyone to stand in the way of his following what he knew to be the calling of the Lord.

He’d been called to his own Personal Mission Field, and he was responsible to no one but the Lord and the people he would serve.

“Well, we’ll see,” must have been the attitude of those rebuffed priests and bishops.

And see, they did, for as it turned out, Patrick was, indeed, vindicated in his faith and calling.

We should all want as much. God has called and sent each one of us as surely as He called and sent Patrick. All believers are called to do the work of making disciples and bringing near the Kingdom of God to all the people in their own Personal Mission Fields. Others may doubt our qualifications or question our holding such a lofty view of our lives.

But we must not deny our calling; rather, let us look to Jesus to equip and send us each day.

We should all pray, like the psalmist, that God will vindicate us, that He will demonstrate the validity of our believing in Him, and following Him, so that others can see, in what He does in and through us, that our belief is not in vain and His power to save is real.

A day is coming, when the Lord returns, when all those who in these times testify of their belief in Jesus to scorn, laughter, and rejection, will be vindicated before the watching eyes of all the world. God will say, in effect, “You see now, foolish people, that what these faithful ones proclaimed to you is true; that their living in contradistinction to your worldly ways was right; and that what they warned about in the days ahead has now come to pass. They are vindicated now, while you are condemned.”

That day is certainly coming. However, for now, we should be making an issue of our faith in our conversations, by our actions, and in confronting sin in our lives. When the love of God controls us, love for our neighbors will move us to go to them as surely as Patrick went to those pagan Irish. We are agents of grace to a world that may reject our love, but before which we will be vindicated in due course.

God will test and prove us, as He did Patrick, to see whether we will remain faithful to Him and consistent in our witness. And He will vindicate us to the watching world – if not now, then surely at the great coming day of glory.

Knowing that your faith will one day be vindicated, labor on.

For Reflection
1. Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Are you working it daily?

2. What opportunities for demonstrating your faith will the Lord set before you today?

Psalm 126.4-6 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

Vindicate my faith today, Lord, as I…

Help for working your Personal Mission Field

Don’t forget to listen to this month’s Personal Mission Field Workshop. It’ll make you a little spongier (click here). Pick up your free copies of our books, Joy to Your World! and The Gospel of the Kingdom by clicking here.

Please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe at this time. Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

[1] Da Paor, pp. 101, 102.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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