"Who am I, Lord, or what am I called to, that in all your Divinity You have shown yourself to me so that today I constantly lift up and magnify Your Name among the heathen, wherever I have been, not only in good times but in bad?"
- Patrick, Confession (British, 5th century)
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I now how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
- Philippians 4.11-13
Patrick understood the work of God's Spirit: First, the Lord calls and saves us by His Spirit, working with His Word. Then, He makes Himself known to us in the books of creation and Scripture. Using what He shows us there, He sanctifies us and fits us for service. Then He sends and leads us out into our Personal Mission Fields so that we might refract His glory and seek His Kingdom.
The Christian life, you see, is really fairly simple. But it is astonishingly beautiful and fraught with boundless possibilities for power, joy, and love! Do we see our own lives in Christ the way Patrick did? As Paul did? And is Christ in us truly the hope of glory, the perspective on all our activities, the power for all our daily affairs?
Or are we living under the circumstances of a fallen world, an incomplete sanctification, and the mad distractions of an age of folly and materialism?
True contentment comes not from being in the right circumstances, but being in the right Lord. If your circumstances are your lord, ruling your life and distributing purpose and happiness willy-nilly and meagerly, then you'll never know what Patrick and Paul knew. Nor will others ever know it through you.
But when you recognize that Jesus is Lord and you are His subject; and when you embrace the Kingdom citizenship He has granted you and show up each day to learn more of Him and be fitted for His service, well, that changes everything. That makes your life a daily mission of seeking and showing Christ, knowing and telling Jesus, hearing and speaking His Truth, and having Him grow in you and through you to touch the people around you with His love.
So what is your aspiration in the life of faith? Who - or what - is truly Lord of your life?
I challenge you to memorize the prayer of Patrick, quoted above, and begin making that your prayer today and every day, until the aspiration for it becomes the reality in which you live.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
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