by Rocky Fleming
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” (Ephesians 6:14 ESV)
Saint Patrick made a bold declaration. I was impressed when I read it. Catholics celebrate him as their patron saint of Ireland. I was also impressed with this man’s courage and insight when I read about his life. You can tell a lot about a man by his declaration of faith. The following words are extracted from what is known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate, which is also a prayer. I bet you will agree with me that this man was definitely a man of faith. Let’s start my devotional series this week with his words:
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”Maewyn Succat (St. Patrick) – Missionary to Ireland
Here is why I am impressed with St. Patrick. I like courageous men. The life he lived in taking Christ to Ireland was with great risk of life, but it demonstrated his courage. It is said that he personally led the Irish King Laoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. I like men who are willing to state their faith clearly, and then live it out.
In his declaration above, we get a glimpse into this man’s heart, his faith, and what created the great courage in him. We also see how this faith and clarity of vision helped him overcome anger and hate that would sink many of us. After all, wouldn’t you be angry if you were kidnapped from your family and enslaved? It happened to this man in his younger years. According to some information about this man, the young Maewyn Succat was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Great Britian when he was about 16, and taken as a slave to Ireland where he looked after animals. It was there that he also came to know the love of Jesus. He lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. He later became a cleric, and as well was given a vision to return to Ireland and preach the Gospel.
The spread of the Gospel to the Irish through this man is a magnificent expression of his faith and love for Christ. You might want to read more about him. I use this man’s life as an example of what can happen to all of us if we are suited up with God’s armor and we are empowered by His Spirit, as St. Patrick was. No doubt, he was a very special man, but he also had a very special and courageous faith, and I believe it was this that made him special. I believe he would be the first one to share that his faith and his courage and his vision for serving Christ were joined together into God’s purpose, and it was the union of these three connections with Christ that produced the man who did great work for Him. He was a humble man, and therefore, he would think of himself as an ordinary man who served an extraordinary God, and any of us could do the things he did for God if our faith was as clear and pure as Patrick’s. I believe there are some things to learn from this man’s view of Christ that will make our own breastplate of righteousness a little more understandable and attainable. Follow with me this week as I unpack his perspective.