Patrick was known as one of Christendom’s great missionaries and is the patron saint of Ireland. He was not Irish himself, but a Breton, which basically made him Roman. As a young man Patrick was taken into slavery by the Irish, but he escaped and returned to England, lucky to be alive. After he was converted to Christ, his heart was immediately drawn to the Irish, the people who had enslaved him. He returned to share Jesus with the people who once abused him and held him captive.
Legend tells us that the fierce Irish respected him greatly for a simple reason: He was not afraid of them. His attitude was I only fear God. As amazing an attitude as that is, it is still natural to wonder how he could have such a powerful ministry of evangelizing an entire nation of people who had once been his enemies. Perhaps his secret is found in the beautiful words he penned, “Christ Be With Me,” also known as his “breastplate”—his protection. This powerful stance of the heart reveals where His intent was at, much like David reveals through the Psalms.
Christ Be With Me
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 where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.
There truly is nowhere we can go, no situation, no challenge, no relationship, no conversation where God isn’t present. Because of His great love for us, and His spirit at work in and through us, His worship will invade every nook and cranny of our lives.
This is what David wrote in Psalm 139:1 (from the Message translation), and what he says about experiencing God’s presence at every moment.
God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!
Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”
There is so much wisdom in the straightforward words of A. W. Tozer:
The church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged.
The heart of worship is based on the person and presence of God. Do you see God in your sitting and standing, in your coming and going, before you and behind you, in your words and in your silence? Acts 17:28 says that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (NKJV). The result of truthful worship is experiencing God. He is always there. It is for us to open our hearts and minds to expect His presence. My prayer for us all is that we would see the living God at work in every area of our lives today and always.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.