MEDITATIONS ON THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK #2
Even with a cursory reading of Saint Patricks extent writings, his Confession and the Letter to Coroticus, it quickly becomes clear that Patrick was a man who loved God’s Word. Neither of Patricks works are particularly long yet between them it is thought there are as many as 395 quotes from or allusions to the Bible. It would appear that Patrick lived in the Scriptures and applied them to his life.
This devotion to God’s word should be a real inspiration for us today. Scripture tells us that God’s word is spiritual food which sustains us in our relationship with God, Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4. God’s word works in us, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, to equip us for service, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as we are changed through obedience to its instructions, 2 Timothy 2:20-21. Notice the connection between the functions performed by Scripture and the cleansing of oneself resulting in equipping and being prepared for every/any good work.
The Scriptures explain to us how to be saved through Jesus, 2 Timothy 3:15, not only in conversion but through experiencing all that is ours in Christ, Philemon 6, ‘…a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ’. In the Parable of the Sower we see God sowing his word into peoples lives. God’s purpose is to produce salvation and a fruitful life however there are obstacles which can prevent the word having the desired effect. God wants us to live in relationship with him. The Bible shows us how. We must feed on God’s word, it is life to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit who opens our mind to understand the text and then empowers us to apply in our daily lives what we have understood. Here then is the crux of the matter. Bible knowledge on an intellectual level is of no spiritual benefit if it is not illuminated by the Holy Spirit and applied to our lives.
Notice what James says in James 1:21b -22, considering first the context, 1:19-27, godly living, vs.19-21a, and practical religion, vs.26+27. The words of James in vs.21b-22 are a real challenge, God’s word continues to work out our salvation in us (we have been saved, we are being saved and we will be saved) by drawing us deeper into Christlikeness and relationship with God (‘which can save you’) but only if we accept it as God’s word and obey it even at the expense of our own desires which we must humbly submit to God, ‘not my will but yours be done’.
What then do we gain from this commitment to God’s word? Psalm 1 provides a wonderful answer. ‘Fortunate is the man who chooses God’s way by applying God’s word to his life, he is fortunate because God looks after those who obediently live in relationship with him’, Psalm 1:1-2,6a (my own paraphrase). Let us undertake to live in God’s word just as Patrick did. Amen.