Last Saturday, in "The Armour of God, Part 1", we saw that the belt of Truth refers to Jesus' ultimate gifts to us: joy, peace, love, wisdom...power! We "wrap" this "belt of Truth" around our waists by accepting each of these gifts for ourselves, and when we do, we are ensuring that we will have God's wisdom and power to help us "resist the devil" (see James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:9) and "stand firm" (See Eph. 6:10-18).

This brings us to God's next piece of armour: "Stand firm therefore...by putting on the breastplate of righteousness..." (Eph. 6:14 NET)

Now I could relate to last Saturday's belt, for I have many in my closet. But a breastplate? No one wears one of those. In fact, I had to go to the dictionary to find out that a breastplate is actually a piece of armour covering the chest...

You all know that the chest is the body cavity containing the heart and lungs, which are our most vital body organs; but did you know that the most fatal stab wounds are those to the left chest region, involving injury to the heart or its vessels? Thus, the purpose of a breastplate is to protect our most vital body organs.

Let's remember that the attacks God's armour protects us from are all spiritual in nature: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but...against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens" (Eph. 6:12 NET). Let's also remember that spiritually speaking, our spiritual lungs are filled with the breath of God, and this is what gives us life (See
Gen 2:7). In similar fashion, our spiritual hearts are the hearts of spirit-born children of God. Thus, the trials, temptations, addictions, physical and mental illnesses and financial problems that assault us are nothing but strategies of the devil designed to attack our spiritual lungs and heart. Without the breastplate, these attacks of the enemy could very well be spiritually fatal; but with this breastplate of righteousness firmly in place, our most vulnerable spiritual body parts are protected.

So just what is this "righteousness" that the breastplate is made of?

This refers to the righteousness that Jesus purchased for us at the cross: "God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21 NET). Our own righteous acts are no better than dirty, worn-out strips of clothing (See
Isaiah 64:6), and any righteousness from ourselves can do nothing against the attacks of the enemy. But when we accept Jesus' Salvation, that means God no longer sees the bad things we have done ("...as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Ps. 103:12 NET). Instead, He sees in us the good things Jesus has done (See 2 Cor. 5:21), and as a result: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31 NET).

The problem is, even though Jesus' righteousness is available to us from the point of salvation on, we so often don't understand and accept that God no longer condemns us (See
Rom. 8:1), and this leaves us vulnerable to spiritual attack. When we choose, however, to put on this "breastplate of righteousness" by embracing the truth that Jesus' righteous is ours, when we accept the truth that we are received and embraced by Him, then this "breastplate of righteousness", this assurance that God does not condemn us, will protect our most vital spiritual body parts against the lies and the temptations of the devil.

Interestingly, there is one other way that a breastplate was used in ancient Jewish history. A jeweled breastplate, known as the "breastplate of decision", covered the chest of the high priest (see
Ex. 28). On it were 12 stones, each representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel. It also held the Urim and the Thummim, stones used in communicating with God (See Ex 28:30). The Bible actually tells us the exact reason for this "breastplate of decision": "Aaron will bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of decision over his heart when he goes into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. You are to put the Urim and the Thummim into the breastpiece of decision; and they are to be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the Lord. Aaron is to bear the decisions of the Israelites over his heart before the Lord continually." (Ex. 28:29,30 NET).

In other words, Aaron's breastplate enabled him to represent the people in the presence of the Lord and to learn the Lord's will for them. We can never stand before a Holy God, let alone bring our questions to Him, wearing nothing but our own filthy-rag-type righteousness. Only through the merits of Jesus' righteousness, imputed to us at Salvation, can we stand. It is only when wearing Jesus' righteousness, that we can learn the Lord's will.

In the midst of any assault of the devil, be it the temptation, spiritual attack, trials, illnesses, or simply the circumstances of life itself, isn't going standing before the Lord exactly what we need and long to do?

I encourage each of you today to spend some time with God thinking about just what it means to put on the "breastplate of righteousness". Do you truly recognize that Jesus' righteousness is a gift for you? Have you accepted it as your own? Do you fully comprehend that God does not condemn you? If not, then don this "breastplate" daily by accepting anew His righteousness as your own. I guarantee you that if you do, you will walk away from your prayer chamber changed, empowered, protected, ready to continue the battle, "...so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day" and then, "...and having done everything, to stand" (Eph. 6:13 NET)

Join us next Tuesday for "The Armour of God, Part 3: The Gospel Shoes"!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "
Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.


(To access the entire "God's Armour" mini-series, please click here.)