“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
“having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
Ephesians 6:14 NKJV
I am vulnerable. In my youth, I was the target. I was a big, quiet kid, way too smart for his own good, and unwilling to hide it. I was regularly attacked on many levels. I was hated by my white teachers who had low expectations, hated by my black peers, who thought I was a sell out. Over time, I developed a rock solid vaneer, that appeared impervious to the neverending onslaught aimed squarely at my heart. I was divorced from my emotions, I was a functioning sociopath, devoid of concern for others, unloving, detached from the rest of humanity. I walked alone. Safety in solitude.
One of the hardest adjustments I have had to make since Jesus saved me and transformed my life, is the way my heart has been made raw. I went from sociopath, bent on self protection, to lover of souls, bent on serving, bent on encouraging, bent on seeing others get what they need first, even if I have to suffer. One bent on love. I have an uncomfortable sensitivity, and desire to serve others. I worry about how my words can affect the lives of other people. God has made me a walking safe space, a person transformed, and made me alive to serve Him.
I have also been made vulnerable. My vaneer has been chipped away, exposing my vital emotional organs to the darts of the evil one. Just as a soldier or police officer going into war, or riot, I must have the protection of my heart. The bullets I face are not of lead, but flaming darts, sometimes thrown by people I care about.
Praise be to the Lord, as He does not leave His children undefended. I have the breastplate of righteousness guarding my heart. Through the righteousness of Christ I am able to filter the things that I allow into my heart, the things that can harm me. My thoughts are measured against the values in the word of God. God’s Holy Spirit convicts me, and protects me from the outside by reminding me that I am His, that Jesus died for my sins, and is petitioning on my behalf at the right side of the throne. I am also protected from the things in me that can damage my heart. Memories of past hurts are always waiting to bring pain, and upset me. I am learning to give those to the Lord.
Believers, we are in terrible times. Our hearts are being wounded by the troubles that seem to be neverending, and ever threatening. Let us put on the body armor, the word, prayer, worship, and accountable fellowship, that we be protected from the darts of the evil one. Lets protect ourselves from our pasts, our thoughts, and the effects of our sins, by confessing to the Lord. We are going into battle day after day, with a spiritual sniper rifle aimed squarely at our hearts.
Seek the Lord today. That very same body armor that protects us, empowers us to step out and share the Gospel. We are protected as we advance against the enemy to free the captives. Sadly, the ones aiming at us are often the very ones being held hostage by sin. Love must encompass all that we do. There is no room for collateral damage.
Pull on the body armor today, and lets go tactical!
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