The breastplate of righteousness

A common Roman warrior had a bronze breastplate, while the richer ones wore forged chainmail. It covered the body from neck to hips and protected the most important organs - heart and stomach.

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

If a warrior enters into a fight with an unprotected heart, then even the less important wound around heart makes him unfit for war or even dead.

Righteousness is our breastplate in the spiritual warfare, and when we don't have it or treat it thoughtlessly, devil inflicts us with a death-blow.

What is righteousness?

"Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Rom. 4:3)

Paul emphasizes that righteousness may, first of all, be gained through faith. In the same way as Abraham believed God, left his house in which he felt comfortably, lived in prosperity, and went to the Canaan. What's more, he believed God so much that he brought his begotten son, for whom he waited for all his life, as a sacrifice. We should be believing God in the same way. Through such faith, or better to say trust, we put on our righteousness.

Righteousness, which Paul tells about in the letter to Ephesians 6:14, is an honest life, completeness of character and behavior. A righteous man subdues his will to God's one. Our righteousness in front of the Lord is based upon mercy, which Christ brought us through His Suffering, Death and Resurrection. Such righteousness no-one can take away from us. Such righteousness is perfect, because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. But though righteousness is built upon such steadfast fact, it has to be practically implemented in our lives. To be righteous means to put into practice the truth that God had revealed to us, to make word of God the reality of our lives. That's why first of all we need to put on the belt of truth. Truth is the basis of everything that gives us possibility to move. We may read the Bible as long as we can, or go to church as often as we can, but if this doesn't influence our way of life, if neither we, nor our way of thinking, nor our behavior are changed, all of these makes no use for us. When God puts the truth into our hearts, we should implement it in our life 24 hours a day.

"But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation" (1Thes. 5:8).

From this line we see that it's not enough just to believe. Righteousness equals faith plus love. I.e. our faith should be sealed with love.

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead" (James 2:26). In the same time, faith which isn't expressed through the acts of love, is absolutely useless.

In the letter to Corinthians, Paul says that faith without love is nothing. Love is a decision of our will to do somebody good, and first of all God. Only when we learn to treat our neighbors with love, only when we will be loving them in the same way that Christ loves us, only then none of the enemy's power would be able to break our breastplate.

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned...."(Song of songs 8:6-7).

Nothing can destroy love because it is God's armour which He gives to His worriors, to everyone who fights on Jesus' side. Even if you read only couple of books from the Holy Scripture, you'll see that all that God does, He does with love. And even if we reject God's truth, He still loves us and wants to open our eyes. Our Father gave His Son Jesus for us. And Jesus, in order to give us eternal life and to bring us back to Father, died for us on the cross. All that Jesus did, He did with love, even when He was nailed to the cross, He prayed to the Father for people who had been doing it, because devil shut their hearts with false breastplate. Every time Jesus performed a kind of miracle or healed, devil fell down powerless. That's why main devil's task is to steal love from us. He wants to change our God's weapon for the one he uses. He wants to give us false love - physical love which leads to corporal wishes. Devil knows well that a human loves with a heart and in the same way condemns with a heart. This is the main devil's goal - to give us condemnation instead of love, and this condemnation creates in our heart a deep wound. And when our heart is sick, we can no longer put on the breastplate of righteousness. At first we may even not suspect anything, but when a bit more serious warfare begins, we start to feel all wounds and fall at once. Then devil starts to whisper to us his ‘truth' instead of God's truth. First of all, he obtrudes us a feeling of guilt and then induces us to search for relief in false satisfactions. For example, someone gets satisfaction from buying expensive things, others start to overeat, and someone, in order to feel his personal importance, loves to spread in the church someone else's secrets and calls this a ‘need for prayer': "Do you know what happened in that family? Have you heard what her husband did to her? Do you know that their single daughter is pregnant? We need to pray for them."

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6).

This verse clearly tells us that none of the external ceremonies or rituals by themselves give us anything. The only fundamental condition for their efficiency should be the fact that we would never be able to gain success in our Christian life if our faith wouldn't be caused by love. Not passive faith, no! Not theoretical faith, but active one. Faith, which acts only through love.
The breastplate of righteousness would help us only in case if we would honestly speak with God, accept His will to such an extent as He reveals it to us, and then, listening to His commandments, put them into practice. Then, having heard satan's accusation, we would be able to stand our territory and say, "You lie, devil! In Jesus I have everything that I need, I was created in the image of my Father and I am stronger than you are. In the Name of Jesus Christ - get away from me!"