(Day 3 of our 8-day study, “The Struggle”, on the armor of God)
There is a story in the Old Testament about a wicked, yet powerful, king named Ahab. He was one of Israel’s most powerful rulers, was married to Jezebel and seemed to stop at nothing to get what he wanted.
Well, one day there was a battle, and it had been prophesied that King Ahab would die. The King hoped that, by disguising himself, he would be spared. Quickly his enemies found out that the man disguised as the King was not Ahab, and during the battle, King Ahab was hit by a stray arrow “between the pieces of his armor” (1 Kings 22:34). The book goes on to say that “his blood flowed down to the bottom of the chariot, and that evening he died.”
King Ahab wasn’t wearing his typical armor because he was trying to hide. I find it so ironic that a stray arrow hit him in between the pieces of armor most likely near his chest. His carelessness cost him his life.
No one goes into battle without armor; to do so would mean certain death. Yet how often do I forget to put on the breastplate of righteousness? It is so easy to replace quiet time in God’s Word with a to-do list around the house. How often do I get through the entire day without thanking God for the people and gifts in my life? And I wonder why I’ve “lost it” one too many times with my husband and children. When I don’t find the time throughout the day to be intentional with my time in the Word and in prayer, I have forgotten my armor for the day and have thus left myself susceptible for an attack from the enemy.
Satan often attacks our heart because it is the place where our emotions, self-worth, and trust lie. Without the breastplate of righteousness, Satan can knock us down with one word of condemnation. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
So what is the breastplate of righteousness and how do I wear it? How can I guard my heart from the attack of Satan?
Righteousness is something that is imputed to us, meaning we did not earn it. Christ earned righteousness (right standing with God) on our behalf when he lived a perfect life and died on the cross.
When we accept this free gift of grace and make the choice to put on Christ’s righteousness daily. We keep the breastplate on by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and by “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:15).
The breastplate of righteousness gives us the freedom to approach the throne of grace with freedom and with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Because we know who we are in Christ, and wear his righteousness; we can step onto the battlefield knowing that we are protected and covered by him, and it is Christ who fights for us.
We can move forward and advance without fear of what the enemy may throw our way. We know that we have been made right with God through the precious blood of Jesus and our hearts are secure in Him.
This is such good news. We no longer have to be afraid of the stray arrow. We don’t need to run in fear. We are free to stand firm securely in the armor of God.
In order to stand against Satan’s attacks, we must make a conscious effort to put on the breastplate of righteousness. Knowing and accepting that we did not earn right standing with God, but that Christ earned righteousness on our behalf by living and dying for us. We do this by fixing our eyes on Jesus and by taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23
1. Is there anything in my heart that I need to guard better?
2. What thoughts can I make sure to take captive to guard myself from the enemy?
3. How can I be more intentional in my time in the Word and in prayer so that I can combat the enemy with scripture?
Jesus, thank you for earning righteousness on my behalf. Thank you that I have the freedom to stand securely in that righteousness every day. Help me to guard my heart against the enemy by fixing my eyes on you and by taking captive every thought I have. Thank you that I have nothing to fear. Amen.