Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness
Guarding your heart
~Each piece of armor is integral, but maybe none more so than the breastplate.
If you go into battle without a breastplate, you are playing with fire, inviting death. Our hearts must be protected. This is true for every type of battle. Physical, spiritual, and emotional. Not only are they a vital biological organ, but our spiritual hearts are vital to our wellbeing. This is the place where love and trust originate. Our very essence resides in our heart. Pure and true love and faith can only come from a pure heart.
~Proverbs 4:23- Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
By guarding your precious heart, you are minimizing harm, both to you and those you interact with.
~What about my scars?
In talking about guarding our hearts and donning the breastplate of righteousness, most tend to discuss prevention, keeping our hearts pure and avoiding disaster. It’s a great topic to speak to, and greatly needed. But what about those whose hearts sometimes feel damaged beyond repair? What about those of us with scars of a brutal past, or fresh wounds that have left them bleeding and weak?
The marvelous thing is, the breastplate of righteousness works in this area as well. First, let’s discuss wounds, scars, and the healing process.
It’s a process
~Healing takes time.
No matter what the cause of the wound, how deep, or how jagged the tear, healing doesn’t happen instantly. There is a process and part of that is scar formation.
After a wound occurs, the body takes steps to heal itself by forming a scar. This new skin that forms will have a different texture and appearance from what was there before. It will be tougher. When a wound is properly cleansed, the body can more easily form a scar, fresh layers that will help protect the area from future damage.
~You can’t get rid of your scars.
Some scars are more prominent than others. All are permanent. While there are things you can do to minimize their appearance, they will always be there. Soothing balm can be applied. Creams can be used to reduce discomfort and likelihood of irritation leading to picking at, or reopening the wound. Pressure bandages also aid in this process, a protective covering to aid in healing and prevent further damage. Then, massage and skin resurfacing help to lighten the appearance of the scar as well.
Healing and protection
Now, let’s apply this to our spiritual and emotional hearts. This is where the breastplate of righteousness comes in.
~The breastplate is a pressure dressing
This piece of armor is specially designed to protect our heart and soul. Our own righteousness just won’t cut it.
~Isaiah 64:6- But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags.
Filthy rags never protected anyone from anything. The scars we bear are proof of that. Our rags, our own attempts to live life our way, under our own power, lead our hearts astray. Our minds and bodies follow right along after our wayward heart like a hungry puppy begging for dinner.
But we don’t have to beg for scraps.
We also don’t have to erect walls around our hearts to keep from being shredded again. Our own safeguards won’t work. Instead, they’ll make us bitter and hard, a cynical, walking manifestation of fear, incapable of trust and true love, incapable of faith. We can’t survive like that. We can’t live on the few scraps we allow through the gate.
If we surrender our hearts to their Creator, He will shelter them, heal them, and shield them. His righteousness is our pressure dressing.
He longs to heal our wounds, soothe our scars, provide that healing balm to prevent further irritation from old scars. We just have to let Him.
In my own life, I’ve struggled with this. I liked my scars. I clung to them vehemently, needing them to stay fresh, red, and ugly. I never wanted to forget the wrongs done to me. I needed that fuel to exact my revenge. But I wasn’t having any impact on those that had harmed me, and I certainly wasn’t learning from the mistakes I’d made that caused the scars. By hanging on to them, I became bitter, unable to forgive, only focused on retribution.
And it was eating me alive.
Then I discovered something. By tearing down my walls, exposing my scars to Him, and accepting His healing, my pain lessened. My need to deal out justice diminished. I realized that I wasn’t hurting those I thought deserved a measure of pain equal to what they dished out to me. I was hurting myself. When I tossed away my filthy rags and donned that breastplate, I not only started to heal, but I gained protection from future hurts. Yes, I would still encounter pain, but now, I had the means to deal with it, lessen the blow, and recover more quickly and fully.
~Strapping on the breastplate of righteousness isn’t a one time shot.
It’s hard. It takes courage. It takes guts. But the rewards are far greater than the pain.
So, you’re probably wondering how it’s done. “What exactly does putting on this breastplate entail? How am I healed and protected? How are my scars diminished?”
First, open your heart to Him. You must be willing to conform to Christ and follow His laws, His guidance. And you must extend the forgiveness to others that He has gifted you with. In doing this, you allow the pain from your own hurts to be soothed. You’re allowing Him to apply the balm that will reduce the ugliness of your scars.
Next, you live within His commands. You saturate your heart and mind with His word, with His precepts. You live with honesty and integrity. You remember that what you allow into your heart is what’s gonna come out of it. You’re heart is only as strong as what you allow to rule it.
Finally, you avoid disobedience. You don’t tolerate sin in your life. Sure, it’s hard to keep your heart pure. No one said it was going to be easy. Nothing worth fighting for ever is.
Once the breastplate is in place, you have to keep it there. It’s a daily process. As with any armor, you must maintain it. Keep yourself in the Word, surround yourself with people and things that feed positive nourishment into you, and stay connected to Christ.
It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Every day you will face a new battle. Do not go into the fight with an unguarded heart.
Would you like prayer in helping to deal with the scars left on your heart? Would you like to share a word of encouragement for others? Feel free to share with us below.