Guard Your Heart

Ephesians 6:14 

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

For soldiers and police officers one of their most treasured pieces of equipment is their protective vest. These are designed to stop a bullet from reaching the vital organs and have saved many lives. One source says that over the last 30 years over 3000 police officers have lived to return home to their families thanks to these vests. They do not protect every part of the body. In fact, it is only a small portion. They are not designed to completely protect from injury – they are designed to save lives! In ancient times, the breastplate was the part of the warriors armor that covered the upper body, usually just the chest and stomach areas. Like our bullet proof vests they did not completely protect the soldier from injury, but they did protect those vital areas: the heart, lungs, stomach, etc. 

This is the next piece of the Armor of God that we will look at today: The Breastplate of Righteousness. For the Christian, this speaks of the protection of what is vitally important to our Christian walk. In Proverbs 4:23, Solomon tells us the importance of this piece of armor. He says to, “keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” In the Hebrew culture the heart represented the desire, the will and the emotions of the person. It was the core of who that person truly was. When we say phrases like “This is the heart of the matter” we are referring to the core of what is going on. So Paul is telling us that we must protect our “hearts” from the attacks of the wicked one. We do that through righteousness.

There are two parts to righteousness for a believer. The first is the imputed righteousness of Christ. When we place our faith in the finished work of Christ, His righteousness is credited to our account (that’s what imputed means). This is explained in Romans 4:21-24 using Abraham’s faith in God’s promise as our example. What this means is that when God sees us, it is through the righteousness of His Son. Because of this, the accuser has no grounds for His attack because our righteousness before God is not based on our ability to live a sinless life, but on Christ’s finished work on our behalf.

Since the first part is our righteousness before God through Christ, the second part is our righteousness before man. A Christian is supposed to strive to live blameless in this world. Philippians 2:15 says, “ That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” When we do this, the arrows of the enemy tend to bounce off our armor. It should be our goal to have a testimony of righteousness before our family, neighbors, coworkers and friends. This is not a “better than thou” attitude, but a goal to live a life that glorifies God and attracts others to Him. We will not be perfect in this, but that should never stop us from trying! It’s like the bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t sinless, but they should sin less!”

Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us put on the breastplate of righteousness! Our righteousness before God through Christ and our righteousness before man through a life that seeks to be like Him will be our defense with the enemy attacks.