1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
A lot of believers either don’t realize that they are in a war or don't take it seriously. So they are not actively engaged in the war,even though they are on the receiving end of the consequences of that war. They are attacked and become wounded and incapacitated because they are totally unprepared to face the enemy.
In order to survive the first thing we have to realize is that there really is a war and we do have an enemy. What we must realize is that our enemy is God’s enemy. In fact he is our enemy because he is God’s enemy. The mere fact that you are a child of God means that you are subject to attack at any time. You may believe you don’t have to engage in the battle, but you do.
Satan does exist and he has a military force. The war is never over because the enemy never never gives up. Jesus has defeated him but he continues to engage in gorilla warfare. Much like Isis or any other defeated enemy does until they are totally destroyed.
This is a spiritual war, but it’s every bit as real as the conflicts that we see being waged the world today. The Bible is clear that this is not a battle which is fought on a physical plane at all, but rather a spiritual one.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We must never go to battle without the things we need in order to protect ourselves and to win. Remember our battle is spiritual, so our protection and weapons are spiritual. God has provided some armor for our protection.
Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
We must have the whole armor of God protecting us at all times so we can stand successfully against the enemy’s attacks and plans.
To “take your stand” literally means to stand in front of and in opposition to the forces and plans of evil. It means to be the one standing after the battle. It also means to stand ready for the next battle which will come.
You need this armor to stop any attack in your life and the lives of those you care about.
In this blog series we are going to look at this armor and how it protects us in our battle against Satan and his army.
The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier's armor—it provided protection for the torso, which contains vital organs like the heart, lungs and so on. Without a breastplate, a soldier would be asking for death, as any attack could instantly become fatal. With a sturdy breastplate, the very same attacks become ineffective and useless, as blows glance off the armor.
The breastplate covered the body from the neck to the thighs, and consisted of two parts, one covering the front and the other the back. It was made of rings, or in the form of scales, or of plates, so fastened together that they, would be flexible, and yet guard the body from a sword, spear, or arrow. It was often formed of plates of brass, laid one upon another, like the scales of a fish. The breast-plate defended the vital parts of the body; and the idea here may be that the integrity of life, and righteousness of character, is as necessary to defend us from the assaults of Satan, as the coat of mail was to preserve the heart from the arrows of an enemy.
Jesus’ perfect righteousness is what covers our heart, and that is what God sees when He looks at us. But we still have to put on righteousness like a soldier puts on a bulletproof vest. That means we must choose to live God’s way. We cannot be protected if we deliberately walk outside the ways and the will of God. Our breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus in us. It protects our heart from any mortal wounds and assures us that the enemy can never destroy us because of sin.
Now we know that we are justified or made righteous by God but we still have the choice of living righteous
God himself puts it on us.
Romans 3:21-22 (NLT)21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
This makes us right with God. It is as if we had never sinned. It is goodness on the inside of us.
The breastplate of righteousness refers to the righteousness purchased for us by Jesus at the cross
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
At salvation, a “breastplate” is issued to each repentant sinner. It is specially designed by God to protect our heart and soul from evil and deception. Our own righteous acts are no match for Satan’s attacks.
Isaiah 64:6 (ESV)6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
The breastplate of righteousness has Christ’s name stamped on it, as though He said, “Your righteousness isn’t sufficient to protect you. Wear mine.”
We are instructed to “put on” this armor, which implies that we do not automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor of God requires a decision on our part. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place (See Armor Of God- Belt Of Truth). Without truth, our righteousness will be based upon our own attempts to impress God. This leads to legalism or self-condemnation.
Romans 8:1 (ESV)1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We choose instead to acknowledge that, apart from Him, we can do nothing.
John 15:15 (ESV)15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
We see ourselves as “in Christ” and that, regardless of our failures, His righteousness has been credited to our account.
We “put it on” by seeking God and His righteousness above everything else.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We make Him and His ways our dwelling place.
Psalm 91:1 (ESV)1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
We delight in His commands and desire for His ways to become our ways.
Psalm 119:24 (ESV)24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
When God reveals an area of change to us, we obey and allow Him to work in us. At the point where we say “no” to God, we open a little crack in the armor where Satan’s arrows can get through.
Ephesians 6:16 (ESV)16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
As we wear Christ’s breastplate of righteousness, we begin to develop a purity of heart that translates into actions. Wearing this breastplate creates a lifestyle of putting into practice what we believe in our hearts. As our lives become conformed to the image of Christ our choices become more righteous.
Romans 8:29 (ESV)29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
These godly choices also protect us from further temptation and deception.
Psalm 23:3 (ESV)3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
When armor is abused or worn incorrectly, it can malfunction. Tthere are several factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of our spiritual breastplate.
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Abusing grace
Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
1 John 3:4 (ESV)4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
All of these things can hinder our ability to stand firm and defeat the enemy in our lives. When we tolerate sin, refuse to forgive, rely on personal righteousness, or allow worldly concerns to crowd out time for an intimate relationship with God, we, in effect, take off the breastplate of righteousness, minimizing its power to protect us.
We need our breastplate of righteousness in place in order to gain the victory.
2 Corinthians 10:1-6 (ESV)1 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!--
2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Once we have put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must be sure not to remove it.
Ezekiel 33:13 (ESV)13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.
Wearing the breastplate of righteousness is not a one-time event it requires a lifetime of action.