Monday, June 15, 2009

Chest protectors

Stand firm…with the breastplate of righteousness in place. – Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)

When our boys were younger, my husband was forever reminding them of the importance of wearing the proper equipment when playing sports. So when he got his ribs bruised rough-housing with the oldest, who was in full football gear, I had to bite back the “I told you so” and go and buy the biggest Ace bandage I could find. He who preached protection was sore for a month.

Football isn’t the only activity for which participants must wear protective gear. Baseball catchers and umpires, deep sea divers, astronauts, law enforcement officials, construction workers, firefighters and soldiers all wear specially designed equipment to protect their bodies from serious injury.

Especially vulnerable is the torso, where the heart is located. The heart keeps us alive by pumping blood, containing oxygen and nutrients, throughout our bodies to every organ in our body. When our heart stops, we stop. That’s why chest protectors are so important.

In spiritual warfare, we also need a “chest protector.” St. Paul calls it the breastplate of righteousness.

Righteousness is, most simply, right thinking, right feeling and right living.

In a world where right and wrong have become relative and are too often interchanged, the line between what is right and what is wrong has become blurred. How, then, can we know what is right?

That’s easy: Read the Bible. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT).

When the winds of trial threaten my faith, when anger over a careless remark or action rises unbidden, when low funds tempt me to delay paying what I owe, when desire for others’ respect becomes more important than truth and honesty, I need to dig more deeply into God’s Word says and bind that chest protector around me even more tightly.

I should never, ever be without it. I’m much too vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Only with it secured and in place can I stand firm.

Have you put on your chest protector today?

Thank you, God, for Your Holy Word. By reading it and putting it into practice, I can stand firm in the battles I face every day. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Romans 3:21-26

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