Apr 15, 2016
The second piece of armor for the Christian is essential for us if we do not want this world's philosophy to be the greatest influence on our lives.
In Today's Episode:
What is the greatest influence on your life? What influences your thoughts, desires, and emotions?
3 Areas targeted by our spiritual enemy
The Breastplate of Righteousness, from Ephesians 6;14, can protect us in each of these areas.
The physical breastplate of the Roman soldier in Paul's day was constructed of bronze or iron, and held together by leather cords or buckles. It protected the soldier’s vital organs. Two of those were the heart and stomach.
The heart is linked to 2 areas in Scripture:
The stomach and intestines area is linked with our emotions in Scripture.
Verses about our heart and thinking:
Matthew 9:4 “But Jesus, knowing their evil thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?”
Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart . . .”
Proverbs 16:16 “The plans of the heart belong to man…”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is . . . discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Verses about our heart and desires:
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 20:4 "May he grant you your heart's desire."
Besides the heart, the breastplate also protected the stomach and intestines areas.
Verses about our emotions:
Have you ever felt excited or nervous about something, and felt it in your stomach a bit?
In the original language the New Testament was written in (Greek), the word used for the intestines in Acts 1:18, referring to the intestines of Judas gushing out of him after he fell to the ground when he was hung, (Strong's Number G4698) is the same word used for "heart" in Colossians 3:12 where the heart of compassion is mentioned.
Colossians 3:12 “. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
A form of this same Greek word is also used in Matthew 20:34 when it says, "Moved with compassion."
Matthew 20:34 “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed him.”
This reference to the stomach / intestines and bowels area was mentioned in connection with emotions in the culture of the day.
Back in Ephesians, the Breastplate of Righteousness physically covers 2 areas of a person (the heart and stomach/intestines area) that which are also linked in Scripture with 3 areas in a person’s life: the thinking, the desires, and the emotions. God offers protection for these parts that are targeted by the enemy.
The word “righteousness”
Synonyms of righteousness are: integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting
Question “whose righteousness protects us ?” God's righteousness.
Philippians 3:9 “…and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith...”
2 Ways that God's righteousness protects us:
Have you ever heard anyone talk to you about hanging out with the right kind of people? It’s important to have our closest friends be people of high character. These 2 verses in Proverbs provide wisdom about the powerful influence people can have on one another.
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
What if we were to walk with God?
What if we, as believers, made the conscious decision to make sure that His righteous character was the greatest influence on our lives? It would have a big effect on the way we think, what we desire, and what our emotions look like!
Furthermore, what if we even started embracing those righteous character qualities with our actions; what would that look like? If God had the greatest influence on our lives, the influence of this world’s philosophy would not be able to change our way of thinking, shape our desires, or control our emotions.
What would this look like? Protection
Example of a man who was influenced by God and the change life that resulted:
We’re now going to look at the true story of a man who allowed God to be his greatest influence. He spent time with God, and over time embraced God’s plan, and became a changed man.
In Exodus chapter 4, Moses was against the idea of being a leader for God’s people. But 10 chapters later, he had become a changed man. He had embraced God’s plan for him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. This change of heart didn’t happen over night-Moses got upset at God in chapter 5, verses 22-23.
In chapter 8, Moses’s attitude is beginning to change.
That is because he has learned some important things about God.
God is compassionate, He cares about his covenant with Israel, He is very powerful, God could be trusted - so far, everything He said would happen is coming true!
After coming to understand all these things about God through his experiences in Egypt, Moses was ready to become more involved. Moses had just been a spokesman up until now, but in chapter 9 he began to be more involved in the miracles that God was doing.
Finally the day arrives when it became obvious how far Moses has come in his spiritual growth. As the Israelites escape from Egypt, and see Pharaoh’s chariots coming at them on one side, with the sea on the other, Moses gives the pep talk of his life to the frightened people he’s leading. Exodus 14:13-14
Moses is convinced that God loves these people and is really going to rescue them. Now, we see the ultimate physical demonstration that Moses has embraced all that he’s learned about God. He truly believes in Him. Only 10 chapters before, he had no clue about standing strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. But now, Moses is living it!
How can we put on the Breastplate of Righteousness? We might think of it like a two-step process.
1- We spend time getting to know the Righteous character of God - through reading His Word on a regular basis.
It might be morning, it might be later in the day, or at night before bed. But you and I need to find a way to spend time around the righteous character of God. Nobody is going to schedule it for us. If we want protection, you and I need to make the time for this.
2 - Embrace His character
As we learn about His character from the Bible, we begin to THINK the way God does. We begin looking at life from His perspective, bringing the way we do life into obedience to what God says is right.
And then, we find out what is important to God's heart. What does He DESIRE? And then we ask Him to give us a heart for the things that He has a heart for.
And while we are getting to know God through His Word, we watch to see: what kinds of things please God? What kinds of things make God sad? Or angry? And we ask Him to help us to have the kind of EMOTIONS that He would be in agreement with.
We are deciding that His character will be the greatest influence in our lives.
This is protection. And it's the kind of protection that we need to make time for.