If I was to ever be sent into battle and was only allowed one piece of armour (a ridiculous hypothetical situation I know, but bear with me), I think it would be a tough choice between a breastplate to protect my heart and lungs, or a helmet to protect my brain. An injury almost anywhere to the body can be life threatening if you lose enough blood, but ultimately without a functioning heart or lungs (or brain to control them) you have a death sentence. Hence in battle, protecting these vital organs is essential for survival. So today we continue our series on standing firm by looking at the breastplate of righteousness, and how righteousness is a fundamental part of our battle against Satan’s schemes.
Our previous post in this series ‘Stand Firm,’ took a look at The Lies We Believe and ways which we can expect Satan to be working in the battles of Spiritual Warfare. We found that deception was not only a key component of his arsenal, but also his character. In light of this, it is not at all surprising that, in reading about the armour of God, the first item we are to put on in order to stand firm in battle against Satan, is the belt of truth. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph. 6:14). As we begin looking at these different aspects of the armour, it is important that we realise that these are primarily not virtuous actions that we are to start doing when we sense Satan is at work; rather, these are all ways of describing the impact of the gospel. That is, as we meditate and apply the gospel to our life daily, the belt of truth will always be buckled around our waist, and we will always be in a position to stand firm.
‘Spiritual Warfare’ is a classic example of ‘Christian Jargon’ – language which makes perfect sense to someone who has grown up in or around the church, but to anyone else it is ambiguous (and not to mention a little weird). Spiritual warfare is often used to describe a spiritual attack, moments of temptation, discouragement, fear and anxiety – anything that affects us in a spiritual way that is clearly not of or from God. These things are in fact against God, attempting to draw us away from pursuing our relationship with God and living out our lives in likeness to Christ. The attack comes from Satan, which distinguishes it from suffering due to our faith or consequences of our own sinfulness. It is an attack of our faith, typically experienced through our thoughts and emotions.
On the very last page of my Bible, I am slowly developing a list of questions—mostly ones that I come across in my reading, but some which come about through reflecting. I call these ‘heart questions;’ they are ones which I ask to my heart, in a very broad sense, ‘how am I going at this area of life?’ I also use it as a method to remember things I have been struck or convicted by in past reading to ensure I continue to focus on and invest in pursuing Christ and growing in His likeness. They are not questions based on spiritual disciplines (e.g. ‘How have I been going at reading my Bible?’ ‘Am I praying every day?’), but are rather the practical, fruitful outworking of these things; they are an indication of being in a posture allowing the transformation of the Holy Spirit. This might be something along the lines of, “Am I aware of God’s peace in my day to day life?” “Does my life demonstrate to others that I have complete trust in God,” etc. As I was spending time with God recently, I came across another of these questions to add to my list, and thought that putting together such a list could also be helpful for others as a reference to prompt prayer or reflection, or for considering ways to be growing in greater obedience to God. I will compile them into a page (which you can access from the home page), and plan to include a link to the short post I write about them when they are first added to provide a bit more context to the questions.