The Breastplate

May Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and may Your godly people shout for joy.—Psalm 132:9

The second piece of armor with which we are to defend ourselves against the tactics of the Devil is the breastplate of righteousness.

A soldier’s breastplate generally extended from the base of the neck to the upper part of the thighs so it would cover many important parts of the body, in particular the heart. Some commentators think that the word breastplate suggests that this piece of equipment covered only the front of the chest and thus gave no protection for the back. They deduce from this that a Christian should face the Devil and never turn his back on him, or else he will expose a part that is unguarded. It is an interesting idea, but it must not be given too much credence, for the soldier’s breastplate often covered his back as well as his front.

What spiritual lesson can we draw from the “breastplate of righteousness”? Most commentators believe that because the soldier’s breastplate primarily covered his heart, the spiritual application of this is that in Christ we have all the protection we need against negative or desolating feelings—the heart being seen as the focal point of the emotions.

What an exciting thought: by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, we have the spiritual resources to deal with all those debilitating feelings that tend to bring us down into despair—unworthiness, inadequacy, fear, and so on. When I mentioned this to a friend who asked me what I thought the breastplate of righteousness was for, he said: “It sounds too good to be true.” I replied: “It’s too good not to be true.”

Prayer

Gracious Lord and Master, how can I sufficiently thank You for providing a defense against this most difficult of problems—emotional distress. Show me how to apply Your truth to this part of my personality. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 15:10-20; Mk 7:21; Pr 4:23; 28:9

What comes out of the heart?

How are we to guard our hearts?

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