Willis“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled

 around your waist, with the breastplate

 of righteousness in place.” 

(Ephesians 6:14)

Life is a spiritual fight to the finish. God is strong, and He wants us strong throughout life’s battles. To do this He gives us a suit of armor, the most important piece of which is the breastplate, which protects the heart.

The ‘Breastplate of Righteousness,’ plainly stated, is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. His righteousness has been attributed to us. Christ as the breastplate is used against the arrows of Satan. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies our hearts against the attacks of the evil one.

The resolution of our life struggles requires special armor to protect our most vital organ, the heart. In order for us to stand our ground and keep marching forward on the rugged path of life, we need this protection.

God examines our hearts to search our motives in life, which must be driven by obedience to His Word, especially in the midst of the trial. We should always seek to have a clear knowledge of Christ’s gospel to be fully prepared.

Faith is belief in a good outcome, and it strengthens us in our times of temptation.  Faith, as we know, is the ability to believe in the unseen.  By receiving Christ and the benefits of His redemption, we find grace, which becomes a shield and daily defense.

In Ephesians, Paul tells us, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17 NIV

We must be prepared for this battle every day. We must get up and put on the full gospel armor because every day we come against far more than we can ever handle on our own.

We need all the help we can get, every weapon God has issued us, so that after the battle is over, we’re still standing. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God, are more than mere words, they are weapons and armor given us by God.

When properly used, the full gospel armor enables us to stand up to everything the Devil throws at us.  Life is not a walk in the park or a sunny afternoon picnic. We cannot just walk away from it, or forget about it in a couple of hours. The struggles of life are real and eternally for keeps, it is always a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and his legions.

We need these weapons throughout life, and God’s Word is the most indispensable weapon of them all.  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing war. We should pray hard and long every minute, and we should pray for one another. We must keep our spiritual eyes open. Help keep each other’s spirits up, so that no brother or sister falls behind or drops out.

Paul closes this discussion about the fight of life, asking the Ephesians to pray for him. If we pray as Paul said, we too will know what to say when the time comes for us to speak.

More importantly if we have properly put on the breastplate of righteousness, then our hearts are covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, and we will have the courage to say what needs to be said, at the right time, and in the right way.

The Rev. R. Joaquin Willis, D. Min.,  is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or pastor@churchoftheopendoormiami.org.