Stand your ground, putting on . . . the body armour of God’s righteousness.Ephesians 6:12-14
Why did Paul and Isaiah keep changing the point of comparison for the Breastplate in terms of clothing parts or in terms of the truth referred to? Are both of these guys confused or does the switching point have something else going on beneath the surface? In Bible Gem 703 I suggested “Take note of how closely related the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation are. All are connected with our orientation to the Truth.” It is no coincidence that Paul chooses to list the belt of truth, then the breastplate of righteousness and then later the shield of faith. There is a connection between all three of these concepts.
Do you see how all of these ideas are linked. Righteousness, faith and salvation are all part of the same package which leads to salvation. The Bible tell us over and over that the just or the righteous shall live by faith. Faith not only comes out of your heart condition but it is also connected to your head and your thought processes. By faith in Christ you gain the righteousness of God. Remember that both of these parts of the body armour, the belt and the breastplate overlap to protect the vital organs. Your heart is a vital organ but so too are your loins (in the Old English sense). I am sure none of you would dispute that your heart and your head are vital “organs”. The head is not normally thought of in the same way but it is what governs or controls the rest of your autonomic function. All of this is linked together in the same way that righteousness, faith and mind are linked. No wonder that Paul and Isaiah before him switch back and forth between the aspects of function on this human continuum.
Your faith or your trust in Christ starts with the mind but must soon move to the heart or the loins or the liver or spleen or bowels or whatever part of you your culture tells you is your centre or core. I am sure you realise the notion varies between human cultures nowadays just as it did in Paul’s time and Isaiah’s time before him. Hence the reason why the idea of faith and righteousness and salvation is approached from all angles on the continuum that is YOU. That’s why it is important for you to use all of you to believe. NOT JUST YOUR HEAD. That is why you are told to love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love God with the totality of your being. Don’t leave anything out. Enter into your love (faith) relationship with God with all of your being. Don’t leave your heart emotions out!
Many people go through the motions of religious practice without allowing their emotions to become involved. They want to approach this religious thing with a detached mind. Almost from the view point of participant observation. Wrong move. I ought to know. I was once came at “religion” all from that point of view.
When I was first challenged to become a Christian in 1973 I was determined I was not going to get involved in emotional religion. I understand people thinking like that. “Don’t let the emotions get in the way of reason.” There is benefit to that initially so you can check it out in a realistic way but at some stage you have to let go and let yourself enter into the emotion of it all. No New Zealander would think of going to a rugby game without letting your heart rule your head and getting excited about the game. [The world rugby cup proved that – a stadium of 4 million. The whole country celebrated the games.] Some are willing to do that for rugby but not for God. How foolish! He made you with a mind and a heart. Give it all to Him.
A hint as to how to go about this. Again from one who stood in the place some of you are now. In the mid seventies the charismatic movement was sweeping through NZ and our local Baptist church was open to charismatic teaching on a regular basis. I found myself resisting this “emotional stuff”. The worship leader would encourage us to lift our hands and Ian would stand there with my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t comply. No one was going to suck me into “this charismatic thing”. But then one day a speaker came who told us all that “lifting our hands to God is a part of our body language toward Him. Allow your mouth and your body to be in sync. Think of lifting your hands as being like a child who wants his father to pick him up.” That comment gave my brain a hook to hang my emotions on. Somehow you have to find the balance between them – the heart and the mind; your thoughts and your emotions. When you can do that you can get excited about God in the way you would get excited about other exciting things. God is the most exciting “thing” of all. Stop trying to control things with your mind and get your feet off the bottom (Ezekiel 47 and whether you ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep or over your head in the things of God) and let the current of God carry you along. Don’t try to rationalize everything – leave room for your heart too.
I wrote in the previous Gem, “With Paul, the breastplate becomes the breastplate of righteousness and also the breastplate of faith. Mmm, interesting they are interchangeable.” Why is that interesting? Because in the same way your heart needs to be protected by the armour of God so too does your seat of emotion wherever that maybe in your body (but always thought culturally to be in the vital organs) and your head which must be covered by the armour too. No point having your heart covered and your head uncovered in this battle. Satan will try to get you one way or another. Learn to protect all three areas and to be aware of the strategy of your enemy as I told you at the outset of all of this. Realize too that you are a tripartite being made up of body, soul and spirit. Learn to recognize all three parts of who you are. To become truly you, you have to learn to operate in all three spheres. Hence the armour must be in place to protect all three key centres of operation.
It is this truth that results in what seems to be confusion with Paul and Isaiah and Biblical teaching. Which is it guys head, heart or spirit? Which is it, Breastplate, belt or helmet? Answer all of the above. Learn to operate in and protect all three.
They say: Don’t let your head rule your heart. But make sure you do have a heart.Anon
God gave you emotions, use them. Do you realise tears are the number one way the body releases toxins?Ian Vail
Don’t push down the pain; deal with it then it won’t come back to bite you.Ian Vail
When we silence our mind, we realise that we have a heart and soul. Learn to use all three. Become a more balanced person.Ian Vail
You are never a great man when you have more mind than heart.Beauchene
You are more balanced than I, you have a chip on both shoulders.Ian Vail