Last time we considered this verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:8:
“But let us … put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
We began contemplating what it could mean to have a breastplate of faith and love. Today I want to take that a little further by looking at the requirements of the design of a breastplate and how that relates to faith and love.
- Breastplates guard our hearts. Love and faith should also guard our hearts. We should love others and ourselves enough to not allow them to misuse and abuse our hearts. We should have faith that covers our heart and keeps it strong, even when it’s feeling vulnerable or weak. Our faith and love should stand up for and protect our heart from danger. Our heart and our vital organs, the real us, should be safeguarded behind our breastplate of faith and love, not sitting to the side of it, not as an optional extra, but shielded and defended by our love and faith.
- Breastplates are a piece of armour tailor-made. A breastplate may not always be the most comfortable garments, but they are there to protect. In the Ancient and Medieval times, sometimes soldiers would steal a breastplate from a dead soldier so they could use it to protect themselves. As the armour was not designed for this soldier it would chafe, rub and often cause wounds that would get infected, gangrenous and even kill the wearer. In the same way a soldier’s breastplate needs to be made specifically for him to be of the most use, we need to develop and use our own faith in God and love for others. Borrowing our parents faith, relying on family or friends love, will not protect us in major battles and conflicts. In the toughest of times it is our own armour, our own love and faith that will help us survive. Our faith and love may look a little different to the soldier standing next to us, as ours highlights our pecks and theirs covers their extra long torso, but in its uniqueness our protection lies. It’s in the personally designed relationship between armour and warrior that protection is at its highest.
- A breastplate must not limit a soldier. The design for a breastplate includes the critical function of protecting the soldier without limiting mobility. If we are to wear faith and love as a breastplate then the type of faith and love must not limit our mobility, our ability to fulfil the calling and purpose of God in our lives. If our love for others is shallow and conditional, if it’s not tough, it will restrict our movements as we try to protect ourselves from hurt. If our faith breastplate comes with alterations that are against God’s design, then they will hind us as we fight the kingdom of darkness. Our faith and love must be configured to the pattern God has set for us in His instruction manual, His Bible, so that it meets both its critical design requirements – protection and mobility.
Is your faith and love tough? Tough as steel? Does it cover and safeguard the real you? Is your love and faith comfortable or are you relying on someone else’s armour to defend you? Do you have full mobility in your faith and love? Does it restrict or hinder you from fulfilling your God-given purpose? Does your breastplate fit? Or do you need to be measured up and get one made from the Creator, one designed and moulded for you?
Maybe take some time today to reflect on these things and chat to God about how good or bad a job your breastplate of love and faith is doing for you.
Have you been challenged by this?Share your reflections with us in the comments below.
Click to read Part 1.