THE GIFT OF WEAPONRY, THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
There is a song by Francesca Battistelli called Be Born in Me. It has been the cry of the heart of our family the past few years at Christmas time. A line in the chorus says, “I’ll hold you in the beginning. You will hold me in the end. Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem.”
What does it mean to “make my heart your Bethlehem?” If we say that Bethlehem is the place where Jesus was born, we are saying to God, “Make my heart a place where Jesus lives.”
If we dig into the story of Bethlehem, we learn that the City of David is where the young shepherd boy tended his flock and near the fields where he later downed a giant named Goliath with a single stone. It is where Samuel anointed David. It was also where Ruth gleaned wheat from nearby fields, and, of course, it was where Jesus was born.
Bethlehem means “house of bread.” It makes sense, then, that Jesus, from Nazareth, was born here. He said that He is “the true bread from heaven” and “the bread of life” (John, Chapter 6). He also fed thousands with a few loaves of bread. Twice.
Jesus came from the house of bread to give us life, true bread, true sustenance, and manna from heaven. Jesus is all we need. He satisfies our greatest hunger and strengthens us spiritually, just as bread does physically. What happens when you don’t eat for a few days? You become weak. What happens when you don’t feast on the bread of life daily? You become spiritually weak, giving the enemy an opportunity to break into your spirit and heart.
So how do you protect your heart?
“Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” (Ephesians 6:14, NIV).
Where do we get our righteousness, and what does this have to do with Jesus and Bethlehem? Only by affirming the grace-saving love of Jesus can we find suitable protection for our hearts. By dying for us, Jesus’ sacrifice is our covering of righteousness, just like when the Old Testament priests offered sacrifices for sin. In this text, Paul says that accepting Jesus into our hearts is one of the weapons of spiritual warfare that will keep us spiritually strong. It’s also the reason why Satan hates you.
So, cover your heart with the righteousness of Christ, the bread of life. Protect your heart. Don’t give the enemy your heart. Satan will use worldly “love” to get to you. He will use fleshly “love,” or more appropriately lust, to get to you. It’s one of his most successful schemes.
Your heart belongs to Christ. He bought it with His sacrifice. Defend it.
Receive this great gift of God’s righteousness, and may it protect your heart.
Father God, I pray that Jesus will be born in my heart, and may His sacrifice be my righteousness. May it cover and protect me from the enemy. Please guard my heart today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.