“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Everyone should have a favorite tee shirt. From sports teams/athletes to rock bands; from brand name products to popular slogans, people love repping (to represent) their favorite logos through this trendy and casual look. Some would be aware that my “go to” shirts are of the superhero variety. I pretty much have them all: Spiderman (my favorite), Batman, Superman, and the Flash are in my comic attire repertoire.
Two things from this past weekend had me thinking about the shirts we proudly wear. First, our hometown team, the Los Angeles Rams, won last Sunday, booking their trip to this year’s Super Bowl! Just hours after the monumental victory, you could see people rocking Rams shirts and hats all over town. The second moment came hours earlier in a far greater arena (Church) and for a much more precious trophy (Salvation). At church, two great brothers came through the door donning dynamite shirts. The first gentleman was celebrating his birthday with us in style by wearing a Willy Wonka logo brown tee shirt. That was cool to see, as Mia and I just watched that earlier in the week. The next guy through the door was broadcasting his faith with a shirt that read “Straight Outta God’s Word”.
As I think about the message our clothing (like these tee shirts) communicate, I can’t help but be focused on our need to be CLOTHED IN CHRIST. Our faith in Jesus is described as a New Birth (John 3:3) where we become a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). In this newness, one of our daily activities is to “PUT ON” the things of faith. Here are a handful of verses that speak to our new wardrobe:
Galatians 3:27- “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Romans 13:14- “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Ephesians 4:22-24- “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Colossians 3:12- “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
As we consider these Scriptures and Paul’s description of our putting on the Breastplate of Righteousness, we want to better understand the function of the spiritual clothing which goes over our chest/torso area as much more than simply making a fashion statement or being a fan boy.
1) Our being clothed in Jesus BROADCASTS a message of that our heart BELONGS to Him!
Much like someone who gets a new outfit, we wear our faith with a great deal of pride and joy. We want others to know that Jesus has changed our lives, that our faith is real, and that nothing or nobody compares to the gift of God’s love. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”
2) Our being clothed in Jesus PROTECTS the rich deposit and perfect gift that has been given to us!
The imagery Paul uses of what goes over our heart (the breastplate) was what a soldier would wear going into battle. This war gear was used to protect them from penetrating weapons such as swords and spears. The breastplate would guard the warrior’s heart from being pierced by such a fatal blow. The Holy Spirit wants us to recognize the fierceness of the battle that is being waged against us each day and the preciousness of our hearts being covered from being deceived, polluted, and hardened. We are being threatened and attacked at almost an unrelenting rate: The words others speak against us, physical setbacks, the devil prying at weak places of our flesh, disappointing outcomes, unanswered prayers, etc. We need to be on the defensive and adopt the Bible game-plan for our hearts from Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
The wonderful news is that as we WEAR our faith, by the Spirit’s fabric of love and truth, we do not have to wait or sweat out the outcome (like Rams fans will be doing on Super Bowl Sunday), because we are guaranteed a victory over every opponent and obstacle we will ever face.