When you are being attacked, it’s smart to be equipped with armor! Although I have never experienced a swordsman coming at me with a piercing sword aimed at my heart, and thought to myself, “Boy, I sure am glad I put on my breastplate of armor this morning!” The reality is, we are using weapons and being attacked by weapons on a regular basis.
We use weapons against each other in our relationships without being aware of the damage we are causing. We are assaulted by emotional weapons and wonder why we react. We sub-consciously protect ourselves by putting on defense mechanisms to block the pain.
There are too many weapons to mention, but some of them include shame, manipulation, withholding, avoiding, anger, threats, bringing up the past or self-pity. Our defenses include silent treatment, hiding, secrets and even pretending. These are emotional and relational weapons that are used against us, and we need to be equipped to “fight them off”.
Unfortunately, our default is to quickly protect ourselves by hardening our heart. We subconsciously rise up to defend ourselves, and then pull out a relational weapon to fight back.
Years ago, we helped a couple from Nova Scotia where the husband was involved in an alcohol addiction. Anyone that has been close to a situation like this understands the magnitude of complication that affects every family member. What we all must remember is that there is no impossible situation for God, and He desires to heal every broken heart and set every captive free from the prisons of fear, shame and addiction.
During prayer, I have asked the Lord to give me eyes to “see” what was happening in the spiritual realm, and I am so grateful that this often happens as we are helping families. On this particular day, as the wife and I were asking the Holy Spirit to heal her heart, I saw a thick layer of armor, guarding anyone from getting in. This thick barrier was the result of years of self-protection in her marriage, even rooted in her childhood. In order to survive, she created this armor and masked her pain with achieving great success and loving and celebrating others.
Although this defense works for a season, you can only “give” so much until you snap. You can only hide so long, before you become numb in your emotions and are unable to feel. As we were praying, I presumed that we should ask the Lord to remove the armor. I was surprised that He led me to tell her, “It’s not time to remove the armor, you need it to protect yourself. There is a difference between “armor” and a “hardened heart”. You have chosen to wear the breastplate of righteousness.
Using the armor God has generously provided, we don’t have to resort to hardening our heart. We can remain soft heart towards the ways of God and His abiding presence.
“I will plant a new heart and new spirit inside of you. I will take out your stubborn, stony heart and give you a willing, tender heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit inside of you and inspire you to live by My statutes and follow My laws. Then you will live in the same land I gave your ancestors; you will be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:26-28 The Voice).
Today is my day to put on the full armor of God. I put on the breastplate of righteousness, which simply means “as it should be”….on earth as it is in heaven! Lord, soften my heart where I have allowed hardness of heart to numb my feelings because of weapons used against me. I forgive those who have hurt me, and send away the offense against them. I will discern the difference between a hardened stony heart and simply wearing my armor. I am protected because of the righteousness you have provided for me! Thank you Jesus.
You are loved!