In I Thessalonians Paul uses the image of the breastplate to describe faith and also love. He writes in Chapter 5, and verse 8, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love…” Jesus exhorted his disciples about love frequently. On one occasion he explained that they should “live” in His love for them. In John 15:9, Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Jude exhorts his readers to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Obviously this is not our love for God but God’s love for us. It’s the only safe place. John Calvin said that God’s love is a “watch-tower.” It’s a sentry’s post. Even the exhortation to “keep yourself…” is reminiscent of a military command. When Paul exhorts the Corinthians about fighting the good fight as soldiers he uses military phrases. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul uses literal military commands. He says, “Be on Guard (alert & Watchful), take your stand in the substance of faith, be courageous, and be strong.” The next verse then concludes, “Let all that you do be done in love.”

Our preservation in the battles against the spiritual forces of darkness is dependent on our preparedness. Dwelling in, and standing firm in, God’s love will protect all the vital parts of our existence against the onslaughts of the evil one. As Paul explains, we are children of the day! We are not children of the night with our pajamas on ready for bed. No, we’re up and dressed and ready for life and able and competent to face all trials and sufferings that life may bring our way. We find courage in the breastplate of God’s love. It’s this truth that brought Paul great confidence when he wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things (read, face all enemies) through Christ Jesus.” Either David or Bathsheba names their son Solomon. Your parents named you also. But Nathan the prophet speaking for God said his name was Jedediah (2 Samuel 12). It means “beloved of God.” That’s what God names you. That’s what God names me! Never doubt God’s love!

Abiding in God’s love, having put on the breastplate of love, will give me confidence and courage in my life long battles. John said it best, “there is not fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear” (1 John 4:18). No matter what assails me in my day to day life I can face it all because I know that God always has my best interest foremost in mind. He may give Satan permission to attack (see Job 1), but he will always limit the attack as well as bring the end results out for my good. This is not always easy to understand that’s why Paul refers to this breastplate as one of “faith and love.” As we grow to trust in God’s love and grow in our conviction of God’s love and care for us, we will find true courage in all trials and problems (i.e., attacks) of life. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends…” (John 15:13-14).