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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Armor of Love"

Date published: 11/07/2016
 
1 Thessalonians 5:8 “But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (NIV) 

   The breastplate is the armor that protects your chest in battle. Spiritually we most often think of the breastplate of righteousness. Christians who live wearing the breastplate of righteousness protect themselves from the attacks of sinful and hypocritical living. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul refers to faith and love as the breastplate. Living out your life by faith in Christ allows Him to fully envelop your life, so that He can cover and protect you. The introduction of love provides an interesting element into the breastplate God desires for you. Love provides the unique opportunity of being both offensive and defensive. Love has the power to protect your heart, while having the power to change others. Faith and righteousness will never be seen as clearly as the powerful force of love at work in the lives of others. 

   Philippians 1:9 shows how the power to love is dependent upon a heart that is being constantly touched and changed by God, “That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” (NIV) Without a deepening and transforming relationship with Christ, your flesh can quickly convert a struggle in your life to a display of anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, self-interest, and pride. Love, on the other hand, redefines the conflict. Love powerfully offers hope while unforgiveness creates distance and destruction. Love displays God’s character when you trust Him with the results. Trusting God not only allows the Holy Spirit to express His love through you, but it also allows God to sculpt a righteousness that points others to Him. The breastplate of righteousness, faith, and love is a powerful threesome, but love offers the greatest opportunity for transformation in you and others.  Love not only defends your hearts from that which destroys, but it can also change the heart of those who wish you ill-will. Allow God to put on you His breastplate of love each day, so that you can be used by God to love others to Him or into a deeper relationship with Christ. 

1 Timothy 1:14 “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help love transform the way you live: “Deeper With God” and “Transformation.” 

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