Wanderlust: It Starts in the Stomach

Wanderlust by definition is the intense longing to travel. For the last 3 weeks, we’ve talked about the breastplate of righteousness and why it’s so important to wear it. It protects the innermost parts.
The Stomach–seat of appetites
What is appetite?
According to Webster, it’s an intense craving. A few synonyms are: hunger, greed, desire and yearning.
It’s imperative that we put on the breastplate of righteousness (Christ’s righteousness) to protect our stomach and the appetites it craves.
When we think of lust, our brains immediately bee-line to sex. And yes, sex and lust can go hand in hand, but there are so many other things that we lust after. It’s not the same for everyone.
Donna Pyle, in her Bible study–Your Strong Suit–says, the enemy knows our weaknesses. He can’t read our minds but he studies our behavior. That’s deep, people. And true.
For some of us, our lusts come in the form of food, material goods, shopping, keeping up with the Jones’, vehicles, electronic toys, attention, beauty, the need to be wanted, power and authority–yes, even in ministry, competition–to be a better mom than so and so, or baker, teacher, writer, speaker, etc…
I guarantee you there’s something you lust for, and if you do not protect your innermost part–your seat of appetites, you will wander.
And you will travel to places you need not go. Dangerous places.
The big question: How do we put on the breastplate and protect ourselves? 
We put on, by putting off, first.
Before we ever get to Ephesians 6: 10-18, the armor of God passage, we have to travel through some other important verses. These former verses teach us how to accomplish Ephesians 6:1-18.
“But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. ” Ephesians 4:21-24 MSG (emphasis mine)
In the NKJV, it says, “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…”
Great! We know what we have to put off. But it has to be conscious. You don’t just wake up and go about your day without purposefully praying and asking God for strength to help you be the new creature in Christ.
You’ll fail if you don’t consciously put off and put on. I promise you. You will. I’m living proof.
“Therefore, remember that at one time you were Gentiles (heathens) in the flesh, called Uncircumcision by those who called themselves Circumcision, [itself a [a]mere mark] in the flesh made by human hands.
    [Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God’s agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God.
    But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near.” Ephesians 2:11-13 AMP (emphasis mine)
The key word: Remember
We wear invisible protective covering, but the enemy sees it clearly. In the color of crimson.
Remember you no longer walk as a child of darkness, but of light. (Eph. 5:8)
Remember you do not have to satisfy the wanderlust that urges you to travel places unbecoming a bride of Christ.
Remember you are protected. You have strength. You have covering.
Great verses to help you understand what is becoming and what is not can be found in Ephesians4:25-32 and chapter 5.
Our innermost parts are so close together, we have to be cautious. One dart pierces our heart and we become emotional, another punctures our lung and we cease praise, and the stomach stirs us up to listen to fickle emotions, ignore who we serve and go places that beckon to rob us of joy, peace, and true abundant living.
We must nail down those lusts every day. Galatians 5:24-25
“But it’s hard! I’m not seeing any benefits. I struggle! In fact, at this very moment my life is total mess. Complete disarray.”
Sweet one, you’ve been pierced in the seat of your emotions when you cry these things. And we all have. Be of good cheer, someone has fought for you!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 (FACT)
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7 (FACT)
Gear up, friends. In a world of “no you can’ts” The Holy One covers you with a shield made from His beauty, His love, His righteous blood and He says…
“Yes, you can!”
Do you notice when you don’t consciously remember to put off and put on, you lose a battle that day? Care to share an encouraging word with readers? Could be a life lesson, a scripture etc…
Join me today as I host Living By Grace! I encourage you to pop over there and share a favorite scripture you use to battle the fiery darts of the enemy!

Protect Yourself

DH playing in the sand
with DD 10 years ago
…notice how she copies
his stance and moves?

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children…” Ephesians 5:1

If you have children, you’ve noticed them imitating you. This is where half of you smile and half of you groan. Jaws is one of my favorite movies. I love the scene where the little boy copies Brody (his father and really…do I need these () because everyone should know who Brody is b/c surely everyone has seen Jaws. Tell me you have. Please. For the love!) It’s a precious scene. Child mimicking father.
So what does this have to do with the Breastplate of Righteousness? I’m glad you asked.
“God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon—so much evil and no sign of Justice.
He couldn’t believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation.
So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness.
He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor…” Isaiah 59:15-19 MSG 
If God Himself dressed in righteousness, like armor, and then in Ephesians 6:14, tells us through Paul, to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and we know from Ephesians 5:1 to imitate…then I think it would be wise to figure out what it means and do it. It’s part of our Strong Suit.
I’m still working through Donna Pyle’s, Your Strong Suit, Bible study. This past week she talked about the Breastplate of Righteousness. She says, “Righteousness (Greek, dikaiosune) refers to the character or quality of being right or just..with Christ giving us His righteousness, our actions (as seen through our values of integrity, virtue, and uprightness) reflect God’s righteousness dwelling in us.”
“not a soul around to correct this awful situation.” “So He did it Himself.” 
The breastplate is a piece of armor that, as Donna says, “protects neck to navel”.
I read about several different kinds of Roman armor, all of which could have been worn during the time Paul was in prison–when he wrote to the Ephesians, using the armor of a Roman soldier as an example. I sure love analogies!
Listen to this:
The Lorica Squamata, which translates into “scale armor” was worn early on by important Roman soldiers. It was worn with a belt to help take off the heaviness of the metal breastplate.
Isn’t that what the belt of truth does for us? When we feel we have to be righteous on our own. Can we do enough good things? Act right all the time to earn God’s graces…the belt of truth takes that heaviness from our shoulders, revealing it is Christ in us that makes us righteous. There is nothing we can do on our own. That’s why the belt and the breastplate go hand in hand.
The belt of truth lifts the heaviness of self-righteousness. We wear Christ’s righteousness to protect our innermost parts.  So what are those innermost parts that need protecting from the fiery darts of the enemy?
The Heart
The Lungs
The Stomach
What do they represent spiritually?
The Seat of emotions
The Seat of praise
The seat of appetites
Next Wednesday we’ll begin picking apart each innermost part and talking about ways the unseen enemy tries to take us out by destroying them. If we are aware of his tactics, we can see him coming. We can plan for attacks. We can defend ourselves. With the Breastplate of Righteousness. Join me next week when we talk about the Heart–the seat of emotions.
Today I’m hosting at Living By Grace and I’d love for you to stop by and “like” the page and share some encouragement or join in the discussion with a community of believers who have the same goal as you do. To live a life pleasing to  God. 

Name one person in the Bible you would like to do an in-depth study on. If you use Jesus/God, be specific. Jesus and His compassion, as Teacher…God as the Father/Healer/Judge…etc.