After God's Own Heart

It's Time For You To Take After God's Own Heart

The Breast Plates of Righteousness: Armor of God Series


"What is impossible among man [or humankind] is possible with God." –Luke 18:27.

It was a late night when I went to the corner store for a snack. I don't know how it came up, but the clerk brought up faith. He said something along the lines of, "If you like that, then you'd like this." He pointed to a stand of cakes, pies and other sweets. "Look at the top of the pie wrapper and tell me what you see," he said.

"It has a verse. Luke 18:27."

I left the store with my goods. I stopped at Pritchett Field on my way home. I remember feeling broody. I read the short Bible chapter as I walked around the track.

In Ephesians; Paul mentions the breastplates of righteousness as an item of the Armor of God. When we think about the breastplates, we might begin thinking about the chest and the heart that is hidden underneath it. What makes this breastplate, or heart, righteous or justified?

There are about six parables in Luke 18, but we'll only cover three today. The prevailing message of Luke 18 is that one ought to seek and show faith: "Always pray and [do] not give up" (Luke 18:1). Prayer is the outpour of a person's mind and heart. It is the utterance of the soul. For someone to have a righteous heart, they have to honestly seek Christ, as well as be humble, and be vulnerable in prayer.

1. Praying All The Day Long

In the Parable of the Persistent Widow, Christ wants to see one's faith. He tells his disciples to pray all the day long and to never give up.

He then tells a story of a widow seeking justice from an unjust judge: "Grant me justice against my adversary" (Luke 18:3). The judge finally gets to the point where he wants to give in to the widow's request, but for the wrong reasons; he wants her to stop pestering him. He doesn't really care. The parable is supposed to offer a counter to worldly justice, and how sometimes it is not gained.

In just the mention of a corrupt judge and God, the ultimate judge between life and death, there is a foil being set up. God cares about what one's prayers, especially if it is anxiety-inducing to the point that one can't stop asking for help and praying about their concern to be answered day after day after day. The act of casting one's worry and concern onto the Lord is an act of vulnerability, transparency, and honesty. Crying out to God in prayer is the breastplates of righteousness.

Comparatives to the worldly judge, God will give justice. Christ says, "I tell you, He [God] will see that they [the suffering] get justice, and quickly" (Luke 8). Don't you love how the verse says God will come to you QUICKLY. Not tomorrow, not 6 months from now, but immediately. That's not to say He will answer your prayer right on the spot, but it is to say that He will never forsake you.

The parable ends with Christ wondering if anyone will have faith when he returns. Will you have faith that God will be quick to your side to listen and to act in your favor?

2. Humility in Prayer

The second parable is my favorite because it shows how salvation is impossible without God. Here's how it goes: A Pharisee, (high-status believer) and a tax collector (considered a low station in life) both pray at the temple. The parable reveals what sort of spirit one ought to strive to have while praying: humility, honesty, and vulnerability.

Who do you think prays more "righteously?"

The Pharisee comes to the altar with a proud heart. He might thank God, but he forgets that he needs God in his life: "God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evil-doers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector (Luke 18: 11)." The Pharisee even lists off all the amazing things he has done: "I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." It seems the Pharisee doesn't even need God. He has it all worked out. He does religious acts that are kind, such as tithes, but where is his heart?

It might be looking good for the sake of reputation and feeling good.

Meanwhile, there's the lowly tax collector, who, when he prayed, "would not even look up to heaven, but [he] beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." The tax collector was humble enough to admit he wasn't perfect, and that he could never fulfill the law. He could admit that he needed God to make up for what he lacked.

The reason the parable of the tax collector is one of my favorites is that God favored someone society would never favor. And why? Because the tax collector bared his heart to God in honest, vulnerable prayer. This is an example of how prayer can be one's breastplates of righteousness.

Christ ends this parable by mentioning that the tax collector, not the Pharisee, "went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" (Luke 18:14).

3. Don't Sell Out

Our key verse comes from the Prodigal Son's parable. In this story, Christ mentions a young man who seeks the Good Teacher's advice on how to gain eternal life. The response is not straightforward. Christ, almost seems to brush the young man off by reminding him of the cookie cutter answer to ask oneself: Have you kept the law?

In the Old Testament, you either kept the law or you were a sinner. The catch is, the law is impossible to keep because no one is perfect. This means the question is a test to see how the young man will respond. Will the young man be like the perfect and proud Pharisee or the humble tax collector in the last parable?

The young man's response is this: "All these [laws] I have kept since I was a boy." (Luke 18:21).

Pharisee it is.

Christ's response?

He reads the man's heart and finds that greed is ruling it: "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Luke 18: 22)."

The young man was sad because he was wealthy.

The young man's earnest conversation with Christ shows how one can sincerely seek God, only to find that they have to walk away from their old ways (not all at once) and that they still have work to do on themselves before having a heart that is more deeply invested in God.

In the young man's case, it's suggestive that the young man's heart was a slave to greed (the old life) rather than a servant to Christ (the new life). He's an example of how the breastplates of righteousness/praying/talking to Christ can protect oneself.

Once the young man is able to walk away from his old ways, he will be rewarded for it. Christ explains that no one who has sacrificed something for the kingdom of God will fail to reap rewards in the kingdom of heaven (Luke 18: 29). The young man's loss would be a gain.

Overall, the breastplates of righteousness are a metaphor for seeking God, maintaining faith, and protecting one's heart through prayer. As one prays, they might give the concerns they have to God, to find that He is quickly by their side and ready to show favor and to offer justice to them. When one prays with humility, they ought to be humble like the tax collector.

And, even when one is proud and in denial about not being perfect like the prodigal son, Christ will guide them, so that they might be closer to Him. When we pray with a humble, transparent heart, we are called justified by God. We are offered a new life. While redemption may seem impossible, it is, with God. All it takes is a sincere heart.

Thank you for reading the last segment of the Armor of God Series.

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!

I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!

1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"

A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.

Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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What A Blessing It Is To Have Been Loved By A Grandpa Like You

No one could ever replace your contagious giggle and radiating love.


To my newest angel in heaven...

Grandpa Norb, I just wanted to write to you to let you know how great it is to be loved by a grandpa like you. With 4 children, 4 children in-law, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, we all know in our different ways your love for us. While you are no longer here, I am certain that you will always be watching over us and in our hearts.

Knowing you for 20 years, I can't imagine feeling more loved. Every holiday gathering started with you wishing a Merry Christmas, no matter the actual holiday. You always welcomed with a hug, and said goodbye with open arms, a kiss on the cheek and a whispered reminder that I am always in your prayers. Even with you no longer with us, I know you'll be watching over and praying for me as I carry on my steps in life.

Like a sunflower, you were always bright and smiling when I saw you. You showed your excitement when I walked in the room and made me feel lucky to be around you and overjoyed to know you just through your smile. You were the patriarch of our wonderful family standing tall and showering us with radiating love and goofiness.

Among us all, you loved Grandma with your whole heart and were married for 68 beautiful years. Watching her say goodbye has been one of the hardest things to see, but completely overpowering, the love you had for each other. As long as I knew you, I don't think I ever saw the two of you apart. The unconditional love that you had and always will feel for each other is one that I envy to have in my own relationships.

As almost two weeks have passed since God brought you to him, this is my goodbye to you. I will never forget the last good day I spent with you and Grandma together. I will think of you when I see yellow sunflowers standing tall and bright, and during thunderstorms as if it is you Grandpa Ray bowling together up in heaven.

I feel incredibly lucky to know you and have been loved by you for 20 of your 94 years, and I will always miss you.



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