~By Sharon Czerwien
I recently taught a group of homeschool students how certain professions need access to bullet proof vests. These tactical vests offer great protection to those working in dangerous fields.
Though I am not a police officer (and would never survive the military's basic training!), I still felt that I could use this bullet proof analogy to teach the children about the need for the spiritual armor of God to help them defeat spiritual temptations (see Ephesians 6:10-17).
The particular vest I showed the students was green. I told the children that the green vest itself was not protective. The incredibly important parts were the tactical plates that could be placed INSIDE of the green vest’s material.
I was not even planning on saying those words to the students, but as soon as I did, I was immediately convicted about the spiritual analogy/implications of the statement.
Where is the protective value???
The protective value of a bullet proof vest is found in those armored plates! Wearing the vest without the “core plates” would be pointless in a gun fight.
The armored plates are the heart of each vest’s importance!
The same goes for us. Our center of importance is our heart (and I don't mean the physical one)!
The Bible’s Take on the Heart
Two main Hebrew words for the Old Testament use of heart are leb and lebab. Leb deals with the will and intellect and is the center of everything in our lives. 
Lebab carries ideas such as: midst, mind, will, thinking, seat of appetites. 
I like to explain this concept of the heart to my children by saying our heart is what drives us to make our choices.
I am no Hebrew scholar, but I do love my electronic Thomas Nelson Study Bible with a Strong’s Concordance. This allows me to see the uses of heart found throughout the Old Testament.
Here are a few uses of leb and lebab in the Old Testament:
1. We are to guard our heart! (Proverbs 4:23) Leb
If our heart drives our choices, we must guard what we put in it and what we desire! (More to be said on the how later!)
2. Unfortunately, our heart can be hardened and refuse to do that which is right! (Exodus 8:32; 9:7, and others) Leb
Pharoah’s heart was hardened during the times of the Egyptian plagues in Exodus. As a result, he flat-out refused to obey God. He sure experienced consequences, too!
3. We are to love God with our heart! (Deuteronomy 6:5) Lebab
Imagine if we consistently made it our goal to please God in the midst of our thoughts and choices! (We would have more peace for sure!)
4. Our heart can be deceived! (Deuteronomy 11:16) Lebab
There is a warning to be careful because a person’s heart is prone to turn aside and worship wrong things.
The Big Takeaway
Let’s now consider the heart of the matter!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” (Colossians 3:16a, NKJV).
Wow! Here is the takeaway:
1. Our heart can cause trouble. Yet...
2. We are to love God with our whole heart.
3. We are told to guard our heart.
4. Uh-oh…but our heart can cause trouble! Therefore...
5. Fill our heart with God’s Truth—with His Word—the Bible.
6. Don’t stop there!
7. Re-read Colossians 3:16a
8. Fill our heart with God’s Word…
9. …While making God’s Word be at home in our heart.
The term “dwell” in Colossians 3:16 means to make God’s Word be at home in our heart. This idea is the path to spiritual victory and what will help us guard our heart from wrong impulses and desires.
With any recurring temptations we have, we have the opportunity to welcome God’s Word into the seat of our emotions, thoughts, actions, and will. This is how we can stay spiritually protected!
Back to the Bullet Proof Vest
Remember that the bullet proof vest ONLY has protective value if the “right stuff” is placed inside. Specifically-made armored plates are of great necessity.
Our spiritual protective value is found in what we place inside of us...at the heart level. What do we value? Placing God’s Word in our heart—and making it greatly at home—is of the upmost spiritual necessity.
 Thomas Nelson Study Bible with Strong's Concordance, electronic app for Android phones, leb.
 Thomas Nelson Study Bible with Strong's Concordance, electronic app for Android phones, lebab.