Prepare for Battle! Day 3 ~ Breastplate of Righteousness
Weekly Manna for Memory
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Additional verses if you’d like a memorization challenge 🙂 …
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Stand firm then…with the breastplate of righteousness in place.
Righteousness…it’s never been very popular to be righteous.
It’s much easier to go with the flow than stand and be righteous. Noah was righteous…not popular. Moses was righteous…and dealt with people grumbling against him constantly. Jesus was the most righteous and was crucified by the very people that had adored him a week earlier.
Righteous means to be in right standing with God.
We cannot be righteous enough to get to heaven on our own. We could never live up to the law and to God’s holiness on our own. But we can have a righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ by accepting the righteousness available through Jesus taking our sin from us through His death (2 Corinthians 5:21). In fact, in Isaiah, our attempts to be righteous on our own are called filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
We can only gain righteousness through Jesus.
However, God still loves people to be righteous, to live uprightly with justice (Psalm 11:7). He delights in righteousness (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
So how might that work into the daily life of us moms?
Well, consider how it eats away at us when we don’t live righteously… What happens when we start hiding things from our husbands or when we don’t ask forgiveness when we’ve been wrong or when we become bitter instead of forgiving our spouse, children or friends. What about when we give in to gossip or slander (damaging a persons reputation through saying something false). Ok, so we would never intentionally say something false, right?…what about slightly exaggerated though…to protect our own reputation…I know I’m sure guilty of that one!
Anyway, this isn’t about feeling guilty for all our short-comings! Far from it! If we have a breastplate of righteousness in place, it protects our heart. Living a life of integrity protects our heart from becoming bitter, hateful, proud, etc. If we live righteously, we have nothing to hide. Even if we mess up and make mistakes and hurt people around us, through the righteousness of Jesus, we can go to God and make it right with Him and then, by His strength, we can approach those we are in conflict with and patch up the relationships and move on.
It’s a victorious way to live.
God wants us to be upright because He knows that’s best for us and our relationship with Him (Psalm 11:7). That’s what protects us so that we can bear witness to His faithfulness and the wisdom of His laws.
Choosing to put on our breastplate of righteousness protects us from the devil’s attempts to get at our heart. When we are in agreement with how God would have us live, we have fewer weak areas that can be exploited.
Romans 3:21-31 and Romans 6:15-23 are clear that the righteousness we gain through faith in Christ does not negate our responsibility to live righteously. It only takes away our ability to boast that anything we do is in our own power. But through God’s power, we are still called to “uphold the law” and be “slaves to righteousness”.
Dear Jesus, I don’t know exactly what it means to be righteous. I know that you forgive us when we sin and repent. I know that you love me in spite of my sin and I know that you have become my righteousness so that I can approach God the Father in prayer. So, Jesus, please show me what the protection of righteousness needs to look like in my life. What steps do I need to take to protect my heart from the results of sin and living in disobedience to You? I pray that You would, today, show me ways in which to live rightly in relation to my husband…to my children…to my friends…to my colleagues….and most of all, in relation to You. Thank You for knowing what is best for me and not letting me get away with second best even if it would be easier. Amen.
Meal of Manna
The Bible has to be our compass of right living. There are many ideologies in this world that would steal our protection, but God has designed us to live within the guidelines that He sets out for us in His living Word. Only in this way can we protect our vital organs and, especially, our hearts.
Take some time to ask God how He might be nudging you to live more uprightly in different areas of your life. How can you obey Him in your relationship with your husband? In your treatment of your children? In your response and thoughts towards your friends and acquaintances?
If the Holy Spirit doesn’t bring anything to mind, read some of the passages below and ask yourself if any of God’s commands or suggestions for right living apply to you today:
- Matthew 5-7
- Romans 12
- 1 Corinthians 13
- Galatians 5:16-26
- Ephesians 4:17-5:33
- Titus 2:1-5
I realize these are some convicting passages. I can highlight many things to work on for myself. But as we seek to live righteously, let’s remember that we have a forgiving, loving and merciful God. He is not seeking to condemn us but rather to bring us into step with the Holy Spirit so that we can live a life of power, glorifying Him (Romans 8:1-17). He is so faithful and he is so gracious. We come to seek His best for our lives and those we impact.
Take-Away for Today
List, on sticky notes, 3 areas in which God has been nudging you to live more righteously. Be specific in what steps you need to take in each area. Post these action plans somewhere you can see it regularly throughout the day.
For example, if patience with your children is one of your areas, you might write, “When getting upset with kids, take deep breath and pray before saying anything.” Or if submission to your husband is a tough one for you, you might write, “Lord, help me have a loving and submissive heart towards [husband’s name]” or “Discuss weekend plans and go with whatever [husband] suggests”. If gossip or slander is a struggle, perhaps you can posts the names of those you tend to talk about and pray blessings on them throughout your day or post positive attributes they possess to build your love for them or even take steps to physically affirm them in some way today.
And then do it 🙂 ! Protect that precious heart of yours and live with nothing to hide! It will be so freeing. God’s way truly is the best way to live!