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The Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness



Welcome back to the second post in this seven part series about the armor of God, where we break down each individual piece of armor that the Lord has equipped us with and how we can practically use that in our daily life. Last time, we talked about the belt of truth, which you can read about here. I truly learned so much, and I'd definitely recommend you taking a minute to read that post before continuing here.


The breastplate was an essential piece of armor to any soldier because it protected the soldier's most vital organs: their heart, lungs, and other vital organs. If a soldier were to take a hit in that area without their breastplate, it would be absolutely fatal.


In the same way, if we, as believers, don't carefully put on the breastplate of righteousness, it could be fatal.


But, what even is righteousness, anyways?


Many dictionaries define righteousness as "behavior that is morally justifiable or right.” In the Bible, righteousness is living up to God's standard - a standard of perfection. GotQuestions describes righteousness as follows:


"The Greek New Testament word for “righteousness” primarily describes conduct in relation to others, especially with regards to the rights of others in business, in legal matters, and beginning with relationship to God. It is contrasted with wickedness, the conduct of the one who, out of gross self-centeredness, neither reveres God nor respects man. The Bible describes the righteous person as just or right, holding to God and trusting in Him."


Perhaps, in simpler terms, righteousness is living according to the way God intended it.


Righteousness is resisting sin and instead reflecting the character of Christ and obeying His commands.


Righteousness is living in right relationship with the Father and right relationship with those around us.


While we are incapable of achieving perfection, every single day, we have the decision to choose obedience and godliness, and deny sin and fleshly desires. Every single day, we must put on the breastplate of righteousness by refusing the temptations that the devil puts under our nose and confidently walking in the calling that the Lord has covered us in.


And every time we choose God's way over the devil's way, every time we choose holiness over worldliness, every time we choose obedience over rebellion, we are putting on the righteousness and the righteous identity that the Lord so strongly fought for.


This is what we must do. This is what we must be intentional about, because the minute our breastplate falls, our most vital organs and weakest spots are vulnerable to attack and to sin. The minute our breastplate falls, we will be much more susceptible to temptation and falling back into sinful, worldly habits. The cycle of sin is a dangerous one, and once we fall in, it can be hard to get out, and the longer we stay in it, the farther and farther we drift from God. The further we are from God, the weaker we become.


Again, I know that we will never be perfect. Every day, I fail and fall into sin. Every single day. And with the state of humanity, I'm surely not alone.


But the good news of the Gospel is that we no longer have to meet the standard of perfection because Christ met us where we're at in our mess. He bore the weight of our sin and failures so that we don't have to bear that weight anymore. We don't have to strive anymore because there is grace. Paul says in Galatians that if we could have attained righteousness by the law, then there would have been no need for the cross, and Christ was a fool for dying the way He did (Galatians 2:21).


So, I believe that putting on this breastplate of righteousness also requires an attitude of repentance. When we fail and fall into temptation and choose sin and the worldly way, we have to pick ourselves back up and adjust the breastplate of righteousness by falling to our knees in humility, asking the Father to forgive us and cover us with the grace bought with His blood. We have to return to the feet of Jesus and in His name declare to the devil that our sin and our mistake no longer defines us, and we will no longer remain in it, for Jesus renamed us and blessed us with a new identity that includes forgiven, redeemed, holy, and righteous.


To wear the breastplate of righteousness correctly and effectively, we must first stand firm against the temptations and sin that we are surrounded by every day, but we must also adopt an attitude of repentance and humility when we fail, asking Jesus to put on our breastplate once again, forgive us for the ways we have failed, and thanking Him for His grace in our mess.


As I did in the previous post in this series, I created a visual with instruction and encouragement on how we can practically apply this breastplate of righteousness every single day. Feel free to screenshot or download it, but I'd really challenge you to choose at least one way that you can put into practice today, and every day after. I've addressed how important this breastplate of righteousness is, and so we must be intentional about wearing it each and every day.



 

I don't know about you, but I am loving this series and I am so grateful for what the Lord has been teaching me. In my Bible, on the page Ephesians 6 is on, I have a folded piece of paper with brief explanations of each piece of the armor of God (probably made by 10 or 11 year old me), and I've looked back on that over the years, but created this tool and resource to deepen my understanding of the armor has been such a blessing.


What application point of the breastplate of righteousness are you going to work on implementing today? Did you learn something new through this post? Let me know down in the comments below!

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