Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Faithful Warriors! #3. The Body Armor of God's Righteousness

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

…and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  Ephesians 6:14b (NLT)

In His sermon on the Mount of Olives Jesus said we would be blessed; we would be happy to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  He said we should seek the righteousness of the Kingdom of God first, and worry about material things later. 

What is this righteousness we’re supposed to seek?  It’s certainly not self-righteousness; that even sounds bad.

The word “righteous” comes from a basic verb which means to show.  In a religious sense or application it means to stand before God with your heart open and on display.  There is nothing hidden; your heart is on display so God can inspect you. 

Is that a comfortable idea? 

Each of us has at least a few things in our life that, if it were known by our neighbors, friends or family (especially our church family), we would die of shame. 

How do I know that? 

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a human heart.  God knows that the flesh lives inside us all.  And when we stand before Him there is nothing hidden.  At all!

Most of us know this to be true from experience – and the rest of us could guess from sheer human intuition – that it is not a wonderful prospect to stand before a righteous and holy God without some super-asbestos holy shield to protect us from judgment. 

The breastplate (or body armor) covers the vitals, the heart.  Having a breastplate of righteousness can only happen when your heart has been cleansed, when you’ve been forgiven of sin and made to stand righteous, openly on show for God. 

David prayed: 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you….
Psalms 139.23-24a(NLT)

When it's like that, beloved, Satan’s darts are way out of range. 

A fellow Christian once accused me of being uncaring and cold towards him and his family.  He then widened it to include the whole church (and probably the whole of Western civilization!).  I told him that I believed he was misunderstanding me, but that I would pray for God to help me understand. 

I did go to prayer, and while God affirmed to my heart that I really did care for and love this brother in Christ and his family, there were some other things in that area that needed my attention.  When I shared this with the brother, I could stand with the breastplate of righteousness.  I had stood honestly before God, and Satan could not use this rift of understanding to break that church apart. 

He tries to do that, you know. 

For You Today

Put on God’s body armor, the breastplate of righteousness; have a clean heart before God.

You chew on that out on that Rocky Road today…and have a joy-filled and blessed day!

[i] Title image:  © Jorge Royan /, via Wikimedia Commons

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