Sunday, July 10, 2011

31 Days of Victory:{Day 10} Breastplate of Righteousness

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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place… Ephesians 6: 13:14

Our youth ministry recently took a group of Jr. and Sr. High students to Acquire the Fire {a Christian youth conference} here in Nashville. The kids were so excited about the weekend as we all piled into the rented 18 passenger vans. When we pulled up to the large arena, signs of picketers immediately caught our attention. They read things like, “GOD KILLS” and “ACQUIRE THE FIRE LEADS TO HELL.”

I couldn’t help but feel drawn to one of the young ladies holding a sign. She looked like she was in her early twenties. As soon as we parked I went to her and introduced myself. Her and I chatted a number of times throughout the weekend and she shared her idea that all churches are going to hell accept hers. The Lord used that to really challenge and convict me. I realized the importance of knowing why I believe what I believe. Furthermore, I need to be prepared to share the hope I profess with love, truth and grace at any given moment.

At one point this young woman told me that God hates me. It crushed my heart to hear those words of death. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t true, but the simple sound of those words greatly grieved me. She went on to explain her belief that God hates the unrighteous. She looked me square in the face and said, “Are you righteous?”

I hesitated, knowing that no one is righteous, not even one. And I humbly replied, “No.” She smirked as if she had just put me in my place. I didn’t have a response. There was no clever come back to her accusations. Her question stayed on my mind for days as I prayed for her {even though she asked me not to, because she believed my "unrighteous" prayers are an abomination to God}. I wrestled so much over my conversations with her. 

Then God spoke. Not in an audible voice. But through His word that brings life and often answers some of my toughest questions. He brought me to 2 Corinthians 5:21…

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Wow. What grace!

I had to read that over and over before it actually sank in. I was missing a huge piece of the gospel. Jesus became sin so that I might become righteous. What’s more, I didn’t have to know that truth in order for it to be true. It was in full effect the moment I received salvation. The righteousness of Christ was already covering me that day at Acquire the Fire. I looked back on it and joyously thought to myself, “Wow. I was wrong! I have become righteous!!” Of course, I wish I could have shared that hope with her. But truth is, I think God used that young woman as an instrument to lead me to a greater understanding of the gospel.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10

The breastplate in Roman armor served as a protection for the heart and was anchored to the belt. As believers, we cannot put on the breastplate of righteousness unless we first put on our belt of truth. 

How do we put on righteousness? Through faith in God—not just believing He exists, but believing what He says.

“So also, Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” Galatians 3:6

“And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:9

What are the benefits of putting on the breastplate by pursuing righteousness?

1. The Lord delivers the righteous from their troubles. [Psalm 34:19]

2. God is the stronghold of the righteous when they are in trouble [Psalm 37:39]

3. There is life in the way of righteousness. There is immortality along that path. [Proverbs 12:28]

4. Righteousness guards the person of integrity. [Proverbs 13:6]

5. Whoever pursues righteousness finds life, prosperity and honor. [Proverbs 21:21]

6. The fruit of God's righteousness will be peace, quietness and confidence forever. [Isaiah 32:17]

Now that's one incredible piece of armor! What a gift from God. Are you seeing how He has already given us what we need to be victorious? And we're only on the second piece of armor so far! What hope God has offered to us. I'm so thankful that He has credited righteousness to us through faith because of His great love for us. {This isn't to be confused with a prideful, self-righeousness. God's gift of righteousness should compel us to love Him deeper as we walk humbly with Him in gratitude.} Once we're adopted into the family of Christ, we are forgiven. Here's an easy way to remember that: "I have been justified... Just-as-if-I'd never sinned!" Try using that to break the face of condemnation in the midst of spiritual warfare!

Now that you have your belt of truth and your breastplate of righteousness securely in place, come back tomorrow so we can keep getting fitted for battle. 


Monique Zackery

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  1. Excellent post. How sad that the girl who was speaking is so deceived and misled. How people misinterpret the Bible so severely is beyond me. Thankful you found it as a way to seek Scripture's truth. She just helped you shine up your armor and tighten your belt :)

  2. Such powerful post! - remember God's word is never returned void. I pray that God will reveal his grace and love to her.

  3. When I think of how unrighteous I can be in my actions and thoughts, it's such an encouragement to be reminded that I am the righteousness of God. Amen, Monique!


"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." - Proverbs 16:24