REFLECTIONS #134: WHAT ARE YOU WEARING TODAY? PART THREE: THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS




BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS




BELT OF TRUTH





“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” Ephesians 6:14


Roman soldiers put on their belts first, because the rest of their armor hooked on to it. So it wasn’t a narrow or flimsy belt. It was wide, somewhat like a weightlifter’s belt. It was sturdy, solid, in good repair, and it had hooks upon which the rest of the armor could be fastened. It could support what was attached to it, and it offered support for the back.


Likewise, the Christian must put on the belt of truth first; everything else attaches to it. It must be strong and sturdy, for it helps to strengthen and protect our “spiritual backbone.” If our belt is incomplete or for decoration rather than battle, it will not hold the rest of our armor together. That is very dangerous in battle!


The second piece of armor the soldier put on, and likewise, Paul tells us to put on, is the breastplate. The Roman military breastplate was made of chain mail or bronze because it was to protect the soldier’s vital organs: heart, lungs, and stomach.


Just as the soldier needed both the belt and the breastplate joined together to protect him, the Christian must be clothed in both truth and righteousness. You cannot have one without the other. If you say you have truth, but you do not have the righteousness of Christ in your life, you do not have the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Some may say, “Well, it’s my choice, my truth.”


But Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.


In other words, there is no truth but that truth found in Jesus, because He IS the truth. So you can have “your truth," but the Creator of all that is, including you, says truth apart from Jesus is a lie, unrighteousness, and sin. And we have all sinned.


“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23, ESV


“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23 ESV.


If you say you have righteousness, but not the truth of the Gospel, you have the righteousness of man, not of God; and God says that kind of righteousness is to Him as “filthy rags.”


"But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;" Isaiah 64:6.


Today it is popular to do what is right in your own eyes, even when directly contrary to God’s Word and His principles. We try to justify it, with, “Well, that’s just what I believe.” Again, you may be very sincere in your beliefs, but if your beliefs are not based on the truth, the Word of God, your beliefs are built on lies, and lies are from the father of lies, satan. (See John 8:44). That’s why we have an epidemic of people calling “evil good and good evil.” (See Isaiah 5:20.) It sounds nice to call abortion a “woman’s choice;” when it actually is ripping an unborn baby out of the womb. It is the shedding of the most innocent blood there is apart from the blood that Jesus shed for us.


“And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;And the land was polluted with blood” Psalm 106:38.


“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” Proverbs 6:16-19.


There are a lot of things in the verse above from Proverbs that should cause all of us to do a self-check: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, shedding innocent blood, a heart that creates wicked plans, embracing evil, bearing false witness and lying, sowing discord among brothers—these are things the LORD GOD hates! And there is an awful lot of it going around!


We do not have any righteousness in ourselves. Zero. Nada. None. Remember, God calls our righteousness filthy rags. It doesn’t matter how compassionate you say you are or how many good deeds you do; without Jesus, God says, they are “filthy rags.”

SO WE ALL NEED THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. WHAT IS IT? WHERE CAN WE GET IT?


As we saw above, the only righteousness God recognizes is the righteousness of Jesus, so the only place we can get righteousness is from Jesus.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7.


“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:21.


We get righteousness by acknowledging that we are sinners and we need forgiveness. We acknowledge that Jesus died for us and for our sins. He took our sins upon Himself on the Cross, and gave us His righteousness. We ask Him to forgive us, and we receive what He did for us, and we give our lives to Him. In exchange, we are forgiven, we are adopted into God’s family, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Jesus imputes His righteousness to us, and we are made more than conquerors through Him. (See Romans 5:12-21; 6:1-14; 8:37-39; Luke 10:19.)


That is the truth of the Gospel. That constitutes our belt of truth, which will hold our breastplate of righteousness in place. It is the righteousness of JESUS, that He clothes us with, that makes up our breastplate. It is not our righteousness that makes us acceptable, it is HIS righteousness. As the Roman breastplate protected the soldier’s physical heart, lungs, and stomach, our breastplate of righteousness protects our spiritual heart, breath, and what we are willing to “stomach.”


WHAT DOES THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS PROTECT US FROM?


Satan is the accuser of the brethren. (See Revelation 12:10). He accuses us before God, he accuses us before one another, and he even accuses us to ourselves! We see satan standing before God accusing Job of serving God only for what he can get out of Him.

“Then satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions and increased the land” (Job 1:9-10 ESV).

God knew Job’s heart, and He allowed satan to test him severely.


One by one God’s blessings were stripped from Job, but he remained true to God. Job’s friends accused him of having committed some sin that brought all of the calamity upon him. Although Job’s friends meant well, but they were listening to the voice of the accuser of the brethren rather than to the voice of the Spirit; and, in the end, God rebuked those friends and told them they would be spared his wrath only because He was going to have Job pray for them. And after Job prayed for those friends who joined the voice of the accuser, God restored Job’s losses, giving him twice as much as he had before the calamities came upon him. (See Job 42:7-17)


Being wrongly accused by the brethren is deeply hurtful and is the cause of many church splits and people leaving the church altogether. And it grieves the heart of God.


“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1


“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” John 17:20-21.


But, perhaps, satan’s most devious and devastating use of accusation is when he uses it so that we accuse ourselves. Who among us had not heard that voice in our heads telling us we are not worthy enough for God to love us or use us? How many times do we hear that voice reminding us of our past sins that tries to keep us bound in shame and condemnation so that we disqualify ourselves from being productive for the Kingdom of God? Who do you think you are? You’re a nobody! You’re worse than a nobody! God couldn’t possibly work through you!


If we don’t have on that belt of truth to hold up our breastplate of righteousness, we give up in despair. We find ourselves in agreement with the accuser instead of with Jesus. We say, Yes, I’ve done terrible, awful things, things God could never forgive me for. But that isn’t the truth! The truth is if we have received Jesus, we are forgiven, and those sins have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb. The truth is when God looks at us, He sees us clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, and He is well-pleased. There is no sin God cannot and will not forgive except the sin against the Holy Ghost. And I’ve heard it said that if you are worried you have committed it, that’s a good sign you haven’t. It’s simply an accusation satan uses to keep you from serving God.


Have you persecuted believers? So did Saul. God forgave him, and made him Paul, a mighty man of God.

Have you committed adultery? So did David. God forgave him, and David’s throne is forever through Jesus Christ.


Have you committed murder? So did David and Paul. They were forgiven; their sins were blotted out, and God called David a man after His own heart and He revealed His mysteries to Paul and inspired him to write 2/3 of the New Testament.


The Bible is full of people with checkered pasts that God forgave, redeemed, and used mightily in the work of His Kingdom. And He still uses such people, because the truth is, we are all such people! “There is none righteous, no, not one” Romans 3:10.


Abortion, promiscuity, sexual perversion, lying, scheming, pride, haughty looks, whatever your particular sin is, Jesus has already died for it and offers you forgiveness. He offers to make you a brand new creation, a child of God, holy and acceptable unto Him by imputing to you His righteousness. That’s the truth. That’s part of your belt that holds your breastplate of righteousness in place.


So when the voice of the accuser comes, whether it comes from a brother or sister or from yourself, touch your breastplate of righteousness and remember you are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus! As a believer, your sins are washed away! Guilt and shame are washed away! Since we are being continuously sanctified, we still commit sins. Repent for them, turn from them, and let them be washed by the blood of Jesus. We are in a process of transformation by the renewing of our mind. So we still mess up from time to time. But genuine repentance brings forgiveness and we are back on track, and the devil has nothing but lies to accuse us with!


PUT ON YOUR BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


The truth is we need to wear our armor 24-7, because our enemy is stalking us 24-7; so it’s a good idea to remind ourselves to keep our armor on and to check daily to see if we are wearing it or if some part of it has come loose, leaving us vulnerable to attack. In the mornings, after checking your belt of truth, make sure your breastplate of righteousness is securely attached to it.


Remind yourself of the truth:


· I am saved, I am forgiven, I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

· I’m a child of God and a joint-heir with Jesus!

· Jesus has given me His righteousness, and I put it on right now; and when God looks at me, that’s what He sees, the righteousness of Jesus!

· I’m prayed up, repented up, and wrapped up in the love and righteousness of God, and just as satan had nothing in Jesus, he has nothing in me! (See John 14:30-31.)

· I am secure and confident in the blood of the Lamb and His righteousness, and He has given me authority today to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt me! (See Luke 10:19).

· I reject all accusations from the enemy that I am unworthy, inferior, and unable!

· I am who God says I am! I have what God says I have! And I can do what God says I can do!

· Belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness secure, in Jesus’ name!


Wear them well!


Love, Hugs, and Blessings,

Syandra

His will, His way, whatever the cost!


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