Friday, October 14, 2016

End Your Week Well: Gear Up - Breastplate of Righteousness

Today marks the second in a six-part series I am doing on Friday about the armor of God. Last week I covered the belt of truth ... how surrounding ourselves with the truth holds everything else together.

What is a breastplate? We actually had a part of our band uniforms when I was in high school called the breastplate. I don't know that it would do much, defensively. It was about a 2x4 inch square piece of metal that slid onto a belt/suspender thing over your chest. Lets face it - part of the reason I tried out for the flag corps was that I hated that uniform.

Nobody has the breastplate on here ... photo courtesy of my friend Carla Eastepp Ellison
But we weren't gearing up to be attacked even if we were a military style marching band. So I invite you to think of a breastplate more like Kevlar. You know, the bulletproof vests most police, and some EMS, wear.

They are made to thwart attack. They are made to stop not only an arrow, a deadly bullet. I have meticulously extracted an expanded Talon hollow point projectile from the strands Kevlar in the vest of a sheriff's deputy. These vests, these breastplates, save lives. They are amazing. I imagine the officer had quite the bruise ... but he lived. That bullet was meant to kill him and it was stopped in its tracks.

How does righteousness protect us? And how do we wear it?

"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me" 
- Job 29:14a

"I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,My soul will exult in my God;For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness
- Isaiah 61:10a

"in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing
- 2 Timothy 4:8 
Throughout the Bible righteousness is described as something we put on, or which is put on us. We ourselves are not righteous. Let me say that again. You cannot achieve righteousness. You can't buy it ... it isn't some talisman you wear on a necklace or carry in your pocket to protect you.

Through His death on the cross Jesus made it possible for us to be covered in righteousness.

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 
- 2 Corinthians 4:21
But righteousness is God's alone. We accept the covering, the protection, of His righteousness when we choose to obey. Much like an officer ... we have to choose obedience every morning and accept His righteousness before we can wear it. It isn't a hard shell God encases us in when we accept salvation like some kind of spiritual turtle. We have to choose righteousness every day.

"Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness" 
- 2 Timothy 2:22a
And what does that protect us from? The consequences of sin - of disobedience. If we are open to those screaming bullets the enemy has launched at us ... our ministries fail, our families fall apart, our prayers are but echoes in our rooms, and everything we do that is unrighteous comes with a price.

"But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear." 
- Isaiah 59:2

"There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation;There is no health in my bones because of my sin." 
- Psalm 38:3
 God didn't give us His laws and ask us to obey them to show He is hot stuff. Do you not understand He isn't like us? He doesn't have ego. He created us and the world we live in. He made the laws, and asked us to show Him love by obeying them, because He who made everything knows how life works best. The laws are there to protect you. YES we live in a fallen world and bad things still happen ... the enemy is yet roaming about. However, when you put on righteousness like Kevlar to avoid the consequences of catching fire ... you aren't left standing, yet again, on a battleground in a bathrobe.

The bullets will still hurt ... but they can no longer claim your eternal life.

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