The Breastplate of Righteousness
Righteousness is one of those “church” words that is often used but I’m guessing might be difficult for you to define. How would you define righteousness and why do we need a breastplate of it as part of our spiritual armor?
Scripture talks about righteousness in two general ways. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:17, For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ I like to think of this aspect of righteousness as right-relatedness. As a holy God, God cannot tolerate sin and as a human I am stuck in sin; so God, out of His love for me and because He wants a relationship with me, came to earth and lived the perfect life I cannot lead, died on Calvary and defeated sin, death and the devil in His resurrection so that my sin is not a stumbling block to our relationship. Because of Jesus I am rightly related to God.
The second aspect of righteousness is right-living. In response to the gift of being rightly related to God, I desire to live a pure life to the best of my ability. Paul as he instructs Timothy writes, Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, (2 Timothy 2:22). When we “do” righteousness we work to live on the outside what God has already done on the inside, the “being” aspect of righteousness.
The role of the breastplate in a suit of armor is to protect the vital organs, in particular to protect the heart. If your physical heart is not working, your physical life will be cut short. Likewise, if your spiritual heart is damaged the rest of your spiritual life will not work as it should- in fact you could die. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us, Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. As we are engaged in spiritual warfare (remember we wrestle against the powers and principalities of darkness) we need to protect our heart with front to back right-relatedness to God and front to back right-living so that we might live a victorious life. Got God’s armor on?
Pastor Sonja Dixon
Use these exercises to help you put on the breastplate of righteousness. In the next two weeks, consider each of the following Bible passages and the questions that follow:
Read Hosea 10:12
*As you consider the position and practice of righteousness, what does it look like for you (us) to sow righteousness and how does God shower righteousness on you (us)?
Read Psalm 1 and Psalm 23
*How does Psalm 1 bring clarification to the paths of righteousness that the familiar Psalm 23 (verse 3) describes? Paint a picture, either with words or through art, of the paths of righteousness.
Read Matthew 5:6 and Matthew 6:33
*What blessings fill the lives of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness?
*What things will be given to those who seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness?
“Worry never empties tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty it of its strength. Don’t let anyone rob you of your confidence in God. Know His word. Hold on to His hand. He will make your impossible mission possible and your life so much more than bearable.” Barbara Johnson
Read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Philippians 3:7-9
*What have we received because of Christ? What has Christ received in return? Spend time today in prayer thanking God specifically for the righteousness of Christ that has been given to you.
*What are you willing to lose to gain Christ and the protection His righteousness provides?
Read James 1:19-22 and 1 John 3:7-8
*The battle lines are drawn; there is the righteous life God desires and the sinful life Satan promotes. How have you seen the enemy of your soul lead you astray?
*What spiritual practices will you put in place to equip you for the Christian life?
Read Hebrews 11:1-19 and James 2:21-24
*Note as you read this list of Old Testament characters how many times faith is connected to righteousness. James links our right-relatedness to right-living. Our works are a response to the work Christ has done on our behalf. How does your faith impact what you do? List some specific examples. If it appears your faith has not impacted how you live, what might God be calling you to do?
*As we wear the breastplate of righteousness God call us His friend (James 2:23). How does it make you feel to know you are a friend of God? What will you do today to celebrate the friendship you have with the Creator of the Universe, the Savior of the world?
Read James 5:16
*How does personal confession and corporate prayer protect your heart?
*What powerful answers to prayer have you seen?
If possible, send me an e-mail and tell me how the breastplate of righteousness is protecting you. My email address is: