Every believer can identify with these words of the Apostle Paul: “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. 2:3 Life is a battle and God has provided all that we need to navigate it victoriously. In our last post, we began a series on the armor of God and discussed the belt of truth. Putting on the full armor of God is not optional for those who desire to endure and conquer in the day of battle. Single or married, we all need to be equipped and skilled. I have discovered that battle tested singles do well in the transition to marriage. Yes, the venue has changed; marriage has unique dynamics to it for sure, but the armor works the same in any and all situations. In this post, we are going to talk about the breastplate of righteousness.
Network of Support
On a side note, all of the armor interlocks in a network of support. For example, when we were discussing the belt of truth, I said that it represented integrity, having a pure heart before God, and being honest with yourself and those in your inner circle, spouse first and foremost. It’s clear that to be successful in protecting my heart with the breastplate, I need to be wearing the belt of truth, being authentic and vulnerable.
Righteousness is “imputed” to us. Christ in you, is your righteousness. It’s who you are; a legal transfer from Jesus, into you. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21 Growing in this revelation, seeing yourself as one of the Father’s children, having your heart saturated with a sense of God’s acceptance – this translates into armor for the heart.
To consistently have this breastplate of righteousness, we must be seeing God as our Father versus seeing Him primarily as Judge. For example, a judge bases his decision on what a person does, whether or not he obeys the law. What counts, is the rules. Relationship does not come into play in the courtroom. If this is my filter, then the bar will always be too high, the standard unreachable. A father, on the other hand, is not a judge in a court of law. For a father, relationship is the bottom line, not rules. The story of the Prodigal Son is a prime example. True righteousness is grounded in a relationship of grace.
Right Standing / Right Living
There are however, two sides to this coin. There is righteousness imputed and righteousness practiced. To say another way, right standing and right living. Wearing the breastplate of righteousness embodies knowing who I am in Christ and being intentional to live in like fashion. While righteousness imputed is something only Christ can do, righteousness practiced is something only I can do.
Righteousness is one of the attributes of God; a manifestation of His character. Ps. 119:145 It is the opposite of lawlessness, or wickedness. “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness…No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 Jo. 3:4,10 To clarify, everyone does miss the mark, and commits sin, but the point here is the habitual practice of sin.
The most peaceful seasons in a marriage occur when each spouse is engaged in righteous self-protection on the inside, and righteous acts of love and service on the outside.