My mom was an expert seamstress.
She made her living by sewing clothes for others. But I was her favorite other to dress. Though we were poor, I never looked the part. As a child, every dress was a work of her hands - complete with a matching purse, made by covering an oatmeal box. The ribbon handle always matched the one in my hair! At the time, I may have been the “best dressed little girl in town.”
When God chooses to dress us, His work is being done on the inside on a much deeper level. Psalm 45:11 tells us: “The King’s daughter is all glorious within” and Isaiah 61:10 says that God has “clothed us with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”
After the belt of truth, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:14 that we are to “put on the breastplate of righteousness.” Righteousness simply means being or doing what is right. The belt of truth comes before righteousness because there can not be righteousness apart from truth. Truth is God’s standard and righteousness reveals how that is worked out in our lives.
When we came to Jesus, He did more than forgive our sins. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” This is called Imputed Righteousness; the very opposite of self-righteousness. Imputed Righteousness can be compared to God crediting your bank account with money. It now belongs to you. No one can take it away from you. Once we are saved, Satan can do nothing to change our POSITION of imputed righteousness. Knowing this, however, our enemy attempts to break our fellowship with God and others by preventing us from the PRACTICE of our righteousness.
Therefore, God requires that we put on the breastplate of righteousness permanently. God makes it possible for us to be righteous; we must make it practical.
The breastplate protects the chest which contains the heart: the innermost part of our innermost self. The heart is defined as “the seat of our mind, will and emotions. The seat of your appetites, emotions, and passions.” No wonder we say the heart is a vital organ! Proverbs 4:23 calls the heart the wellspring of life. The heart serves as the control center for the rest of the human anatomy. Every rocket that ever went off in our life had its launching in the heart. (Hope you got that!) The first part of Proverbs 4:23 warns us that “above all else, we are to guard our heart.”
God has provided us with the breastplate of righteousness positionally, but He is requiring that we practice our righteousness by staying clean before God. There are overt sins, which are done outwardly throughout our actions. But there are covert sins, which take place in our hearts – our mind, will and emotions. One of Satan’s strategies is to keep us unaware of both so that we will continue to practice unrighteousness. Remember, according to Revelation 12:10, he is the accuser of our brethren and he accuses them before our God day and night.
True righteousness is released, not self manufactured! How does this happen? Galatians 5:16 tells us, “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Trust the Holy Spirit of God within you to reveal to you what’s in your heart. Memorize and then meditate on God’s Word. Proverbs 23:7 reveals to us that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” We must allow God’s Word to resonate in our heart so completely that it becomes our protective breastplate of righteousness.
If you will read Philippians 2:13 – 16, you will find where we are to go. “In the midst of a crooked and depraved generation, we are to shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life.” How do we do this? By wearing the garment of salvation, the robe of righteousness, covered by the armor of the breastplate of righteousness before the world.
God declares that we MUST shine – His righteousness must be seen! Remember when Moses met with God on the mountain in Exodus 34? When he came down from the mountain, Moses glowed so brightly, he had to put a veil over his face.
Here’s what I learned about glowing from Moses:
- Must be exposed continually to direct light to glow.
- Exposure to the light makes a noticeable difference – you go from blah to bright. Everyone will notice, but you will not.
- The darker the place, the brighter the object will glow.
- The glow begins immediately to fade when the object is not exposed to direct light.
Psalm 34:5 – “Those who look to Him are radiant.” This world is desperate for those who reflect the love of Christ. Let’s suit up!
MY WAR ZONE:
For six years, I was in an accountability group with two other warriors. We learned to bare ourselves open before each other, giving and receiving prayer support to live clean and pure lives. I recall a hidden, silly fear (which is the sin of not trusting) that I had lived with for almost a year. Once I confessed it openly to God and my friends, receiving God’s restoration and their prayers, I never once struggled with the fear of being shot, abducted, or wounded in a crowd again. I confessed it was silly but it was real!
YOUR WAR ZONE:
- Why does God deem it necessary to put on the belt of truth before the breastplate of righteousness?
- Have you learned to see yourself through the eyes of God: all dressed up, arrayed in your robe of righteousness, and radiant?
- Do you have a besetting sin that the enemy uses to accuse you before God?
- Do you have/or have had an accountability partner or a trusted friend who prays with you over “silly sins”?
Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group.