Breastplate of righteousness
Listen to this daily worship
Ephesians 6:14 (NRSVA)
14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Paul’s second item of armour is a breastplate, to cover the chest and its vital organs, protecting both front and back from attack. I guess the modern equivalent would be a bullet-proof vest as worn by journalists reporting from war zones.
The concept of righteousness – being in right relationship with God – is only possible for us human beings because of the work of Jesus.
‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,’ (2 Corinthians 5: 21).
I like to think of the shiny metal breastplate, perfectly fitted and giving protection to the organs hidden in my torso.
Its shine is not due to my strivings to be right or my aspiration to deadening perfectionism – trying to always do the right thing in my own strength. Rather, it is a gift of my being a child of God, believing and trusting in the work and person of Jesus.
The purpose of the breastplate is seen when it is in use, as we face the daily decisions of life, and inward battle for our heart to be fully trusting of God. The breastplate is owned and appropriated as we pray, as we surrender to God, as we face opposition and trial.
Righteousness is also refusing to use any deception to protect the gap between our inner and outer selves — God is wanting to transform us into the likeness of his Son Jesus, renewing our minds and hearts to become more and more people of integrity. Trusting in the mercy of God to forgive us when we don’t act and speak as becomes a child of God, and knowing the importance of saying sorry to keep our relationships with God and others free flowing.
Teach me humility,
Prevent me from a ‘Holier than thou’ attitude
Guard my heart from the deceptions that creep in, wanting to puff up my own sense of self above the reality of the situation: I am a flawed human being, brought into the grace and mercy of God by the courageous, selfless life and death of Jesus.