“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” -Ephesians 6:10-11
There’s a war going on and it is BIG. I’ve been doing Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study “Armor of God” with my mom and sister. This past week of study was on righteousness. She told a story of how her family went on a mission trip. Before they left, they took everything that would spoil out of their fridge and pantry, but they forgot one thing: their bowl of fruit on the counter. When they got back home from their trip, their house was full of fruit flies. She went on to say: “But here’s the point: I didn’t need to personally invite them into my house. All I had to do as create an environment conducive for them, and they just invited themselves. The environment I created WAS the invitation.” When we live a life of unrighteousness, we are pretty much inviting the devil into our lives. Righteousness isn’t being perfect; it isn’t being better than your friends, either. Righteousness is knowing what God’s truth is and living it out, or as Mrs. Shirer puts it, “…upright living that aligns with the expectations of God.”
So, I want to be righteous and live out God’s truth, but how? Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”‘ There is no way for us to be righteous by ourselves. No possible way. Romans 4 talks about Abraham and his righteousness: “And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead…” Righteousness is in us- it was given to us at the time when we first believed in Him. What we need to do is put it into play.
Ephesians 4 talks about putting off our old self – putting away all of our old, bad habits – and putting on our new self, believing in Christ. We need to put on the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
When we were babies, we didn’t have to work to change. All that we needed is care from our parents or caretakers, and we changed as we grew. It’s the same with our spiritual life. We don’t need to work hard to change our lives- we need to care for our spiritual health! Priscilla Shirer says it this way, “If you only skim Scripture while you’re half asleep or as an afterthought between appointments, letting it go in one ear and out the other with little thought or determined interest, you’ll never receive the full benefits of what the living active Word of God is prepared to produce in your life.” We need to, as James 1 states, be doers of the Word and not just hearers.
One last thing: Mrs. Shirer shares in her study about how the Roman soldiers, for a time, were required to pay for their own armor. Not many were adequately dressed for battle. Jesus paid the price for our breastplate of righteousness at the Cross! Praise Him!
So – we’ve been given a breastplate. Wear it!