If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been writing a series of posts about the armor of God in Ephesians 6. If you’re new here, welcome! This series was inspired by the book “Victory in Spiritual Warfare” by Tony Evans. (Affiliate link) If you want an in depth study of the Armor of God and how to fight spiritual warfare in your personal life, I highly recommend this book!
My series focuses on spiritual warfare and how it can affect our families. If you don’t know what spiritual warfare is, or what it might have to do with your family, the first post in this series is a great place to start: Spiritual Warfare and the Family: What is Spiritual Warfare, and what does it have to do with my family?
The Breastplate of Righteousness
This week I’m focusing on the 2nd piece of armor that Paul lists, the breastplate of righteousness.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14)
A roman soldier’s breastplate covered his torso from front and back, protecting his vital organs. This piece of armor made it difficult for the enemy to strike a deadly blow to the soldier’s body as he fought in close combat.
If that soldier had neglected his breastplate for whatever reason, allowing it to become cracked or broken, there would have been ways for the enemy’s weapons to find a way through, striking a deadly blow. The soldier may have been able to fight, but he probably wouldn’t have lasted long.
When Paul mentioned the breastplate of righteousness, of course he wasn’t talking about putting on a physical piece of armor that would protect our organs. He was concerned with our spirits.
Righteousness, in short, is doing what is right.
It’s having your heart right with God. And even though it’s mentioned so many times throughout the Bible, it’s still a hard subject to talk about. It seems to attract criticism from every corner. I’ve been called names by non-Christians for making the choice to do what I believe is right in God’s eyes. And I’ve been criticized by Christians who believe that we should not be worried about whether or not we sin because God forgives us in all of our sin and it’s by His grace, and not our works, that we are saved.
And that is true. If not for His grace, we would never be worthy of knowing Him. We can never be righteous enough to enter heaven by doing the right thing. But I am learning from my experience in raising my own kids, and from witnessing how sin tears families apart and causes so much pain and heartache, how much we desperately need to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
A Family Without Righteousness
When I forget to put on the breastplate of righteousness as a wife, I fail to respect my husband. I distrust the wisdom God is giving him in leading our family. I speak harshly, and impatiently. I hurt his spirit. But God has given me the power to win over his spirit through my behavior! (1 Peter 3:1).
When I forget to put on the breastplate of righteousness as a mom, I grow self-centered, making time and sleep and food my idols. I become insensitive, putting my own wants before theirs. I fail to show them the nature and character of their creator who loves them so much that He became flesh, suffered for them, and forgave any mistake they could ever make so that they could know Him forever. I speak harshly, impatiently, I overlook their needs to suit my wants. But we have so much influence over our children that what we teach them, they are likely to never forget. If we raise them to love and serve our Father, they are sure to follow! (Proverbs 22:6)
When we allow sin to prevail in our families, our spirits are exposed to the attacks of the enemy, just as a roman soldier’s heart is exposed to the enemy’s arrows without his breastplate. We ache for the healing and love found only in our savior. It’s this love that is multiplied and magnified as we live and learn to follow Him together. Our enemy knows how much influence we have over our families, so He will do anything to break us apart. But Christ knew this.
This is what His grace is for
24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Because we are always being tempted to sin. But, that is where His grace comes in. Not just to save us a spot in heaven, but to sanctify us, molding us more and more into His image so that we can know Him deeper through our relationships with one another, and exemplify Him to a lost and broken world.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age”. (Titus 2:11
“In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8)
When seeking righteousness in your life and your family, allow these encouraging verses to help you stand firm:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10)
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12)
Friends, I pray that you would be filled with His grace and His peace, and that you would see the fruit in your life as you seek to live for Him and be an example to your family. Keep fighting against spiritual warfare in your home, and put the enemy to shame!
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