Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Armor of God | Righteousness

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The Breastplate of Righteousness puts us in the throne room of God.

We previously looked at The Belt of Truth so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the Breastplate of Righteousness! 

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Having put on the breastplate of righteousness...Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

Righteousness has an effect. The effect is, it puts us in the throne room of God.

When we are burdened with sin we separate ourselves from God. Conversely, when we are right with God, a whole new world opens up for us and he sees and hears us! More precisely, He is looking for us and listening for us.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. - 1 Peter 3:12 ESV
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous. - Proverbs 15:29 NLT 

Righteousness opens the door for faith and faith is important in our thinking here, so let's review our definition of faith. Faith is the trust we have in someone base on what we know about their character.

There certainly is much more to say about faith but this definition is a great place to start. It's difficult to have faith if we do not know God's character. Here's what we know:

He loves us without exception. 
He has given us many wonderful promises.
He intends to keep His promises.
He does not/cannot lie.
He delights in keeping His promises.
He is able to keep His promises.
He does not change.
He is listening for us. 

When we know these things about our Father there is no thought that our requests are too small or trite. He is not indifferent. He is focused on your every breath. Open your mouth and make your requests. Thank Him. Praise Him. Chit-chat with Him. Your breastplate has made all of this possible.

The person who does not have on the Breastplate of Righteousness thinks their request as too meager for God. "He has better things to do." This person thinks God has bigger plans that do not include them. The world has crafted this kind of thinking and we have adopted it. Yet, we know that it is absurdly wrong!

His plans are actually focused on you and your participation. Here is God's will for those who have on the Breastplate of Righteousness...

Come to Me with shameless persistence!


You can't do it wrong. Will you grown in your requests? Will your requests begin to take on a bigger purpose as you mature in your knowledge of God? They most certainly will. We progress from being a prayer novice to a prayer expert and we do not despise the small beginning. We embrace it!

Which of these two scenarios moves you to pray?

  1. God may say yes, but he may say no or wait or maybe. We really don't know.
  2. God says yes.

The man and woman who has on the Breastplate of Righteousness knows that God says yes every time. When we bring something to the Lord, He goes to work on it right away. In fact, We have evidence that He works on our prayer requests before we even ask.

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! - Isaiah 65:24 NLT

Please, take a quick read of, Prerequisites: Building Fortitude, for insight on what the Lord is doing when we pray.

A Righteous Perspective

Prayer was not your idea. It is God's idea. He was the one who said bring everything to Him. So why do we feel silly making any request. It's on Him to make good! So let Him.

The important takeaway here is that there is no in-between. We are either right with God or separated from Him. The breastplate is a knowing that you are right with God. Everything that comes with right standing with God is now available and accessible and you have a presence in the throne room of God... and the responsibility to use it excessively! :-)

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! - John 14:12-14 NLT

State of Being | State of Becoming

Another great way to understand righteousness is in the distinction of how we became righteous and how we walk in it.

We are made righteous by the work of Jesus on the cross, and in His death, burial and resurrection. The walk of righteousness is exemplified in how we participate in the process of recovering from our sin.

Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. - Titus 3:7 NLT
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. - 2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB
So, what happens when we sin?

The answer is, we remain justified in the sight of our Father but ineffective in our walk. The difference between being given the status of "Righteous," is a separate work from "walking in righteousness." Our status is justification. Our walk is sanctification. Sanctification is where we grow and become Christ-like so we can be a full expression of who we were designed to be.

Take a quick read of, The Path of Repentance, for a clear understanding of  sanctification.

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Take Action!

How am I righteous? 

If you are born again, you are made that way. Any confusion comes in the distinction between our status in the sight of God and our walk. Our understanding of this is the armor! 
Our standing with God has been grossly understated. Let's let go of the thought that our requests are too insignificant. 
Scientists can't explain how a cell divides. Some think that God has to participate in every cell division for it to happen. Well if God is active in every cell division on the planet, He is certainly standing by to hear our prayers. 

Two Misunderstandings

We've been stuck with a misunderstanding of the scriptures that instruct us to ask according to the will of God and asking "amiss." It has thrown a wet blanket on our rights and responsibilities that come with the Breastplate of Righteousness. The teaching here has our prayer life in shackles! 
It is true we must ask according to God's will and we can ask amiss. However, the common teaching of these things is horribly out of context. The out of context teaching implies our guilt for asking for anything and leaves us apprehensive to call out to God. 
The problem here isn't our wrong requests. It's a misunderstanding of how God works when we pray.

The Way Forward 

The desires of our heart are not sequestered to our needs. 
Let's embellish a little here to make a point...
We are to see our needs as already anticipated by the Lord. True! So, why pray about them? We can't ask for fun things because our intentions are assumed to always be lustful. It then follows that, if we can't ask for our needs and we are shunned from asking for the desires of our heart, we essentially are left with nothing to ask for, and have a dead prayer life. 
This is silly! Yet, it has become the underlying implication, creating confusion in the church. The over emphasis of the Faith movement and then a corresponding over emphasis from the "Faith Correction" movement has us all stumped. 
An out of context teaching that is widely accepted causes many to become ineffective in their understanding and in their walk.

Think in context of having on our Breastplate of Righteousness
There is no right standing Christian out there asking for a weekend drunken party. In addition, it's ok to ask for non-essentials and here is the will of God when it comes to prayer for the person wearing their Breastplate of Righteousness... 
Ask with shameless persistence!
... and with that, add an understanding of what God is doing when we make our requests. What we will find is that as we mature in our faith, our requests will become more wise and with a higher purpose. 
In the mean while it's ok to ask for the jetski, the car, the job, etc. There is no sin in asking for these things! Take a quick read of, Prerequisites: Building Fortitude, to understand this process more clearly and you'll see what I mean. There is a reason we are to bring ALL of our requests to our Father.
Here are additional resources to help develop your strategy: 

Please, add your thoughts in the comment section.

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Concept

“The Breastplate of Righteousness comes with rights and responsibilities. Embrace them both!”


In The Cool Zone concept. Think like Jesus thinks. Deliver the Gospel. Teach what you have learned.

In The Cool Zone and More Life in My Day are sister websites dedicated to discipleship. They work in tandem, providing the teaching and coaching for growing in the Lord and becoming effective in our walk with the Lord. 

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