Yesterday I released a devotional book on the Armor of God, titled "Armor of Light: A 7 - Week Devotional on Ephesians 6:10-18." I wanted to share this excerpt with you from week two about putting on righteousness.
Breastplate of Righteousness
… with the breastplate of righteousness in place
Ephesians 6:14 instructs us to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The Amplified Bible explains righteousness as: “integrity, moral rectitude, and right standing with God.”
Job said he put on righteousness as his clothing (Job 29:14). When we receive Jesus, His righteousness is imputed to us. We then have a choice to continuing wearing His righteousness or return to wearing our unrighteousness.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
You may have heard of the movie or play, “Annie.” Annie was an orphan who lived a poor, miserable life under the control of evil Miss Hannigan. Annie’s life changed when she touched the heart of the wealthy Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.
At the end of the movie, Warbucks adopted Annie and welcomed her as his own. Annie was set free from being an orphan in captivity, and welcomed into a loving family. Annie went from rags to riches, from having barely enough to more than enough, from being despised to being adored, and from wearing clothes covered in filth to being arrayed in beautiful garments. She had been given everything a child could desire.
But what if the movie had a different ending? What if Annie decided after a few months to give up her new inheritance and put back on her filthy rags and return to the control of the evil Miss Hannigan? That wouldn’t make sense. Why would she give up her freedom, her riches, her beautiful garments, and a father who loved her, to return to captivity and serve the one who despised her?
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t force us to do anything. He’s given us free will. We have the choice to receive or not to receive what He’s given us. We can put on His righteousness and live out our inheritance with Jesus. Or we can strip it off, leave our inheritance, lay down our authority, and go back into captivity serving the one who despises us.
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
—Romans 6:16 (NLT)
I know a woman who accepted Christ a few years ago. There was a noticeable change in her almost immediately. A light turned on inside her and she finally saw the Truth. However, it didn’t last long. Soon after she turned to Christ she returned to her old ways, choosing to live in darkness instead of the light.
She chose to return to her filthy rags instead of wearing the righteousness Jesus died to give her. She left her inheritance and returned to captivity, serving the one who despises her. Today, you wouldn’t even know she accepted Christ. Sadly, she’s worse than she was before.
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
—2 Peter 2:20-22
When we accept Christ’s atonement for our sins we are washed clean. But if we don’t continually put on righteousness, by welcoming God into our homes (hearts) daily, we’ll leave the door wide open for the devil.
God instructs us to put on the “breastplate” of righteousness. The breastplate protects our hearts. When our hearts are undivided toward God, His righteousness covers us and leads us into holiness. Then, nothing Satan throws at us can harm us. The doors of our hearts will be guarded and sealed shut. The devil can’t come in when our hearts are full of God and His righteousness.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Let us put on righteousness. Let us give God our whole heart, and live each day drawing closer to Him. God is not expecting perfection from us. He just wants our heart. When He has our heart, He can perfect us!
*The "Armor of Light" is available in Paperback at Amazon. It will be released on audio format in May.
I am a wife of sixteen years, mother of four children, and author of “You Can Have a Happy Family: Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children” and two devotionals: “The LOVE Walk: A 15-Week Devotional on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8” and “Armor of Light: A 7-Week Devotional on Ephesians 6:10-18.” God has done an amazing work in me and my family since He rescued me thirteen years ago. Because of His unfailing love, I am passionate about sharing His love with others. You can learn more about my testimony and writings on my blog (SharingTruths.com) and my website (AmandaBeth.net).
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Acts 20:24