Monday, May 07, 2007

Breastplate of Righteousness

From Soul Scents email........................

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this on going warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13-18 (The Message)


Do you ever struggle to forgive yourself? I know I have. There have been times I’ve been so overcome with my faults that I literally pictured my hand with a knife, stabbing my heart. Perceived failure hurt so badly it seemed my heart deserved such assault.

Thank God, He’s showing me how to don the breastplate of righteousness.

Much of the enemy’s attack on our souls comes in the form self-doubt and self-hatred. Satan comes against our identity as a Saint saved by grace and tells us we’re full of blame and deserve death.

Before we received Christ’s salvation that was true. But it’s not any longer. Christ’s salvation took away all need for punishment.The breastplate of righteousness is an important part of our armor because when we are hopeless against our own failure and shame, we are given Christ’s imputed righteousness.

Imputed is an old King James word that many today don’t understand, but I just love. It means, when used this way, “to attribute (merit) to a person as transmitted by another.”*We don’t have to despair because Christ gave us HIS righteousness. The enemy wants us to kill off the heart that loves Jesus. He wants our hearts deadened. Shutdown. Afraid to love, serve, and believe passionately. Satan wants us full of self-doubt, failure, and shame. He assaults our heart. But Christ died to take away all condemnation.

Jesus says, “Don’t worry, I’ve given you my perfection. You meet the standards of all that is good because I put my righteousness into your heart.”

I love the way the Matthew Henry says it. “The righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan.”
**These days God has given me a new picture. As I receive Christ’s gift of salvation and understand that His righteousness is now mine, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is impenetrable. If I give into the temptation to pick up that knife to punishment my heart, the knife can no longer meet its mark. It clangs against the steel breastplate and falls harmlessly to the ground. Next time you are tempted to punish yourself for your failures, remember that Christ has given you His imputed righteousness. Picture the breastplate protecting your heart and let the self-condemnation fall away, never hitting its mark.

Stand firm then . . . with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14b (NIV)
~Paula Moldenhauer
*The American Heritage Dictionary** Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

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