"...with the breast plate of righteousness in place"... -Ephesians 6:14
I'm going to be transparent here. For many years the word "righteous" put a bad taste in my mouth because of the context it is so often used in when describing someone who thinks they are better than all the rest and judges others based on their own goodness, "self righteous". So, I struggled for years with understanding righteousness and what it meant concerning God. I have devoted prayer to asking for God to open up His Word to help me better understand what His righteousness means.
My study Bible took me on so many paths throughout scripture, it was quite a journey and created quite a reflection for me. Let me take you on the journey too.
"Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist" - Isaiah 11:5 referring to the coming Messiah.
"Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning." - Luke 25:35 regarding the return of Christ.
"Prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled; set your hopefully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Chris is revealed." - 1 Peter 1:13
"he put on righteousness as his breastplate." Isaiah 59:17 in reference again to the coming Messiah
"Put on faith and love as a breastplate" - 1 Thessalonians 5:8
I began to notice that all the references were in preparation and referred to putting on on the armor. The breastplate literally guards the heart.
This piece of armor, made of metal plates or chains covered the body from the neck to waist, both front and back. It symbolizes the believer's righteousness in Christ as well as his righteous life in Christ.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" - 2 Corinthians 5:21
"...and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" -Ephesians 4:24
Guard your heart.
For years I had a Sunday School teacher whom I admire as a godly wife and mother say at the closing of every class..."guard your heart and guard your marriage". You could call it part of her life song. She so pressed into us the importance of guarding both. The reason we must, at all times, protect our heart is because Satan will go straight for it and in turn his goal is to get at our marriage.
Satan is the accuser, but he cannot accuse the believer who is living a godly life in the power of the Spirit. No, we aren't perfect in and of ourselves. We hope and strive to be more like Christ and walk this journey with Him. The life we live either fortifies us against Satan's attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us. When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we are not only guarding our hearts with the righteousness of Christ but we are telling the world that we are going to live a life that fortifies us against Satan.
We stay away from the things of this world that Satan could use to attempt to destroy our lives and our marriage. We are careful about what our eyes see and our ears here. As children of the King, we must protect ourselves so that Satan can not use our own actions it against us. When Satan accuses the Christian, it is the righteousness of Christ that assures the believer of his salvation. But our positional righteousness in Christ, without practicing and walking out that righteousness daily, only give Satan the opportunity to find a foothold to attack us. We must be diligent to "guard our hearts and guard our marriage" and not be tempted by the world.
Satan wants to wear you down and make your marriage feel loveless and miserable. Trust me, I walked out miserable for far too long many years ago. He wants to tarnish your marriage because doing so makes that picture of the gospel that your marriage represents appear tarnished too. He wants it to fail and be destroyed and the world has everything in it he needs to accomplish that goal. Guard your hearts and guard your marriage. Your Father gave you everything you need for unity in your marriage along with His desire for unity. The one thing Satan wants to do is divide and he will use what every unrighteousness in the world to do it. Put on that breastplate every single morning while His mercies are new. Decide for yourself and your husband that you will remain guarded.
Father, thank you. I cry out to you today as I put on my armor that You have bestowed. I claim victory over my marriage because I believe that the effective prayers of the righteous make Your heavenly power available to guard our hearts. Give me a steadfast spirit to be watchful of the enemy and his attempts to create a divide between myself and my husband. Lord, I yield to the Holy Spirit as he Helps me in my weakness and I plead the same for my husband. I pray the Spirit teaches us how to remain in your righteousness. Let all the days of our marriage and lives serve Your purposes here on earth. Release your power and glory upon our lives. I find the hope of our future in Your presence. Let the power of the Holy Spirit fill every area of my life with Your wisdom and courage. I know that I am called to wear this armor because of the battles we can not see. Give me strength to withstand. In Christ Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.