Okay, so let’s face it righteousness is a bit of a complicated word. I think it means always trying to live a life that is good and honest; trying to do what the bible says is right. Eurghh, so does that mean I just have to follow a bunch of rules?
Well yes and no.
You see, God never forces us to do anything, so we don’t HAVE to follow any rules. However, we do choose to because we know God would only want what is best for us.
Some commands are easier to follow in life like your mate telling you to go look at your Instagram, you immediately comply because you know you will have just been tagged in the most relatable meme, ever. But some seem more annoying, like your parents telling you to use a napkin at dinner. You choose not to because you don’t want to look stupid, but you then end up spilling Bolognese sauce all down your new jumper.
The bible is full of instructions on how we should be living and yeah that may sound a bit boring and restrictive. However, we know that God would only ask us to follow something which will be for our benefit, which will give us something far greater than what we are giving up.
It is really easy to make mistakes. A well-known UK church leader and preacher, Mike Pilavachi, describes a story where one New Year’s Eve he made a resolution to never sin again… the clock stroke midnight and he lasted a whole 8 hours without sinning – then he woke up. We are human and therefore we mess up as soon as we open our eyes, sometimes even with them closed! When God says to wear a breastplate of righteousness does He really expect us to be living perfectly all the time? No. Jesus came because we aren’t perfect! He knows that, but He is highlighting the importance of standing by His instructions and using them as a protection.
In fact, He is our Righteousness: ‘It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.’ – 1 Corinthians 1:30.
A breastplate’s purpose in the armour is to protect your vital organs from the unexpected hits, therefore wearing righteousness defends our spiritual life-lines. Woah, it just got complicated again! Let’s simplify…
Our bodies need organs to be able to function and it’s the same with our faith. We need God’s direction as it is a life-line that keeps us connected to the truth. The bible is jam packed with guidelines that help us to continue in the battle, and yes there are so many debates over different parts of it but at the heart of the bible we have the Father who loves us, Jesus who sacrificed himself for us and the Holy Spirit who continues to guide us. Wearing righteousness, defends against the conflict that is trying to destroy us.
This means we need to pivot ourselves to be aligned with God’s navigation for us. I used to play netball and remember my coach yelling at me ‘Pivot!’ or maybe TV show ‘Friends’ is what comes to mind (yet, probably a bad example to follow!).
Sometimes we feel lost, like we are being attacked and can’t seem to find God. But we are on the pitch, we are in the game, we have the ball… we just need to pivot to see the net – He is just one simple move away.
God is like the coach: He has put you on the team and given you the netball bib of righteousness to wear so you know your position and ability. He wants you to know your place and purpose, to follow His voice and wisdom because He cares so deeply about the condition of your armour. We need to clothe ourselves with an absolute trust that God will be faithful to us always and His word is our best defence. Living wearing the breastplate of righteousness therefore, means doing our best to always follow the guidance of God.