“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV)

You’re in a battle – whether you know it or not. If you want to win this battle, you need to realize that it’s a spiritual battle and you need to make use of the spiritual weapons that the Lord has made available to you. We need to make use of the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13) in order to overcome and reign in life. Yesterday we looked at the “belt of truth”, and today we’re looking at the “breastplate of righteousness”.

“Stand therefore… having on the breastplate of righteousness;
  Ephesians 6:14 King James Version (KJV)

For Roman soldiers, the breastplate was a significant piece of armour which no soldier would go to battle without, because it protected the heart and vital organs. The breastplate was also one of the heaviest pieces of armour. For believers, the breastplate in the same way is a weighty piece of armour that we cannot reign in life without. The breastplate is righteousness and this is what protects our hearts.

Righteousness is basically “rightness” and refers to “right standing” or acceptance with God. There are two types of righteousness spoken of in scripture. The first is man’s righteousness which is based on man’s goodness and efforts to be right and do right. Man’s righteousness doesn’t impress God (Isaiah 64:6) and it could never save man or achieve any leverage with God for acceptance, relationship or favour. Man’s righteousness is beneficial for relationships with other people in helping maintain order and harmony – helping people get along with each other. But man’s righteousness is not what protects your heart, and it is not what will give you success as a Christian.

The kind of righteousness which will give you success and cause you to reign in life is God’s righteousness. It cannot be achieved by your own goodness. It cannot grow – as a believer you cannot become more right-with-God than you already are. God’s righteousness is a free gift which becomes yours the moment you receive Christ and are born-again. Too many believers don’t understand God’s righteousness and are trying to get blessed, accepted and earn favour with God based on their own goodness and holiness, but God’s righteousness is not about actions (right or wrong doing). It’s an identity issue. When you receive Jesus you become righteous by simply believing. Even if your actions are unrighteous and you don’t live like Jesus (yet), at your core (your spirit) God has made you righteous. The more you realize that and accept it, the more you will start to live righteously.

“For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 King James Version (KJV) (brackets mine)

You cannot become righteous; you need to be made righteous. This can only happen by faith in Christ – faith in the fact that He took your punishment for sin on the cross and became what we were, so that we could become what He is: 100% righteous. If you’re a believer you are 100% righteous, 100% of the time. It never fluctuates. You had the righteousness of God given to you the moment you got saved. That means that your righteousness is 100% equal to Jesus’ righteousness – maybe not in your actions or thinking, but in your spirit you are 100% perfect!

Righteousness is a vital piece of armour and without it you will never reign or live in victory. Why? Because you will either see your efforts (works) and rightly never feel good enough – which will drain you of any confidence in your relationship with God or in the spiritual battle. Or you’ll fall into pride when you think all your hard work is something worthy of God’s acceptance – and pride leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18).

You can never be bold and confident as a believer as long as you’re trusting in your personal holiness and good works to give you success and leverage with God. Success in the Christian life comes from completely trusting in what Jesus did for us, not what we do for Him.
Thought to focus on for the day:
Your heart needs to be rooted and grounded in understanding God’s righteousness if you want to reign in life and live in victory and freedom!

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