Spiritual Battle: Standing Firm – The breastplate of righteousness
The breastplate was made of metal or leather with animal hooves or horns sewn in. The main purpose was to protect the vital organs – including the heart. It protects our engine room and our emotions. Without this a solider would face certain death.
When Paul talks about righteousness he is referring to “justification”. We have been accepted and forgiven, not because we deserve it, but based on Jesus dying on the cross to take our punishment for sin. We have already been forgiven and clothed in righteousness but that doesn’t give us a license to go and do whatever we want.
Having been justified, there needs to be a practical outworking of righteousness in our lives. We need to live daily in obedience to God both in our character and conduct.
This is our protection against Satan’s attacks and accusations. Satan wants us feel wrong emotions in order to mislead and confuse us. He will try to lead us astray with greed, lust, envy, hate. He will appeal to our emotions and earthly desires, which are very strong but often lead us down the wrong path.
There was a song by Sheryl Crow a few years ago that had a line “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad” This sums up the attitude of the culture in which we live.
When people are caught in an affair, or they need to make a big decision they will often say “but it just feels so right”. They try to justify themselves and make it right – but always from a distorted view of what true happiness is.
As Christians this is no basis on which to make decisions. We need to be obedient to God and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our feelings and emotions are God-given and are good, but we need to guard them closely.
We need to “put on” this righteousness, which means to live in constant obedience.