Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, April 20, 2014
THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Stand firm then…with the breastplate of righteousness in place.Ephesians 6:14b
The soldier’s breastplate of the Roman times was to protect his vital organs. It was usually made of hardened slabs of leather or pounded bronze or a combination of both. The soldier’s rank and his country’s seal were affixed to it. It covered the soldier’s chest and stomach but not his back. So it was designed to face the enemy, not for retreat from the enemy.
Because we are waging a war against an invisible enemy, we must always be armed. Our breastplate is made not of heavy metal but is molded by the Spirit of the living God to fit us properly in our inner being. Our righteousness is not a metal front, but given by Christ to show to everyone in all our day-to-day relationships and circumstances.
Our enemy will point out your failures and shortcomings. He will try to convince you that you are unworthy to be a child of God. He is right. But your relationship with God is based on Jesus’ uprightness before God, not yours. Your sins have been wiped out. When God sees you, he sees Jesus. Stand tall before the enemy…in your breastplate of righteousness.
Mikail Khorev, a very effective evangelist in Russia, spent many years in prison for his continued public ministry. On one occasion his family was refused visiting rights and sent home. When the prison guard was taunting him about it, he replied:
“I would like to tell you that my God is fulfilling his plans through you and will use you for our blessing. I love my family very much and being together with them means a lot to me, but if it brings more honor to the Lord for us to part rather than be together, then why should I insist on seeing them? If his name is glorified more through my being in prison than through my being at liberty, then I tell you that there is no greater joy for me than to die on this prison bunk as a prisoner, as my father did and as many of my brothers in the faith have done.”
Mikhail is also quoted as saying, “I have to admit to you that prison is a very useful school for our education and for the testing of the genuineness of our faith...I’m grateful to the Lord for this school and for his leading.”
RESPONSE: Today I put on the breastplate of righteousness…protected under the blood of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Lord, may my breastplate of righteousness guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy in the face of trials.