Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!
…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Righteousness is one of those words that has been misconstrued through generations and cultural preference. Like many words it has lost its true meaning and has been skewed to fit a cultural climate. Some, perhaps many, might say born again believers are self righteous. That followers of Jesus feel they are morally superior. [If you feel this way, I am sorry and hope you can forgive anyone who has caused you to feel this way]. The truth is those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior are challenged by moral behavior just as anyone else who walks this planet. The difference is followers of Jesus have the help of Holy Spirit to guide them in and to desire a righteous lifestyle.
Several years ago I heard from a sermon that we never take off our breastplate of righteousness. Through the years I have often thought about this and realize this thought doesn’t resonate with me.
When you make a choice to follow Jesus [asking for the forgiveness of your sins and committing to learning about and living like Jesus] righteousness becomes your identity in Jesus. You have the divine approval of God; you are approved in His sight. Therefore, you cannot loose your righteousness. Sin, however, causes a break in our fellowship with God and He graciously offers the gifts of confession and repentance and Holy Spirit is faithful to help us confess and repent and we enjoy restored communion with God.
The breastplate of righteousness is God’s divine approval of all who believe in Jesus, however, Paul tells us to put on the breastplate of righteousness. This is an action we are instructed to take. The breastplate of the Roman soldier described in the Armor of God passage in Ephesians [Ephesians 6:10-17] was meant to protect a soldier’s heart. Paul encourages us to put on God’s righteousness to protect our hearts. When we actively choose to spend time with Him by reading and studying His word and through prayer and praise we are protecting our heart from a thief who wants to steal Truth from us.
The breastplate of righteousness is a choice. Will you go about your day believing you have everything under control? Or, will you seek Holy Spirit lifting your arms and choosing to have Him fit your customized breastplate over your head, cinching it into place, protecting your heart as you choose to ask Him to continue to guide you in living a life of freedom?
Several years ago I heard a well known Christian influencer say every word of God should be taken literally. While I presume to understand the sentiment behind this statement to be that if we believe the word of God is the inerrant truth we would then apply all of God’s word to our life.
Through the years I have reflected upon this statement and often wondered how this would look with many of God’s commands in the Old Testament. Certainly, we don’t have to offer daily sacrifices because Jesus death and shed blood took the place of this daily requirement. And not many of us have free open range where we raise sheep, rams and bulls for the sacrifices required by the ancient Israelites. Nor do we hold fast to the many festivals they were to celebrate.
So how is it we are to take the word of God, the entire word of God literally and apply it to our life practically? It is an issue of our heart. When we are staying connected to Jesus, especially through reading and studying His word, we are engaging with Him in dialogue. His word, which is literally Jesus Himself, is alive and active and if we allow Him the space He will transform us by the power of His Spirit. He begins to show us that the sacrifice is no longer what His shed blood has already covered [the sacrifices of the Old Testament] rather our sacrifice is offering our will to Him like the sweet fragrance of the perfume offered by Mary as she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
The words of 1 John 3:10 above can seem harsh at first glance but when we dig deeper and learn the original translation we find that anyone not practicing righteousness is not a child of God. Do you practice righteousness? Do you know how to practice righteousness? Has anyone ever walked alongside you and modeled righteousness to you? This is why choosing to be discipled and then discipling others is so important. One aspect of discipleship teaches us how to approach God’s word and begin to understand the marvelous things He wants to show us and how to apply them to our life for righteous living rather than taking His word out of context.
As a believer in Christ you are to be like Jesus [your character matching His]. The only way to be like Jesus is to spend time with Him and as you do your will becomes His will and you learn to love not only your brothers and sisters in Christ but a world population with an inherent desire to simply be known and loved.
Show His love to the world—stay connected to Him.
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God is preparing us! He wants our attention and focus to be completely on Him. As believers in His beautiful and beloved Son, He sees us as righteous. It is the blood of Christ which makes us righteous. As such, we also know, as believers we WILL have trials, challenges, struggles and adversity. BUT, God promises to deliver us from them ALL. He promises whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, HE will deliver.
This morning I was looking for a nugget; a golden nugget to be exact. Not the type of gold that has monetary value, although, that would be nice as well! No, this morning I was looking for spiritual gold. That certain something that I could reflect upon throughout my day; giving me hope and making me, well, smile.
I began traipsing through the Bible, I like to traipse, and I came upon Psalm 103:17
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.
As I began to ponder this verse, I felt the Holy Spirit speak its truth to my heart. This verse is a very BIG promise! Everlasting is forever. Never ending; forever to forever; infinity and beyond! To fear Him is to revere and respect him; to be in AWE of him! His righteousness is his standard, his ultimate best, which is better than anything we can begin to imagine!
I found my spiritual gold. God love’s me forever and forever because I revere Him. Not only that, because of my relationship with Him, he extends his ultimate best to my children and grandchildren. That, my dear friends, is definitely something to smile about!