“The Breastplate of Righteousness”

Our Prayer: Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, Your warrior prepares for battle. Today I claim victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God! I put on the girdle of truth! May I stand firm in the truth of Your Word so I will not be a victim of Satan’s lies. I put on the breastplate of righteousness! May it guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy, protected under the blood of Jesus Christ. I put on the shoes of peace! May I stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel so Your peace will shine through me and be a light to all I encounter. I take the shield of faith! May I be ready for Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial, and deceit so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat. I take the Sword of the Spirit! May the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands so I can expose the tempting words of Satan. By faith we warriors have put on the whole armor of God! We are prepared to live this day, this week in spiritual victory! In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Our Scripture: Let’s Read: Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:11 exhorts believers to “put on the whole armor of God” in order to stand firm against the attacks of our enemy, Satan (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:12). Verses 14 through 17 say, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The imagery is of an armed Roman or Israelite soldier, prepared for battle. A typical armed soldier wore a breastplate made of bronze or chain mail. It covered the vital organs, namely, the heart, and was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to a thick belt. If the belt was loosened, the breastplate slipped right off.

When Paul compares the armor of God with military gear, each piece represents a part of God’s strength that He extends to us when we become His children. The breastplate of righteousness refers to the righteousness purchased for us by Jesus at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). At salvation, a “breastplate” is issued to each repentant sinner. It is specially designed by God to protect our heart and soul from evil and deception. Our own righteous acts are no match for Satan’s attacks (Isaiah 64:6). The breastplate of righteousness has Christ’s name stamped on it, as though He said, “Your righteousness isn’t sufficient to protect you. Wear mine.”

We are instructed to “put on” this armor, which implies that we do not automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor of God requires a decision on our part. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness will be based upon our own attempts to impress God. This leads to legalism or self-condemnation (Romans 8:1). We choose instead to acknowledge that, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We see ourselves as “in Christ” and that, regardless of our failures, His righteousness has been credited to our account.

We “put it on” by seeking God and His righteousness above everything else (Matthew 6:33). We make Him and His ways our dwelling place (Psalm 91:1). We delight in His commands and desire for His ways to become our ways (Psalm 37:4; 119:24, 111; Isaiah 61:10). When God reveals an area of change to us, we obey and allow Him to work in us. At the point where we say “no” to God, we open a little crack in the armor where Satan’s arrows can get through (Ephesians 6:16).

As we wear Christ’s breastplate of righteousness, we begin to develop a purity of heart that translates into actions. Wearing this breastplate creates a lifestyle of putting into practice what we believe in our hearts. As our lives become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), our choices become more righteous, and these godly choices also protect us from further temptation and deception (Proverbs 8:20; Psalm 23:3).

When armor is abused or worn incorrectly, it can malfunction. Likewise, there are several factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of our spiritual breastplate. Carelessness (1 Peter 5:8), unbelief (Hebrews 3:12), abusing grace (Romans 6:1–2), or disobedience (1 John 3:4; Hebrews 4:6) can hinder our ability to stand firm and defeat the enemy in our lives. When we tolerate sin, refuse to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10–11), rely on personal righteousness (Titus 3:5), or allow earthly concerns to crowd out time for an intimate relationship with God, we, in effect, take off the breastplate of righteousness, minimizing its power to protect us.

We need our breastplate of righteousness in place in order to gain the victory specified in 2 Corinthians 10:15: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” When we quickly reject heretical ideas, idolatry, and the “counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1) and instead “keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), we keep our breastplate securely fastened.

Let’s look at our study books now!

Day 1 The Heart of the matter

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Please remember to read your study guide book from each study.

So your heart is the seat of your life. The source! And what the physical heart is to your physical life, the spiritual heart is to your spiritual life. Glory to God! These are so encouraging to read. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts.

Righteousness literally means justice- the equality of being upright, fulfilling the expectations set in a relationship. In our case as believers, this relationship is with God Himself. Righteousness, then, is upright living that aligns with God’s expectations.

Day 2 The Clean Sweep

What the breastplate did for the Roman soldier’s physical heart, righteousness does for your spiritual heart. That is good stuff! Guard it. Protect it. Shields it from your enemy’s attempts to exact fatal blows to this life-giving source in your soul. But understanding how to utilize this piece of spiritual armor requires you to truly understand what righteousness is and how it works. Please read day 2 for more information. I like this! “Perfect righteousness discourage you; comparative righteousness deceive you; imputed righteousness defines you and declares you innocent before all accusers.”

Day 3 Perfect Makes Practice

To wear the breastplate of righteousness properly, we need to switch things up a bit. Righteousness is in you, now it needs to be on you! I know it doesn’t often feel this way, but your new self is the righteous nature and the very holiness of God (imputed righteousness). That’s the real you. At your core, you are pulsing with the new life of Christ. And guess what? “The fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Ephesians 5:9). He’s just amazing that way. So if wearing the breastplate-if all this “putting off” and “putting on” is proving particularly difficult lately-realize you’re not alone. But realize something else too; you have an invisible partner every time you jump into battle and tug that breastplate over your heart. God is doing something this very minute to help you do what you otherwise could not. He is renewing your mind, realigning your passions and attitudes, and giving you strength to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and a blessing to others. What a perfect alternative to practice.

Day 4 Pickles and Ice Cream

Meditating on God’s Word, internalizing its principles, and then implementing them in your actions is what supports the work of God’s Spirit in renewing your soul. In growing you. In changing your taste buds. In adapting what you find most appetizing and fulfilling. If you only skim Scripture while you’re half asleep or as an afterthought between appointments, letting it go in one ear and coming out the other with little thought or determined interest, you’ll never receive the full benefits of what the living, active Word of God is prepared to produce in your life. As we’ll learn a bit later in this Bible study, God’s Word is the Spirit’s “sword.” It’s not only what He uses to grow you up and save your soul, but also to combat the enemy’s attempts to do damage to you. Please read more on pages 86-90. You’ll get the big picture!

Day 5 Strategy Session

As we come to the end of this beautiful week of study in the unchanging Word of our Almighty God, make a battle plan for wearing your breastplate. “Be imitators of God . . . and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2). The old man is dead and gone. You are no longer a slave to the flesh, to sin, to unrighteousness. You have been set free in Jesus and given new life.

Each Week Study “Overcomers” by Dr. David Jeremiah

Week # 3 “Overcoming evil with Good”

Week #3 Nuggets: Suit up Cards

Scripture: (Romans 12:17-21): The Breastplate, The Chest Plate

Characteristic: Righteousness

Usage: Guards the Heart

Armor Location: Chest

Arch Enemy: Evil

Enemies: Sin, Deception, revenge, schemes, corruption, hatred.

Charge: Love, Bless, Do good, pray. That is how you overcome evil with good. It’s the most revolutionary force in the world!

Questions:

1). Read Psalm 18:32-36, explain what you find.

2). Why should we put on the whole armor of God?

3). What is this piece “breastplate” is design for?

4). Putting on the armor of God requires a_______.

5). Read Matthew 6:33, explain this concerning the armor.

6). Share another way we put on our armor.

7). When armor is abused or worn incorrectly, it can____.

8). There several factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of our spiritual breastplate, name some.

9). Putting this breastplate on is practicing what?

10). When we don’t have an intimate relationship with God how do this effect us?

11). Reading the study book gives us the heart of the matter, what is it?

12). Between perfect, comparative, and imputed righteousness, which one defines us?

13). What is God doing right now to help you do what you cannot do?

14). Meditating on God’s Word help you in what way?

15). What did you get out of this week’s strategy session?

Remember This. . . .(Isaiah 54:17)

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”