seek and you will find, what Love can do

Armor of God (pt.3 righteousness)

breastplate

 

 

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” (Eph. 6:14)

 

Okay, I had to do some research for this one. First of all, I wasn’t completely sure I knew what a breastplate was, and furthermore, I wanted to know exactly what image Paul had in his mind when he used this word.

 

So I did some digging. Since the Roman empire was thriving and conquering for a long, long time, it makes sense that what the typical person thought of as armor would be different depending on what time frame you are dealing with, as weapons and armor evolve with technology. Furthermore, the standard armor for a Roman soldier would vary depending on what region of the empire the soldier is currently occupying, factoring in available resources and climate.

 

So here is what I came up with. If you are reading this and you are a leading expert in ancient armor, please let me know if I have something wrong. Otherwise, just assume that I know what I’m talking about.

 

I used as an example, the Roman guard (or centurion). These were extremely prevalent in large cities like Rome and Jerusalem (where Jesus was tried and convicted), because they were the visible protectors of the realm and the legions that protected Roman leadership.

 

It turns out that a breastplate for a Centurion was not a plate, but rather an assembly of metal plates which overlapped for ease of movement. They were held together with strips of leather laced through bored holes. These were not the most efficient in the heat of battle. It seems that if the wrong string was cut, the breastplate would essentially come apart. (See image above.)

 

I understand why Paul used this piece of armor in association with righteousness.

 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

First of all, what is righteousness and why do I need it? Ugh. More research.
It’s not so bad. I have a wonderful thesaurus called Rodale’s Synonym Finder. {writers…if you don’t have one, look into it. It’s amazing.}

 

Anyway, the word righteousness throws me because we tend to associate the word with self-righteousness, or some one who is “holier than thou.” At the very least, it smacks of religion and someone who obeys lots of rules.

 

However, in my thesaurus, I found words like faithfulness, innocence, and purity. That got me to thinking.

 

Part of my stress, I have discovered, comes from the idea that as a believer, I am supposed to be good. Inside I know, I can never measure up to the ideal in my head, so I get frustrated. Also, sometimes I think I am letting God down, because I am the farthest thing from righteousness. I imagine people thinking, “God hasn’t done much for her. She’s a mess just like the rest of us.”

 

I believe that Paul was suggesting that that kind of righteousness takes a lot of work to put together, and like that breastplate, we may piece a few good deeds together, but it still won’t be a perfect fit. Moreover, one bad day and the whole thing comes unraveled.

 

Roman soldiers were often seen between battles maintaining, repairing and polishing their armor. My righteousness is worn thin. Some days it doesn’t do much of anything. I have chinks in my armor that make me feel vulnerable. I try to make it look polished but it’s no use. My best tact is probably just to embrace the scars and dents, because they remind me of past battles. I won something valuable, even when I lost.

 

My real righteousness is the knowledge that wraps around my heart and reminds me that God still sees me as innocent and pure. Whatever happens in the battle today, I will be brave and confident, because my failures are forgiven. I am good and ‘right’ in the eyes of God.

 

 

Conclusion: I have no righteousness. I can try to be righteous and I will fail miserably.  All I have to do is faithfully show up, dents, scratches, and all.

 
I am protected by the power of forgiveness and Love. I feel better, braver, and stronger when I remember that I am made in His image. There is something inside me that is flawless.

 

I can put on the righteousness of how my Father sees me. In his eyes I am amazing, perfect, beautiful, right, shiny and new.

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I am learning a lot.

 

Be blessed!
I Love you all!

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