Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Ten : Do-It-Yourself (Breastplate of Righteousness)

Stand firm then, ….. with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
(Ephesians 6:14)

Soldiers going into battle would be very careful about putting on the right breastplate.  They might all look the same, but sometimes you might get one with cracks in it, or a weak spot.

In theory a soldier could make his own breastplate.  He could find a piece of metal, and beat it into the right shape.  But however much it might look like a real breastplate, it would be weak and useless.  The first thrust with a sword would go clean through it.

It might actually be worse than wearing nothing -  a glancing blow might cause the “breastplate” to crumple and stab the soldier.  The very thing he tried to use to protect him might hurt him.

In the same way, we could try and make our own righteousness, but it would be worse than useless.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
   and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6)

Our own righteousness is no better than a filthy rag.  If you use a filthy rag to try and clean something, you just make it more filthy.  If we try to use our own righteousness as a breastplate, the slightest knock might kill us.

We need to put on someone else’s righteousness.

We can never start thinking that we can be righteous in our own strength.  Any more than we could make a breastplate of righteousness out of aluminium foil. 

And if we try, we will lead ourselves into pride and walk down paths that take us straight into Satan’s clutches.

Our righteousness comes from the Lord.

End of story.

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