Defending the Heart: Positional and Practical Righteousness
Ephesians 6:14 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place."
In ancient times, the breastplate was a vital component of a soldier's armor, safeguarding the heart and vital organs from attacks. The Apostle Paul draws on this imagery to emphasize the spiritual significance of righteousness. But what is this righteousness?
First, there's positional righteousness. This is the righteousness we receive the moment we place our trust in Christ. It's the divine transaction where our sin is placed on Jesus at the cross, and in exchange, his righteousness is given to us. It's an instantaneous, unchanging status. Regardless of our feelings or our performance, in God's eyes, we are as righteous as his Son, Jesus.
Then, there's practical righteousness. This is the ongoing process of our daily choices aligning more and more with God's standards. It's our positional righteousness in action each day. It’s living out who Jesus already says we are!
The breastplate of righteousness protects our emotions and hearts. When we know we're righteous in Christ, guilt, shame, or condemnation find it harder to penetrate our hearts. When we walk in practical righteousness, we avoid many emotional wounds resulting from sin and poor choices. By being aware of our position in Christ and making choices that honor him, we build a protective shield against the enemy’s attacks.
Today, take a moment to thank Jesus for gifting you with his righteousness. Throughout the day, before making decisions, pause to ask, "Is this action in line with the righteousness I've been given?"
Lord, thank you for the gift of righteousness through Jesus. Help me grasp the depth of this gift and walk in it each day. Shield my heart and emotions from attacks and help me make choices that honor you. In Jesus' name. Amen.