Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. (NASB)
I find it interesting to note that the Lord Himself put on the breastplate of righteousness. (Isaiah 59:17) The breastplate is the piece of armor that protects the vital organs, most importantly, the heart. How important then it is for us to put on this piece of armor.
So how would you define righteousness? Webster's defines it as "acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin." Is it our behavior? Or is there more to it than that? 1 Corinthians 1:30 states that Jesus became righteousness to us, among other things. Romans 3:10 says. "There is none righteous, not even one." And 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (Jesus)
So righteousness is not only our behavior, but something that we who are in Christ possess, something we become. How very cool is that! The breastplate we wear is not forged by our own hands, not by our works of righteousness, but Christ's redeeming work on the cross. I had not thought of righteousness in those terms before. Yes, there is much work that I can do everyday to protect my heart. I need to chose to live according to God's ways. I do not want to have a zeal for God but not for His righteousness. Romans 10:1-3 contains such a sad commentary from Paul when he states, "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them (Jews who are lost) is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." It is vital for my heart that I submit myself to the righteousness of God. Remember back to my post at the beginning of this series: The Armor of God? Oh how Satan would love for us to take charge of our own lives- to be our own master. He would love for us to set up our own rules and regulations to follow, especially if they get in the way of submitting to God. But righteousness in my own eyes is not Righteousness and will not protect me from those flaming arrows aimed at my heart. In this is a reminder for the daily submitting of my own will to the One who is my righteousness.