Bible reading: Luke15:11-32
As we continue our study on the armoury with which we fight as Christians, it is great to remember that God has not left us without weapons with which to do life. Today we get to zone in on the breast plate of righteousness.
What does it mean to be armed with the breast plate of righteousness ?
Who even wears breast plates these days ? I kind of picture it like a bullet proof vest. Or maybe thats just the plenty American movies I’ve watched playing in my head.
Righteousness is a man (not gender specific) being in a right standing with God. It’s beautiful that despite God’s high standards, you and I can stand totally free of guilt before Him because of the new heart that our faith in Jesus has created in us.
I think one of the battles that a Christian would constantly face is the doubt that can play in our heart of ‘am I good enough?’ or ‘is God pleased with me right now?’ That’s where our breast plate comes in. It’s that part of our armour that covers the heart.
Let me remind you that the gift of salvation that we have received is what produces a changed heart in us. It’s not the morality of our actions that gave us a good standing with God in the first place. It’s the power of God, which is locked up in the gospel of Jesus that creates a changed heart in us. It’s that already-received changed heart that then changes our actions.
As we read through this parable about the prodigal son I feel there are 3 truths we must constantly be remembering when we have these thought battles…
- The prodigal son, let’s call him Mickey… did actually squander the resources. He made poor decisions. He had his shortcomings. He strived and failed. We have all been there, where we didn’t act as we ought. I feel God’s standards for being in a right stand with him are so high, I never could really measure up…it’s the concept of sin. Just missing the mark and falling short of Gods glorious expectations. The devil can state facts of how Mickey messed up but rather than letting the doubts, questions or guilt stop him , I feel we should encourage Mickey to come to his senses and turn towards his father. That doesn’t mean the guy would never make mistakes even now that he is back in his father’s house, but I really do pray that he never questions his sonship.
- The father came to him whilst he was still a long way off. It’s amazing that whilst Mickey had speeches and plans on how to get back to his father’s good books, he just needed to change his mind and turn towards his father, his father was ready to cover the distance to meet him and love up on him. The father speaking to him wasn’t a voice of accusation for all his wrongs, it was a voice of affirmation of his sonship. This exemplifies Jesus’ coming to earth, that whilst we were striving and struggling to get out of our shortcomings and sin, Jesus came down from heaven, fixed the sin issue and made us right with God. This does not in any way belittle the son’s errors, it tells more of the father’s largess, his greatness, his mercy and his love… which he has bestowed on you. Yes, you.
- What happens next ? How do you expect Mickey to behave henceforth ?
Imagine him in his father’s robe going to sit with the pigs he formerly worked with just because he wanted to check if his father would still be pleased with him if he sat there. That means he hasn’t gotten it. Or him having conversations asking members of his father’s house, that can I do this and still be a son ?
No. Those are not the kind of conversations he should be having. I expect him to get about his father’s business. Get about his roles and responsibilities as a son…or even just put his feet up and relax in that knowing and realisation that he is a son in his fathers house. That robe sets him apart from the servants. You can’t go about feasting or flirting with pig’s food. Not when you are a son in this house. Being a son comes with responsibility.We can’t keep making poor decisions or flirting around our past lives and wear the robe of our fathers love and affirmation at the same time. That’s wrong!
You can’t just be walking and talking anyhow. No pigs food. You are wearing the father’s robe. There’s a new diet. There’s all sort of steak, chicken and God-blessed fish available for you. There’s all sorts of Christian fellowship, conversations and entertainment that you should be found around. Our righteousness is never in doubt, but it compels us.
The bible says you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. It’s bold, it’s brave, it’s audacious. It’s true.
So yeah, wear that robe, pick up that breast plate of righteousness, beat your chest. You are a child of God. It’s time you started acting like one.
Akin volunteers with the Prayer Team at Sycamore
Coin of Righteousness by Tolulope Moody.