Week 3: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Welcome to week 3 of our New Years Revolution!
As we continue to dig into our Armor of God series, we'll be learning from some of the most anointed, God-fearing, and lovely women I know. These are the kind of women you want to sit and do life with; and I can't wait for you to soak in their words and gaze at the beauty of their hearts.
This week, I am so excited for you to hear from my precious friend, Amy Thedinga. Amy is wildly in love with Jesus, and has profound wisdom and insight from the Lord. She's also a health & wellness freak (like me) so I know you'll love her.
Read on to nourish your soul with her devotional on the Breastplate of Righteousness. And, if you'd like to get to know Amy better, please click HERE.
The Breastplate of Righteousness:
Growing up, it was not uncommon for me to hear the phrase “shame on you” at home and at church. I know the people who said this to me were only trying to correct my behavior, but the sad fact of the matter is shaming someone never leads to true repentance. It always leads to bondage.
Over and over in scripture we hear the mention of the word “righteousness.” In Christian circles, the concept of righteousness is often associated with following the rules, believing the right things, being “in” and not out of the circle of acceptability to God based on our behavior.
But righteousness, as God sees it, is so much bigger than following the rules.
Righteousness is quite simply the state of being right. And God, through Christ gives us righteousness as a free gift. But we have to pick it up and put it on (Isaiah 59.17). This is easier said than done in the culture of guilt and shame that we live in.
In order to really dig deep and understand the beauty of the righteousness God offers us, we need to look a little closer at it’s opposites: guilt and shame.
Guilt says “I did wrong” and can be good thing because it alerts us to behavior that is not up to God’s standards and can lead us to repentance if we let it. Shame says “I am wrong” and is NEVER good. Shame doesn’t lead us to the Cross. It drowns us in the lie that we are unworthy to receive mercy and forgiveness. Without repentance, guilt leads to shame. Sadly, many religious people and institutions use shame as a means to get people to make right choices.
God’s way is different.
God doesn’t ever shame us, but he offers us His righteousness in exchange for our unrighteousness as a free gift. He speaks righteousness (the state of being right) over us as our identity. Not only do we have righteousness, but we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we make a choice that is beneath that identity, there is no shame or condemnation that comes from the Father. He whispers gently “daughter, this is not like you. You are better than that. Come closer to me and learn to get into agreement with Heaven over your life.”
The enemy fears this agreement above all else and will go to great lengths to keep you mired in shame. The adversary does this by shouting things like “you’re hopeless” – “you’ll never change” – “you call yourself a Christian?” – “you’re not worthy of forgiveness, love, belonging, a good life” - “you’ll always be fill in the blank (angry, fat, sad, alone, addicted, out of control, etc).”
The key to freedom is knowing the difference between God’s voice and the enemy’s.
Listen to me lovely one, God calls you righteous. When he sent his son into the world it was to set things right. It was to set you right. He gives you his righteousness as a free gift.
But there’s a catch. Like any gift, you have to receive it.
If you are trapped in a cycle of shame and the false humility it leads to, this can be a challenge. But I assure you it’s as simple as making a decision.
Get quiet before the Lord and just say something like “Father, I may not feel like I’m righteous but I choose to take you at your word. I choose to reject the lie that I am fundamentally wrong and affirm the truth that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Thank you father for your free gift of righteousness. I receive it with gladness.”
Do this over and over again, in obedience, and your feelings will eventually catch up with your faith. Soon, you will be able to recognize the voice of the evil one when he comes with his lies, accusations and shame and you will cut him off. Then, you will be skilled at picking up the breastplate of righteousness and putting it on.
There’s a reason why scripture refers to righteousness as a breastplate. It has a very specific function. Breastplates guard the chest, which contains the heart. Proverbs 4:23 tells us above anything else to guard our heart because out of it flows the issues of life.
Often times the accusations and rejections of the enemy come through the people in our lives – they are usually functioning out of their own brokenness and unwitting of his schemes. When we are hurt, our natural response is to harden our hearts to avoid being hurt again. This seems logical, but it actually causes us to live in a prison of our own making. When our heart is hard with resentment, we can’t feel the compassion, love and joy of the Holy Spirit. We can’t live into the abundant life God has for us.
The guarding of your heart with the breastplate of righteousness is a BIG deal. When you know the TRUTH of who God says you are. When you know that NO MATTER what anyone does or says to or about you, when you know that you are right and when you continually choose to come back to that truth, to God’s reality, you can forgive people, not take their actions and words inside of you and keep your heart soft and pliable in the Father’s hands.
However, if you haven’t picked up the breastplate of righteousness, if you are beaten down in shame and self-loathing, you are going to live in a way consistent with that identity. In other words, your life will be an outward reflection of your inner reality.
When you understand who you really are … a daughter of the Most High King who stands tall, confident and righteous in the presence of her loving Father - truly, nothing will be impossible for you.
Workout of the Week: Want to burn calories for up to 3 hours after you workout? Click on the video below to workout with Amber and Jenna Pfaff! This week's workout will touch every muscle group and has a nice cardio kick to fire up your metabolism.
*** Get ready....next week we'll premier Julie Ignacz and her rockin' barre workouts, as well as a beautiful balancing yoga flow by Kristin Gibowicz.
Recipe of the Week: AMY'S RAW BROWNIE BITES
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup raw cacao
1/4 cup coconut butter (can sub almond butter)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well combined.
Form into round balls and refrigerate.
Love in Christ,