Put on the Breastplate
In Matthew 5:20, Jesus tells the people: …Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The term righteousness by definition has several meanings. Its first definition is: Being strictly observant of morality; always behaving to a religious or moral code. The second is: Justifiable; considered to be correct or justifiable. The third is: Responding to injustice; arising from the perception of great injustice or wrong doing.
Now, when I compare the leaders of the church to Christ I am seeing a direct opposition. Living in righteousness, enforcing righteousness, and teaching righteousness can all be separate ideas, but, when we follow the teaching of Christ we begin to live and teach others to do so always. The leaders of the churches most often believe that they are above following the righteousness of the faith and then, in turn, allow themselves to be corrupted by money, politics and ego. Yes, righteousness dwells in them, but they do not allow that righteousness to shine forth before all men. People will serve them, not out of love or respect, but out of self preservation. They feel that if they do not do as they are asked they will be punished.
We are called to be servants, not dictators. The roles we have in this life range greatly. How about the role of a spouse? How about the role of a father or mother to their child and the role of a child to his/her parents? How about the role of the Christian in the workplace or restaurant? How about the role of a friend, brother and confidant? These are all important roles we have in life and when we are Christians we are to be Christ to the people that we surround ourselves with. We are to show our righteousness by the way we live, behave and live. We are to live our righteousness… we are to be righteous.
The righteousness we are to have should be as Christ prescribed. Saint Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, told us to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. It is true that the breastplate was worn to cover the vital organs of the body, but also showed the rank and the glory of the army they served. We are to serve Christ in His army, and we need to show the world our righteousness by how we live and serve Him and mankind. People see us when we are in the world, and they need to see our righteousness and love. They judge our faith, our church and our God by how we live and how we serve.
Christ came to the earth and lived with us. He ate, slept and walked with regular men and women. He chose people who were regular, everyday people to help Him and live with Him. What He taught He lived. What He lived He taught. Jesus wore His and His Father’s righteousness for the whole world to see and no matter what He did—He did it in love. Everything He said He lead by the example of righteousness—by the Moral Code.
God created us out of wanting to share His great and abundant love and He gave us freewill, and through that freewill we fell into sin and temptation. Satan’s injustice and wrong doing plagued mankind with the greatest pain a Father could see on His children—death. Christ came to the Earth and lived with us out of His response to the injustices He saw. Satan had ruled and dominated long enough and it had to be stopped. Christ’s righteousness conquered death forever and through that righteousness He wanted us to live and have the same righteousness as He has.
We need to ask ourselves questions such as:
Do we live in accordance to THE Moral Code given by Christ?
I am not talking about what the churches want, because let’s face it, most people do not want to go to church because of the hypocrisy and evil that is infesting it. However, with that said, my mother always tells me, “If all the good people leave the church, what will be left?” I am not saying I am good, or righteous, I am saying that I do try. I try to live a life according to what Christ wants, and I try to live by His moral code of love, and truth be told I fail every day.
Do we stand up for the injustices of the world?
How often do we say, I want to make a difference and do nothing? How often do we see those being mistreated, abused and broken and yet step over them. We are to serve Christ in righteousness by the example we are suppose to live by. We cannot be righteous, unless righteousness dwells in us, unless Christ dwells in us. Most people of this world, (or really let’s only focus on the Christians, because we are to be the lights of the world), say they are righteous, but do the opposite when they get in the work place or in public. Do we stand up against the evil of our governments and churches? Do we stand up against the perverseness of TV shows and movies that show perversion of marriage, perversion of sex and violence? Do we let our children play games that show extreme violence, sex and contain the use of foul language?
Now I am not going to lie to you and say that I do not watch some of those shows or play some of those games. I am a sinner and I fail every day. I love the Lord my God, but I do fall and struggle and get banged up and beaten up by the seductions of the world just like everyone else. I try to be righteous by living to the moral code of Christ—and truth be told, IT IS HARD! But I try, and ask forgiveness and keep putting on my breastplate of righteousness and keep fighting.
Are we exceeding the righteousness of the leaders in our lives?
Well, I wrote a great deal about this question above, and most days I would say…no. I do not live up to my moral code and I do not stand up against the injustices of the world—I am only one man! However, with that said, could I do more? Yes, I can. We are called to be God’s elect. We are all called to be saints. We are all called to the heavenly and divine army of warriors that are supposed to lead the unbelievers to the truth with love. We are called to be righteous and live up to everything that righteousness means.
Throughout the scriptures we read the word righteousness over three hundred times. It is important and vital to our walk with God. We, as Christians, are to hold each other accountable for our actions. We are to hold each other to a higher degree of responsibility. If we are to be and to call ourselves Christians, then let us live and be Christians. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, (I have written about this before) that we are to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and HIS righteousness and everything will be added unto us! What a powerful promise! Everything we need will be added to our lives if we just live in His grace and love.
Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness and fight the good fight. Draw your sword and wage war against the evil and corruption of the world—YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We stand with you and we fight with you and most importantly God has gone out before us in battle and destroyed the enemy. We have already won the war; it’s the battles that we need help with.