I’m still writing on the Armor of God. Last week’s title, “Caught With Your Pants Down” might have thrown you for a loop, but it was about the Belt of Truth. Today’s post is about the Breastplate of Righteousness—I’m just trying to be clever with my titling. I realize that occasionally my titles miss the mark completely…just bear with me, I’m a work-in-progress. Aren’t we all?
A few months ago, my friend informed me that Reformed theologians, of which I am one, think they’re right about everything. My response was, “We don’t think we’re right about everything, we just think everyone else is wrong.” Don’t we all have the tendency to think we’re right and they’re wrong? It is the slippery slope of self-righteousness. I’m right, therefore you’re wrong.
Arguments with your spouse, kids, roommates, or friends typically occur under this basis:
“If only he would load the dish washer correctly—plates in the back, bowls around the side, spoons and forks pointing up and segregated from each other so you can unload it quicker.” See, I can learn…I’m very trainable!
“I do a lot for this family, and she doesn’t even appreciate me or recognize my contributions…she takes me for granted and won’t even admit when she’s wrong.” “He doesn’t listen to me or notice me. He’s so wrapped up in himself that he won’t even acknowledge my validity.”
“Why can’t he understand that the toilet paper must come from underneath—it’s the right way…why can’t she understand that the toilet paper must come over the top—it’s the right way.”
Self-righteousness rears it’s ugly head in so many formats, one can hardly describe them all. I’m guilty of so many of them. They typically occur through condemning others based on your own rightness:
- How can you eat that?
- By believing that, you’re putting God in a box!
- You use your and you’re incorrectly…and irregardless isn’t a word!
- You can’t do Santa Claus on Christmas!
- How can you let your children watch that program?
Self-righteousness instills in all of us, a Pharisaic worldview.
“If I’m right, I’m important. In fact, I’m so important I have no need for Christ.”
Without Christ, we end up putting on our own breastplate of self-righteousness—and that breastplate is about as useful as a stormtrooper’s armor. Check out this hilarious clip from Family Guy…trust me it’s not inappropriate. After viewing the clip, just hit the back arrow on your browser to return to my blog.
The breastplate of self-righteousness is useless. Self-righteousness weighs us down, gets in the way, and is a deterrent in battle. Like the stormtroopers, we may as well not even wear it.
The breastplate, however, was one of the most important pieces in the Roman soldier’s armor—it protected his vital organs. Without a breastplate, the soldier was an easy target. God recognized how important a quality breastplate was to our survival and protection against the enemy. Knowing also, how worthless our own attempts at righteousness were, God sent Jesus through whom our true righteousness could be obtained. Through faith in Jesus, through humbling ourselves and recognizing the futility in seeking rightness on our own, God offers us a breastplate of righteousness that can easily deflect the arrows of our enemy.
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.”
Through faith in Jesus, God offers us a breastplate, less like that of the stormtroopers and more like the mithril shirt of Frodo Baggins…where the spear of a cave troll cannot penetrate its protection.
As the enemy’s legions stand on guard waiting for the opportune time to strike, they find my self-righteousness irresistible. Self-righteousness isn’t just a kink in one’s armor, it’s a wide open gap. Like the stormtrooper’s armor, our self-righteousness is useless against the weapons of our enemy. When I’m most vulnerable, I can trust that my faith in Jesus will protect me. By humbling myself, considering my own ambition to be right as useless garbage in comparison to the Gospel, and placing my hope at the foot of the cross, God promises me the protection of His own righteousness. God makes me right through faith…and that—and only that—protects my heart and soul from the devil.