Why do Christians fall away from their faith? Never forget that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1Peter 5:8). Because we live within the spirit world, we must always be vigilant for demonic attacks. Those attacks can be wrong thoughts or temptation to sin, but they are often through other people who offend us.
The reason Christians fall is that they take off the breastplate of righteousness that protects their heart from the daily temptations to be prideful or to give in to their sinful desires. The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts from sinning or becoming offended. Being offended causes us to be self-focused and prideful, then we say and do unkind things. The breastplate of righteousness also protects us from God’s wrath for sin by reminding us to do what is good and pleasing in His sight. For example, do you think Christian leaders who fall into sexual sins have on the breastplate of righteousness?
The first step to putting on the breastplate of righteousness is to ask Jesus to forgive your sins, come into your heart and be your Lord. 2Corinthians 5:21 states, “For our sake, he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God’s righteousness protects you when you make Him Lord of your life, which means you surrender your life to do His will. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And 1Peter 4:2 states, “So as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” Also, 1John 2:17 states, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
How do you know if you are righteous?
The righteous walk by faith (Habakkuk 2:4b; Romans 1:17b). Galatians 3:11 states, “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” And Hebrews 10:38 states, “But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Also consider, Hebrews 11:6, which states, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
The righteous die to sin, then practice righteousness. 1John 3:7 states, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” Also, 1John 3:10 states, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” And 1John 2:29 states, “If you know that he [Jesus] is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” 1Peter 2:24a also states, “He [Jesus] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
The righteous rejoice in the Lord and gives thanks. Psalm 97:12 states,”Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!” And Psalm 64:10 states, “Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!” Also, Psalm 140:13 states, “Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.”
The righteous are wise and increase in learning. Proverbs 9:9 states, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” And Proverbs 10:31a “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.” Also, Psalm 37:30 states, “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.”
The righteous hates falsehood (Proverbs 13:5a). Proverbs15:28a states, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer.”
The righteous are not selfish but gives. Psalm 37:21 states, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.” And Proverbs 21:26b states, “The righteous gives and does not hold back.”
The righteous serve God and desires to do His will. Malachi 3:18 states, “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” And John 9:31 states, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” Also, Isaiah 48:18 states, “Oh, that you had paid attention (listened) to my commandments (instructions)! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
The righteous pursue righteousness. 1Timothy 6:11 states, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” And 2Timothy 2:22 states, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Also, Romans 6:13 states, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
According to what you have just read, do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? From the list above, where do you need to improve?
The best way to practice righteousness is to fear God.
Hebrews 11:7 states, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” God told Noah to build an ark and gather two of every kind of animal to survive a great flood, something they never experienced. Noah faced constant ridicule from the wicked people around him. But he obeyed God out of reverent fear, and because of his faith, he was considered righteous.
The fear of God is to have a deep respect and awe of His mighty power and love. We demonstrate reverent fear by obedience to God’s Word and loving Him. Deuteronomy10:12-13 states, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?” Do you fear God, walk in all His ways, love and serve Him, and obey His instructions? The following verses describe what it means to fear God:
You who fear the Lord, praise Him! …glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him. –Psalms 22:23
Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. –1Samuel 12:24
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh [body]; and refreshment to your bones. –Proverbs 3:7-8
Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity (the pit). –Proverbs 28:14
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. –Psalms 115:11
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! –Psalms 34:9
Conclusion The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts from becoming offended and to be tempted to give in to our fleshly desires. When we seek to please God, we will love those who hurt us and not allow sinful desires to trap us in pleasing ourselves or being unkind. Being righteous requires that we make Jesus Christ Lord of our lives and surrender our will to do His will. The person who has on the breastplate of righteousness will walk by faith, die to sin, rejoice in the Lord, increase in wisdom, hate falsehood, give, serve God, and pursue righteousness. Fearing God helps us keep the breastplate of righteousness on by reminding us to trust Him, shun evil (sinning), and do what is good.
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