But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
–1 Timothy 6:11
This week we are taking inventory of the resources God has given us for spiritual warfare. The second piece of armor in our inventory is the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). A soldier’s breastplate was a form-fitting metal shell that covered the soldier’s torso and protected his vital organs. What is the breastplate for the Christian? Paul said it is righteousness. In the Bible, the term “righteousness” is used in three different ways. Sometimes it refers to self-righteousness–what we tried to do before we were a Christian to earn God’s forgiveness. Is that the kind of righteousness Paul was talking about? I don’t think so. There is a second term for righteousness in the Bible, and that is imputed righteousness. The moment you put your trust in Jesus Christ to save you from your sins, a wonderful transaction takes place: God takes his righteousness and puts it on you so that when He looks at you, He no longer sees your sin; He sees the goodness of Jesus Christ. But I do not think that was the kind of righteousness Paul was talking about, either. After all, having the assurance of heaven does not exempt you from Satan’s attacks in your life. So what was Paul talking about? The third kind of righteousness is practiced righteousness, or obedience. In 1 Timothy 6:11, Paul wrote to Timothy, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” Paul was not talking about Timothy’s right standing before God; he was talking about Timothy’s right acting before God. One way you and I deflect Satan’s attacks in our life is by obeying God, by not having any chinks in our armor that give the enemy a way to take us down. Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil an opportunity.” That is the righteousness that protects us–obedience to God.
The third piece of armor is what I call the boots of the gospel. Ephesians 6:15 says, “Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Foundational to a Roman soldier were his shoes. At the bottom were metal studs, just like the cleats in an athlete’s shoe. These studs would give him traction so that he could stand firm against the onslaught of the enemy. If we want to withstand Satan’s attacks in our life, we have to have the right foundation: the preparation of the gospel of peace. If sharing the gospel with other people is the foundational reason for your life, that gives you a reason for not giving in to Satan. Let me be really personal with you: Whenever I am tempted by dishonesty, or ethical issues, or immorality, there are several things I think about. First, I think, “If I give in to this, how will it affect my family? How would my fall affect my wife, Amy, who has been my best friend for fifty years? How would it affect my children and my grandchildren?” Second, I think, “How would it affect the church I pastor?” Then I think, “How would it affect the people I have had the privilege of leading to faith in Christ? How would my fall give the enemies of God a reason to blaspheme God’s name?” That is a strong motivation for me to say no. And that is not just for preachers–that is for all of us. God says when we make sharing the gospel our foundational reason for living, it gives us a reason for not giving in to Satan.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #3: Take Inventory” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.