“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place…”
What is truth? This is a question plagued by our society, and probably the whole world. Do we not see it around every corner? People searching in all the wrong places for truth. But did you know, it was also a question plagued by the world over 2000 years ago too? Look at John 18:37-38. Jesus is with Pilate, and Jesus says to him, “I am a king, as you say. This is why I was born. I was brought into this world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” To which Pilate responds, “What is truth?” If this isn’t a reflection of Pilate’s heart, then I’m not sure what would be. Can you imagine being in his position? Standing face to face with THE TRUTH, convinced that Jesus is innocent, yet torn with what society wanted him to do. How would you have responded? Have you ever been in such a place of turmoil with what was true vs what you “had” to do? I think it’s safe to say that the way a person responds to objective truth, the Word of God being that objective truth, shows their heart’s condition; it’s a reflection of their righteousness.
When faced with the truth, how do you respond? Are you defensive or humble? Does your reaction depend on how the truth is shown to you? Should it really matter how truth is shown, if it is in fact the truth?
Truth is the basis of our faith, it is our foundation. At some point in time, your heart was faced with the truth about who Jesus is, the Savior, Messiah. And in your frailty, humility, and deep heart ache for His presence you submitted to the truth, you submitted your life and heart to Christ. Thus beginning your journey in truth. Jesus is the the way, the truth, and the light (John 14:6). Your heart responded to the truth that Jesus is the truth.
Do you remember that moment you responded to Him? What was it like to finally know real, unadulterated, living truth?
There is beautiful freedom that comes with knowing Jesus (John 8:32). We have Joy by knowing the Truth (John 17:13). We are sanctified by the truth; God’s word is truth (John 17:17). We are to worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). The Gospel of John is filled with Jesus’ words, and it seems to me that every other word out of His mouth is about truth: what truth is, where we find it, what to do with it.
The more I dug in to this idea of truth. The Word of God being truth, and Jesus being truth, the more amazed I was at the connectivity of everything. I used to have a faith that was so segmented. Like a child building with blocks , one piece on top of the other, but still separate pieces. And now, as I dig into His Word in a way that I never have before, it’s like I’m now building with brick and mortar. Everything is connected, it’s not disjointed and segmented anymore.
If the Word of God is our objective, solid, always relevant, yet never contradictory truth, then are you living your life according to it’s truth? According to God’s truth?
You’ve been exposed to the truth. If you’ve made the choice to believe God’s words, accept Jesus as your Savior and asked Him to be a part of your life then you are continuously exposed to the truth through Holy Spirit’s work. What are you going to to do with the truth? Are you going to be responsive and obedient, or are you going to brush it off? My friend told me once that her mother-in-law, who is a born again Christian, refused to further her knowledge of God and faith because she didn’t want to be accountable for what He revealed to her. Are you scared of the truth?
What you choose to do with the truth is going to determine your righteousness. Now, I’m battling with this statement because it’s not completely true, but to an extent it is. Your righteousness is not your own, it has been placed in you by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection (Philippians 3:9). God Himself is righteousness (Psalm 11:7, Psalm 24:5, Psalm 37:6). Isaiah 56:1 “Thus says the Lord, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed.”” Who does it sound like He might be talking about? Couldn’t be Jesus could it? God sent His righteousness down to Earth in the form of a man, not removing any bit of His holiness, leaving it all. In order that His Word would be fulfilled; in order that you may attain everlasting relationship with Him; in order that His name would be known.
Our righteousness is not our own, it is not our weight to bare. The righteousness is Jesus’ alone; so, you may rest in knowing that you are not responsible for perfection. You are not responsible to please God, for He is already pleased with you. Otherwise, why would you exist?
Although our righteousness is not our own, we are still responsible for what we do with the truth revealed to us.
Figuratively, this breastplate of righteousness protects our heart, and emotions, and their desires as they bear our decisions. But we can’t rely on on our heart, emotions and desires unless we are also permeated with the truth. And if you’re living in truth then you’re going to remember not to make decisions based on feelings, and emotions. Here in Ephesians 6:14 we see the breastplate of righteousness; 1 Thessalonians 5:8 refers to the Breastplate of Faith. This indicates that the righteousness we have is a result of obeying the faith that God births in our hearts. If you take a look at James 2:14-26, you’ll see that the work of faith and righteousness go hand in hand. For our works of faith are proof of our righteousness, or rather, proof of the righteousness of God that dwells within us.
So what does a life look like when truth is permeating a heart, and righteousness is abounding? Romans 10:4-10 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices righteousness which is based on the law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith…” will result in true righteousness and salvation. A life filled with truth knows that we are set free in Christ of all sin and bondage. It’s filled with unspeakable joy because of what God did for us. That life is covered with peace despite any circumstance.
Take a look at Psalm 132:9 “Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness and let Your godly ones sing for joy.” Now take a look at 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” Those verses sum everything up for me: we lived in darkness because we did not know the truth, we were exposed to the truth, accepted the truth and now live in the truth. In response to the truth we now live in we are clothing ourselves with righteousness. It’s not that I’m doing the right things because God told me to. It’s that, God loved me so much, He let my heart know and understand the truth and now I want to live right for His sake.
Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” God isn’t demanding us to love Him and obey His commands. Rather He is leading us down a peaceful path, filled with His love. His heart behind commands and laws and rules is not to control. His heart is this, “I love you, therefore you need to know….”