Do You Have It or Do You Not Have It? ~ blog
Not everything is black or white in life. Right now, we are learning that Black Lives Matter and I know that needs to be empathized because of the history of racism in our nation for over 400 years and for hundreds of years before that…like all the way back to Babel. Sadly, there are still are plenty of racists and people who think they are “supreme” because they are white. Yet, they show that is false by the non-supreme things they think, do, and say.
If in the evolution of man the top of the scale is to have an old pickup truck with a gun rack, a Confederate flag, and a dog in the back then I hope to evolve no further and believe that all people are created in the image of God and worthy of honor and respect…but I digress.
What I really want to talk about today is the second piece of the full armor of God that we have been given and need to put on every day, and that is the breastplate of righteousness. And that is something you either have it or you don’t. The good news is that if you have been born-again and received by faith the gift of salvation from God then you have it. If you have not, then you do not.
See, a lot of amazing things happened in the moment you accepted Christ as your Savior, and part of that gift of salvation is righteousness. Perhaps you did not know that. You opened the gift of salvation and got so excited like a kid on Christmas morning, you pulled out the big part of the gift like forgiveness and eternal life but you left this part in the bag and did not know it is part of the whole deal.
Here is another great truth about our salvation along with being born again and alive spiritually. We were spiritually dead and separated from God…we are now adopted by God, sealed with the Holy Spirit, guaranteed eternal life in heaven, we are given the righteousness of Christ. God has declared that we are righteous even though we are still on the journey of experiencing this righteousness. It is a process of transformation by the Spirit as we grow in Christ.
But wait a minute John…my sexual brokenness has been controlling a growing amount of my time and life. How can I feel so unrighteous and yet be righteous? That is because God has given us the righteousness of Christ and in one sense, even though we are not yet completely holy in God’s mind we are already holy. See it in these two verses;
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5.21
“By this will (God’s will) we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
Ok, I know this sounds weird but, in the Bible, there are a number of things which are true for us even though we have not experienced them yet in our life. And the righteousness of Christ is one of them. This is clear in that last verse from Hebrews 10:14. By the one sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world, He has perfected us forever, for all eternity, we have been perfected and made holy…even though in the here and now we are in the process of being made holy.
In the moments of our lives where we are battling against sexual sin and have a long history of sexual sins, we lose sight of this truth. We forget that God has given to us the righteousness of Christ now and we will be perfected forever later.
Therefore, one of the pieces of the full armor of God is to be wearing the breastplate of righteousness. So, how exactly does one put on this piece of armor? How does this knowledge of my having the righteousness of Christ help me in this battle with demonic powers and sexual sin?
Well, our reality is when we come to that point of temptation where we must choose to obey our Lord or become enslaved again to our lusts, we are once again in the process of learning to make the right choice instead of the wrong choice.
And if we have prepared ourselves for battle, having on the breastplate of righteousness means we simply seek to do the next right thing. In fact, in my own life when I first sense I am being tempted I literally say to myself; “John what is the next right thing you need to do?” And then I do it. Asking myself that simple question has helped me over the years to stay on the righteous path God has for me each day.
Reminding myself of the truth helps me defeat the lies from my evil opposition. They want me to think about how sinful a man I have been. What a complete failure I have been in this battle with lust and so I might as well go and have another sweet taste of sexual sin. I respond with the thinking that Christ died so that I could be righteous both with His righteousness given to me and me simply doing the next right thing.
Now, this has not always been easy for me. In those early days of recovery when my mind was craving another orgasm and the chemicals that would flood my brain and for a while, I would feel really good. But I also knew that after that good feeling would come days and weeks of hiding again in my fear and self-loathing.
And it seemed like every time I did the next right thing; I was growing a little stronger. Today, almost 15 years down the road of doing more right things and less wrong things there has been a gradual transformation in my heart and my desires. I know desire holiness. I rather enjoy the silly little temptations being thrown at me and like the softball pitches they have become I crush them out of the park for another homerun.
How about you? You’re up!!!