Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: 2nd Corinthians 5: 14-19(MsgB)
Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at Him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing.
So today, as a follower of Jesus, the Breastplate of Righteousness…the “right-standing” with God, the Creator of the Universe…should be the game-changer that removes our lowly existence as selfish sinners and takes us to a place of true honor, standing right beside Jesus, the One who made all this possible.
But what’s that you say? You sinned today? You acted selfishly? You intentionally went ahead and fed your self-esteem instead of looking to God, your Father, for help?
Welcome to the club.
You see, just because we are in “right-standing” with God, doesn’t mean we are immune from our self-centered sinfulness. Paul, the one who tells us about the Breastplate of Righteousness in his letter to the Ephesians (6: 10-18), is the same Paul who speaks of his own battle (Romans 7: 19)…
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.
So now, as we close this section on the Breastplate of Righteousness, let me encourage you by saying that the first two pieces of armor we’ve looked at thus far (Truth & Righteousness) must go hand-in-hand, if the other four pieces of armor we’re about to talk about are to make any sense at all.
You see, wearing the Belt of Truth must mean that you and I will be truthful about ourselves…even when the Truth hurts! So as a follower of Jesus who slips on the Breastplate of Righteousness on a daily basis, I must fully realize two important truths:
- Righteousness (right-standing with God) comes only as a gift from God through Jesus’ act of obedience upon the cross.
- Just because I’m now seen as “righteous” before God, doesn’t give me a free ticket to believe that I’m above selfish behavior and sinful activity.
Get it? So what have we learned here today, class?
I think Paul says it best in his comments to the Corinthian church:
Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
You and I, on a daily basis, as we slip on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness, must make a firm decision to “work from this focused center”…Jesus of Nazareth. He is the beginning and the end for all we do in and for God. And what about this wonderful commission Paul then invites us into…
God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing.
God put things right so you and I can go out in Jesus’ name, telling the other folks out there that they, too, can get a fresh start in life, just like us…a new life provided freely by the amazing work of Jesus on the cross!
How cool is that?
We’ll pick up on that theme next time. Join us!
My prayer: Father God, what can I say? To be invited to be Your friend is just about the best invitation I’ve ever received! I say yes. And I say thank You for the Truth and the Righteousness You provide for me along the way. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I being truthful about my righteousness? Am I fully aware that all righteousness comes from God, and even while I’m yet a self-centered sinner, I’m invited by God to step out of that lifestyle and become a friend of God, in “right-standing” with the Divine?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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