The other day, I was reading in Ephesians 6 about how God has given us everything we need to live in victory in this life. He’s given us the authority of His name, He’s given us the power in His Word, and He’s given us His spiritual armor so that we can stand strong when things come against us in this life. Scripture tells us that we have the belt buckle of truth, the shield of faith, shoes of peace, and the helmet of salvation. But today, I want to focus on the breastplate of righteousness.
Righteousness is simply living in right standing with God. Once you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you receive God’s righteousness. You have His stamp of approval. You may not always feel it, but that’s when we have to receive it by faith. Faith gives substance to God’s promises and activates them in our life. How do we express our faith and put it into action? By declaring what we believe. In the same way that God spoke the world into existence, we have power to establish things with our words.
Today, I want to encourage you to put on God’s approval by faith. Put on your breastplate of righteousness along with the whole armor of God. See, you can have a great-looking outfit sitting on your bed, but if you don’t put it on, it’s not going to do you any good. But once you put it on, wear it well! No matter what comes against you, no matter what anyone else says, no matter what anyone else thinks, know that God chose you, He approved you, and He wants you to wear your blessing well!
Remember, the thing that can take you down the quickest in this life is thinking negatively about yourself. You can’t allow those destructive, negative thoughts to linger in your mind. You can’t let your thoughts push you around; you push your thoughts around! You have to take control of your thoughts because when you take control of your thoughts, you take control of your life. So dwell on the fact that you are approved by Almighty God! Choose to agree with Him, put on your armor, and wear it well!
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13, NKJ).
One time, Jesus was on the beach and saw a group of fishermen putting away their empty fishing nets. They had been out all night. Jesus walked over to them and asked if He could borrow their boat so He could push away from the shore and teach a large crowd of people that had gathered. Jesus had never met these fishermen before, but they allowed Him to borrow the boat. When He was finished, as a way to thank them, Jesus told them to launch out into the deep and they would catch a great number of fish. Now, these men began to reason it all out in their minds. They probably thought, “This man is a teacher. We are professional fishermen, and He’s telling us how and when to fish. Doesn’t He know this is how we make our living? We’ve been doing this for many years. We are experts in our field. We know when the fish are biting and when they aren’t, and now is not the time to fish!”
Friend, do you realize that sometimes you can know too much? Sometimes our own intellect can keep us from God’s best. If you listen to some of the experts on the economy long enough, they’ll talk you into going under. They’ll talk you into living a defeated life. Some medical reports will talk you into staying sick. Some news reports will keep you from pursuing your dreams. I know it’s always good to have information and understand things in the natural. I’m not saying to hide our heads in the sand. But at some point, you’ve got to get out of the natural and say, “This may be impossible with men, but I know with God all things are possible.” At some point, you’ve got to say to yourself, “I am not going to let circumstances direct me. I’m not going to allow any more doubt and unbelief to come into my mind. Yes, I want to know the facts, but the truth of God’s Word is what stands forever!”
The fishermen finally said to Jesus as politely as they could, “Sir, we’ve been fishing all night and didn’t catch anything. We are very knowledgeable. We are very experienced. This is not our first time out. And we appreciate your advice. We appreciate your suggestion, but we are extremely tired. We need to get home and get some rest. This is not a time to go fish.” Jesus replied, “Listen, men. This may not make sense to you. You may not understand it. But I know what I’m talking about. When I say there are fish out there, it may defy the odds. It may seem like a waste of your time, but you’ve got to realize, I control the fish! There may not have been fish out there last night or the night before or last year. But I can assure you, there are fish out there right now! They probably thought, “All right. This seems strange; it seems odd. Nevertheless at Your word, we will do it.” That’s the attitude we’ve got to have. “This doesn’t even make sense for me to believe. It doesn’t even make sense for me to get my hopes up. Nevertheless, if God says so, I’m going to believe so.” Well, those men went out and caught so many fish that their nets began to break! When they stepped out and obeyed Him by faith, He did exceedingly above what they could ever imagine!
Today, are you considering your circumstances, or are you considering your God? Are you fully persuaded that God is going to do what He promised? Or have you talked yourself out of it? It’s easy to think that your dream is too big or your problem is too great in the natural. But remember, we serve a supernatural God! Keep believing, keep moving forward, keep obeying His Word because He is faithful. If He said it, He will do it. Let your faith connect with His power and watch Him do extraordinary things in your life!
The Old Testament talks about how the king of Moab wanted to curse the Israelites. So he sent word to the prophet Balaam asking him to come to his city. The Israelites were about to come through where the Moabites lived. The king’s representative told Balaam, “Balaam, we know that whatever you ask of the Lord He will do. The king will pay you large sums of money if you’ll just come back with us and curse these people.” Balaam said, “Well, stay overnight and let me pray about it. But understand, I can only say what God tells me to say.” Balaam prayed about it, and in Numbers 22:12 God said, “Balaam, there’s no use in you going. What I have blessed you cannot curse.”
The king’s representatives went back and told the king that Balaam wouldn’t come. The king said, “Well, take some more money and go back and tell him he’s got to come and curse these people.” So, they went back and Balaam said, “Listen, guys. Even if you offer me a palace filled with silver and gold, I am powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God.” They stayed the night and finally talked Balaam into going. He got there and the king said, “Balaam, what took you so long? I’ve been waiting for you to curse these people.” Balaam said, “I’ll pray one more time, but I can only say what the Lord instructs me to say.” Balaam prayed, and the next morning he said to the king, “Here is what the word of the Lord says, ‘These people will succeed and become a great nation and have descendants too many to count.’ If I could just be one of them!” The king said, “Balaam! What are you doing? Would you stop? I’m paying you to curse them; instead, you’re blessing them.” Balaam said it again, “I cannot curse what God has already blessed.”
Friend, when you choose God’s way, when you humble yourself before Him, He said He will lift you up. When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are born again and have the DNA of Almighty God. His royal blood is flowing through your veins. You’re wearing His crown of favor. When somebody tries to curse you, or in other words, when somebody does you wrong, you got a bad break, you went through an unfair situation, or it looks like you have a cloudy future, know what God says about you. Know that if God is for you, no one can be against you. Keep yourself in step with Him, knowing that His blessing overrides the curse!
Everyone has days when they feel like things aren’t going the way they planned. We all have times when we feel like we don’t measure up, or we can’t meet the demands of the day, or things just seem out of control. But when you feel those heavy burdens trying to come upon you, know that you aren’t powerless and you do have a choice. You can either choose to stay stuck in those negative feelings, or you can lift up your eyes to Jesus and make an exchange with Him.
See, when you are a believer in Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Lord and Savior, you enter into a covenant with Almighty God. That means everything He has is yours, and everything you have is His. Because of your covenant with Almighty God, you can exchange your load for His. You can cast your heavy burdens, cast your cares, cast your worries and fears upon Him, and in exchange, you can take His yoke upon you. What is His yoke? Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In other words, He doesn’t want you to feel weighed down by the pressures of life. He simply wants you to trust Him. He wants you to be empowered through your union with Him. He wants to refresh you and give you His peace—that’s what He wants you to carry!
Remember, even though things may happen that are beyond your control, know that when you surrender your life to the Father, He will work things out for your good. Don’t let circumstances steal your joy and peace; instead, enter into His gates with thanksgiving in your heart! Sing a song of praise and cast your cares on Him. Know that He cares for you, He cares about you, and He will carry your burdens when you put your trust in Him!
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJ)