The Purpose of Righteous Living

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 

I like how Paul (the author of the book of Ephesians) says “therefore” when saying to put on the armor of God. He’s saying that because there is a battle going on, we NEED to put on the whole armor of God. He’s not saying to do it simply because it’s how God desires for us to live, but he is saying it is necessary based on the situation.

Many times, when people look at what it means to live a life of righteousness, they choose not to do so because it seems like a difficult standard to live by.

But if we understand the purpose or righteousness, we’ll understand it’s for our own good and it’s not God putting restrictions on us. In describing righteousness, Paul chooses to use the breastplate.

Ephesians 614 … with the breastplate of righteousness in place”

The purpose of a breastplate is for protection in a battle, and likewise living a life of righteousness is for our own protection. We go to battle every day whether we like it or not.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Who do you think is going to be in a better position for a battle? The one who goes in with no gear and is unaware of what’s going on? Or the one who is suited up and knows there’s a battle going on? Living a life of righteousness is not an easy thing to do. But we have the Holy Spirit to help us. As the Holy Spirit works on the inside of us, we become more yielded and submitted to the Holy Spirit, and righteousness becomes a  lifestyle instead of something we have to strive for.

I see the Holy Spirit as an activation for the armor of God. In a superhero movie, a superhero can have their suit on but have no power. They might need to press a button or do something to activate the power of the suit. If we try to put on the whole armor of God, without God himself, we’re wearing a suit with no power. Living a life of righteousness takes God himself, and he has given us the Holy Spirit to help.  Also, it turns out living out a life with God is actually an incredibly fun and life-transforming experience.

Learning to live a life of righteousness and becoming more Christ-like is a never-ending process, but it’s one that’s worth going through. The spiritual battle continues regardless of our choice to be submitted to the Holy Spirit or not. It is important we have the right gear for the battles we will face in life. The good news is that with God, we’re fighting a rigged war.

 

IT’S BEEN AN UNCOMFORTABLE YEAR

This year has been one of the most uncomfortable years of my life. But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for anything.

God really took me through a process this year and brought me into deeper relationship with him. Right from January God pulled me in and I’ve really seen John 15 at work since. A.k.a a pruning process.

I learned so much about myself and how to better myself this year. I learned how much I gossiped about people, how being lazy hindered me and how I was chasing the wrong things for validation. But I’ve also learned how to have an attitude of gratitude in every situation, how to be more patient, how to be more selfless and so much more. I am seeing the negative characteristics being worked out of me and my behavior reflect Christ more and more.

I’ve seen my relationship with God go from the occasional prayer and devotion reading, to spending time in the word and prayer on a daily basis, to praying and speaking the word constantly throughout the day.

I know I’ll look back at 2016 as a turning point in my life. The year God stripped me of everything that made me feel secure and filled me with him. The year God turned my focus from myself to him.

This year has been the most uncomfortable year of my life (my life so far) but it has also been the best year of my life!

I don’t know how many times I cried this year and how many times I got frustrated and worried about the outcome of a situation. But it was in those moments I cried out to God that I found myself depending on God more and more.

The relationship I have with God now has been worth every bit of discomfort. I know God is working in me and preparing me to fulfill the purpose he has called me for. I plan on hungering after God everyday for the rest of life. But I also know it’s a process. Even though I learned a lot this year, I know I still have a lot of learning to do. The growth I experienced this year hasn’t stopped. I still have a lot growing to do and always will. I know it won’t always be comfortable to relentlessly pursue after God, but I’m not after a life of comfort. I’m after a life that glorifies God with everything I do. I’m excited to see what God will use me to do.  And I know it’s more than I could ever do on my own.

So thank you 2016! Thank you for the trials. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the process. Thank you for the discomfort. Thank you God for pulling me into deeper relationship with you. Thank you for filling the void in my heart. Thank you for thinking me worthy enough. I love you God. I love you sooo sooo much.