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-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Al Vesper

Prayer-School Course #16

Dressing For Intercession


How to Avoid Holes In Your Armor

Lesson Six

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Why We Need The Armor

In the first four lessons, we discovered that we need the armor of God because the battle is real. The enemy does NOT want us effective in prayer and intercession because it tears down his kingdom as we build God's kingdom. So Satan comes against us and does all he can to stop us. But God does not intend that we be vulnerable to Satan's attacks. That is why He gives us the spiritual armor to put on. Each piece is especially designed to protect us from a specific form of attack from the enemy.

It is important that we understand what each piece is, the type of attack that it protects against and how to put that piece of armor on. Then we will be fully clothed and able to stand firmly in the battle. God does not want us to become casualties of war, He wants us to be overcomers in Christ. He wants us to walk in His victory. That is why He has given us this armor. So let's be sure to put it on.

What Is Righteousness?

Simply put, righteousness is being in right relationship with God. This means that there is not anything getting in the way of our relationship with Him. We are able to come before Him with boldness and confidence because we know that we belong to Him and are in relationship with Him. There is no "gunk" in the way that keeps us from approaching Him.

God is holy so we are also to be holy. We can't be holy in our own strength, but the indwelling Holy Spirit transforms us into His likeness.

What Are Some Holes In The Breastplate Of Righteousness?

There are three holes I want to cover. I don't want to dwell on the negative, but on the positive, on what God can do for us, in us and through us.

You see, the Gospel is Good News and what God wants to do in and through us is VERY GOOD NEWS. He doesn't want to beat us up for missing the mark. Instead He wants to empower us to "hit His mark" through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Let's look briefly at these three holes in righteousness...

  1. Pride
  2. Self-Righteousness
  3. Unholiness

  1. Pride, Arrogance and Thinking We Are Better Than Others


    We know, from the Bible, that God does not like pride;

    Proverbs 15:25
    The LORD tears down the proud man's house but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact.

    Proverbs 16:5
    The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

    1 Peter 5:5
    All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

    Pride makes us think or feel that we are self-sufficient and that we don't need God. We may get a sense that we can take care of our own needs. We fail to recognize God's hand working in our lives for our good. We tend to take credit for things that we had nothing to do with and believe in our own heart that we had everything to do with it. Pride may be in an accomplishment, it may be in a possession, it may be in our looks or in a skill or talent we have, and causes us to assume that we have this through our own merit or ingenuity.

    Pride leaves us believing that when something good happens to us, it is because we deserve it. Our Heavenly Father loves to give us good gifts (Matt 7:9-11). He wants us to acknowledge and thank Him for these gifts. Pride keeps us from acknowledging and thanking God because we believe we have received the gift due to our own merit, that we somehow deserved it. We stop realizing just how much we need God's grace and mercy in our lives.

    Jesus addresses pride in Rev 3:17-18

    1. You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
    2. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

    Pride can make us think we are more important than our brothers. We begin to compare ourselves to others with the unconscious intent of coming out on top. It can lead to competitiveness, being unloving and even being downright mean. If we believe that we are better than others, we may treat others poorly. This is in direct conflict with the Lord's criteria: "He who would be greatest among you must learn to be servant of all." (Matt 20:26).

    I once saw pride ruin a church. The pastor had started in an incredible gifting and had planted the church. Over a period of 10 years, it grew from a tiny seed to 700 members. God was moving in their midst and it prospered. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, the pastor got the impression that he was very important. He began to think of himself as the C.E.O. of a corporation instead of the pastor of the church. He put a distance between himself and the members of His congregation, believing that the general members of the congregation were not important enough for his time and attention. It became impossible for a member of the congregation to make an appointment to talk to their pastor about a concern. People in the church began to feel uncared for and frustrated, so they started leaving the church. In two short years, it shrank from 700 members to under 300. God desired to build His church in that city, but this pastor's pride nearly destroyed it. The pastor was supposed to serve those who God had appointed to his care. Instead, the pastor expected them to serve him. Pride had caused him to turn God's economy around and get it backwards. The results of this were deadly. People were hurt and God's kingdom did not advance.

    Pride can make us judge our brothers, to feel they don't measure up to some standard that we feel we measure up. Arrogance can rise up along side of pride and cause us to treat others poorly, usually those who we have judged as "not measuring up to the standard." It causes us to make a distinction between people that God has not made, have an inside group" and an "outside group", and to treat some better than we should and others lesser than we should. God does not want division in our midst. He hates division. And pride/arrogance will cause division faster than almost anything else.


    Did you know that false humility can also be pride?

    "true humility is accepting who God has made you to be instead of being someone else..."

    We should not try to impress people with what we are not.

    But on the other hand we need to recognize that all gifts/skills come from God. This means that we should not deny them. Instead, we should recognize them and then determine within our heart to use them for His glory. He has given these gifts to us to make us effective for His kingdom. So do not push the gifts aside and refuse to use them for fear of being prideful. Instead, look to Him to see what He wants you to do with them and then go do it with confidence. Never pretend you don't have strengths He has given you. Just recognize they are to serve others, not to impress others.

    False humility can be more harmful than blatant pride. It can keep people from doing what God has called them to do. This is something that I personally struggled with. I was so terrified of falling into pride that I would not allow the Lord to raise me up and put me where He wanted me. Each time He tried to do a work in my life or bring forth a spiritual gift in my life, I would immediately disqualify myself. I was afraid that if I allowed Him to raise me up, I would fall into pride and be destroyed. It felt safer to stay where I was than to go with God and risk falling into pride. Imagine my surprise when the Lord corrected me on this. He showed me that refusing to operate where He put me was a false humility which was in direct opposition to His kingdom plans. I was in effect telling God that I knew better than He how He should run his business and who He should appoint to do His work. I had to turn (repent) from that attitude and trust Him to keep me and to guard my heart as I stepped out in obedience to Him. False humility can be just as deadly as arrogance and pride because it keeps us from right relationship with God. It keeps us from moving into precisely what God has called us to.

  2. Self-Righteousness

    Self-righteousness is another name for legalism. Legalism is trying to be holy in our own strength (e.g, following rules and regulations) instead of through the blood of Christ. It doesn't work, so don't do it

  3. Unholiness

    Unholiness is lying, cheating, sexual impurity, or any other besetting sin. I don't have to say much about this because you already know that sin displeases God and separates us from Him.

    However, don't deceive yourself by thinking that if you mostly live right before God, He will ignore an area of sin in your life. He wants you to be Holy in every area of your life.

    God has commanded us to be holy in all areas of our lives (Lev 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16). Left to our own devices, that would be impossible. We can't be holy in our own strength, and God knows this. So He provided a way for us. His indwelling Holy Spirit transforms us. He changes our nature from within and makes us holy.

    Rom 12:1-2

    1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship

    2. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    Unfortunately, when I became a believer, no one told me about this. They taught me to accept Jesus as savior, but I had no clue He was to be my Lord as well. I would read the Bible and then try, in my own strength, to live up to its standards. I failed miserably. I would try over and over again and I would fail. I just could not do it. I was in bondage to besetting sins and there was no fruit of the Spirit evident in my life. The harder I would try to live like the Bible said I should, the more unobtainable it seemed to become. One day I had tried so hard and failed again. I was particularly frustrated about it. I threw up my hands and told the Lord, "God this just is not working. I give up! If you want me to live holy, then you are just going to have to change me!"

    God's answer surprised me. He said "Finally!!"

    Then He began to teach me about committing to the Lordship of Jesus and about the indwelling Holy Spirit transforming our nature. I began to see His victory in my life. Besetting sins stopped besetting me and the fruit of the spirit began to manifest. I could not do it on my own, but when I let God do it, He did!

What Does God Say About Righteousness?

Even Jesus wanted to do the right thing, evidenced by being baptized even though He did not need to repent.

Matt 3:15
Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

We are to be in right relationship with the brethren:

Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Righteousness comes from listening to what God wants:

Isaiah 48:18
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Righteousness is available for ALL believers through Christ:

Rom 3:22-24
  1. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
  2. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  3. and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Righteousness produces good fruit in our lives:

Col 1:10-14
  1. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
  2. being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
  3. giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
  4. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
  5. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We are under control of HS instead of under control of sin:

Romans 8:8-11
  1. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
  2. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
  3. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
  4. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

God makes us Overcomers:

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 5:4
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.


Wearing the "breastplate of righteousness" means being in right relationship with our Father God. It means that we don't allow things like sin and pride and legalism to separate us from Him in any way shape or form. If we see these in our lives, we run TO Him and throw ourselves on His mercy and ask Him to help us, to change and transform us. We recognize that Holiness comes from the Blood of Jesus and not from our own merit. So we purpose in our hearts to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and to allow Him to transform us.

Is there an area in your life where the breastplate of righteousness is not firmly in place? For some of us that means laying aside pride and to become a servant of all. For others it is laying aside false humility to stop disqualifying ourselves and to rise up and take the place that God has appointed for us. Some of us may need to turn from legalism and works and allow the blood of Jesus to make us white as snow. Some of us need to forsake the "pleasures of the world" and turn from besetting sins to walk in His glorious victory.

In each of these, there is a turning from the problem to the Lord, allowing Him to transform us and to give us victory over sin and to draw us into that close and right relationship with Him. It is never something we can do on our own strength, yet it takes a commitment to cooperate with Him and to commit to obey Him as He works within us to change us. He wants to work in us to make us like Jesus. He does not want anything keeping us from being in right relationship with Him.

The Holy Spirit is present right now to allow you to walk out of whatever separates you from Him and into right relationship with God. He is calling you, drawing you and beckoning you. He wants no less than total control in your life and heart. And as you yield that to Him, you will see His power and His victory and His transforming work come into that area of your life. Give it to Him right now and invite Him to be in control of it, and He will change you and He will cause you to walk in His victory.

God intends for us to be in right relationship with Him. He desires that nothing separate us from Him and that we have full and free access to Him at all times. He made us holy through the death and resurrection of Jesus and He is present to empower us to walk in that holiness right now. He intends us to be overcoming ones and He is present right now to give us the power to overcome. Just bow your head and invite Him to work this in you.

-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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