Keep setting apart Christ as Lord in your heart. Keep doing God’s will. These are aspects of your life of righteousness that will shine through the smoke of accusation and slander. No one is perfect, yet our ongoing goal should be to build lives of strong character…
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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
The second article in the armour of God is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is an important piece of armour as it protects the torso from a body shot. We still see the breastplate in action today in the form of the bullet-proof vest. The police and military wear them to protect against bullets or shrapnel harming the body.
Who is shooting at you? Anyone taking shots at you lately? There are people who are glad to malign your character and drag you through the mud with their criticism or accusation, aren’t there? It could be motivated by jealousy or anger or self-doubt. Some feel better by making others look worse. It’s a shame, isn’t it?
Your righteousness is like a breastplate in this battle. It will protect you from the death-blow. I heard this D.L. Moody quote 25 years ago: ‘If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.‘ That’s the spirit. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 that we are blessed if people persecute us. We may not appreciate it, yet it is part of our fellowship of suffering with Jesus to be persecuted as his follower.
Peter offers strong advice in this regard:
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
How is your conscience in the light of bullets fired against your character? Is it clean? If you are wearing the protection of your righteousness, your accuser will be ashamed in the end. Keep setting apart Christ as Lord in your heart. Keep doing God’s will. These are aspects of your life of righteousness that will shine through the smoke of accusation and slander.
Some time ago I was convicted to consider how many things in my life I would be ashamed to have made public. What things would embarrass me or bring down the name of Christ if they were made known? I want that list to be as small as possible. No one is perfect, yet our stance in life should be a righteous one, in which we continue to set apart Christ as Lord. This will strengthen our character and God will determine what happens with our reputation…