‘Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place,’ Ephesians 6.14
We are looking at the armour of God, and in this phrase Paul encourages us to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The key here is not to analyse whether or not you feel you deserve it, but to recognise that it has been given to you as a gift.
You are righteous because Jesus died to take away your sins – and not because you try hard to do righteous things. To put on the breastplate of righteousness is to accept what Jesus has done for you and not try to do it for yourself. This begins by admitting to yourself that you have failed, and although you might still be utterly loved by God, without the work of Jesus you would be pretty hopeless!
However, this is not the end of the story. You are invited to put on righteousness – the knowledge that your sins are forgiven. This awareness comes from gazing upon the crucified Jesus and letting your heart declare that he died for you personally. He took away the sins of the whole world, but he also took away your own individual sins.