3. For When You Feel 'Self-Sufficient' or 'Not Enough'
Whether you're in survival mode or you are experiencing feelings of inadequacy, Ephesians 6:14 instructs us that we must grasp hold of the breastplate of righteousness.
'Whatever scenario you find your heart drifting into: armour up with the righteousness of Jesus, and find your heart put into the right place again.'
Stand firm then, […] with the breastplate of righteousness in place. (Ephesians 6:14)
The rhythm and pace of September is well underway, and I wonder how many of you relate to the two extremes laid out in the title: ‘self-sufficient’ (so busy you’re running on autopilot) or ‘not enough’ (worrying you’re never hitting the mark). Let’s explore this a little bit more…
Scenario A: You find yourself with a lot on your plate. It might be homework, coursework, UCAS applications, or pressures from work – and you’ve gone into survival mode. You’ve forgotten what it means to rely on God and to be honest, you’re just trying to keep your head above the water!
Bit by bit, feelings of pride and self-sufficiency creep in… ‘I’m doing OK!’ / ‘I can do this on my own!!’ – and we gradually forget the beauty of grace. We think that if we can just do enough, we can prove ourselves.
This is where we need to armour up with the breastplate of righteousness: to guard our hearts from thinking we’re self-sufficient, to protect us from pride.
The breastplate of righteousness reminds us that we are sinful enough that Jesus had to die to save us: that everything we have is a gift from him. We see this throughout Ephesians:
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:4-8)
Truth like this grounds us in the righteousness of Jesus and puts us in our right place again – and actually, in doing so – it frees us! We don’t NEED to work in our own strength. We don’t NEED to prove ourselves. We can be free to make mistakes and fail freely because we have the breastplate of righteousness as our identity.
And then there’s Scenario B:
Your heart feels a bit tired at the moment. Maybe you feel like you’re not doing as well at school or work as you’d hoped – or you’ve started comparing your own achievements to others. Maybe you feel weighed down by trying to be better at telling your friends about Jesus, or trying to become more Christlike in the way you act – but you feel like you’re going backwards! You have the nagging sense in your mind that you’re not enough.
Well, most precious MP gal – here’s some news: the breastplate of righteousness is for YOU! It’s for you, today – and any day where you feel like you’re not enough.
The righteousness of Jesus means that he died for us, in order that we might be covered in his righteousness. His righteousness is ours to grasp hold of, and our lives are hid in Christ, as the scriptures tell us.
The beauty of the breastplate of righteousness is that it’s the great equaliser. When we’re proud, it humbles us. When we feel like we’re not enough, it lifts us up and reminds us that Jesus has redeemed us.
This is the truth we rest upon - and this is what is at the core of being 'armoured': remembering what Jesus has done for us, and the new identity he gives us as daughters of Christ.
So: whatever this week might throw at you – whatever scenario you find your heart drifting into: armour up with the righteousness of Jesus, and find your heart put into the right place again.