10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of God’s power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[b] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[c] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Paul implores us and the Ephesians to stand in the strength of God’s power. And he gives us the wardrobe for this task as the Whole Armor of God, including the breastplate of righteousness.
As part of a discussion of “righteousness” in the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms we find: “Biblically the term embraces a number of dimensions relating to God’s actions in establishing and maintaining right relationships.” Righteousness is also used in talking about God’s deeds and the good works that we do in response to how God has blessed us and saved us. And so much of righteousness has to do with right relationships.
When we truly care about other people and wish the best for them and work to see that happen, we have donned the breastplate of righteousness. When we love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we are acting with righteousness. When we choose to disagree agreeably, treating our friends and our enemies also as children of God, we have modeled righteousness.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness as a part of the Whole Armor of God means that we value our right relationships with God and others. And that seems right.
Help me, God of Righteousness, to care about how I am connected to You and all the people I encounter today. And help me to maintain right relationships with Your other children as I treasure my place in Your family. Amen.