Ephesians 6.10-17, Body and Soul Armor, #1
It is almost eery how scripture written more than 2000 years ago has such relevance for today.
Consider Paul's usage of something so familiar to first century folks. They could hear it coming. They could draw it in their sleep. The very sound of it was synonymous with rough authority... it emboldened the man who wore it … it was the armor of the Roman soldier. While Paul was a prisoner, he saw it every day—day in and day out. He was even shackled to a Roman guard for stretches of time.
As Paul tells the Christians of his day to be strong in the Lord, he uses their struggle and the familiar armor to symbolize the nature of the battle. It was far more than met the eye--just as it is for you and me.
Take a look:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. [know where your strength comes from!]
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
As Paul looked at the soldiers, he took apart the various elements of their armor, and then symbolically painted a similar armor that the believer must don, if he would stand strong against the powers of darkness in this world:
1) The Belt of Truth
2) The Breastplate of Righteousness
3) The Gospel of Peace
4) The Shield of Faith
5) The Helmet of Salvation
6) The Sword of the Spirit
Why, pray tell, did Paul start with the Belt of Truth? To stand strong--no matter what life brings--why wouldn’t he start with something … well, frankly more impressive or substantial, like the Sword or even the Shield? Hmmm. Paul had ample time to study the elements of the Roman armor, and how each protected the soldier, so he knew the belt was key. The belt was the foundational piece of armor because it protected the loins, and held the scabbard, which held the sword; no belt, no sword. Besides, the belt also had strips of leather hanging down from the front that helped to protect the soldier’s groin area when in battle.
Why did Paul attach “Truth” to the Belt with regard to helping Christians stand up to evil? We must understand that Truth is fundamental to effective daily living, and Truth is critical if attacked by the evil one. In the recent briefing, “A Wake-up Call"1, I described the nature and the wiles of Satan. His chief method of attack is lies, and he targets our minds; he destroys right thinking through lies. Jesus said, “there is no truth in him . . . for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”2 So you and I must absolutely come to an understanding that our ability to stand our ground, why our very bearings—indeed, our belt that holds everything else together--must be hung upon truth, or nothing else will hold together!
Here’s the current dilemma: “In our secular culture, religion and morality have been relegated to the category of subjective preference rather than objective truth. Truth is considered less important than how something makes us feel. We can always find a study or website to back up what we want to be true, whether or not it really is … What matters is how we feel, since people, not reality, are the final arbiters of truth.”3 Truth is in trouble, wouldn’t you say?
We have nothing to stand upon if we as Christians cannot stand on the truth of what we believe, and in whom we believe. Jesus, said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes unto the Father, but by me.”4 Remember - truth is not what you feel, it is that which conforms to reality.
Fundamental truths we must understand, believe and be able to articulate:
-We were created by a transcendent God--creation itself speaks of an Intelligent Designer.
-When mankind exercised free will, decided against God's best, sin became a universal condition and separated us from God.
-God provided a way of redemption for sin: Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross paid for our sins, IF we choose to follow him and repent of our sin. (I do not know about you, but for me this is a daily thing.)
-It is the desire of our Father to be in a loving relationship with us forever.
The Belt of TRUTH - recognize and understand its value, apprehend it and walk in it.
Throwin' it back with this classic song: Third Day with some TRUTH-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3i-_VWxOAc - do yourself a favor and listen to it.
1 - https://conta.cc/3yaV3Lz
2 – John 8.44
3 – Sean McDowell, “Why Truth Still Matters,” Church Leader Magazine
4 – John 14.6