The Armor of Spiritual Warfare—The Belt of Truth
Ephesians 6:14-17 NASB:
14 Stand firm therefore, having GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The “truth” that Paul states here is both moral and religious truth, but “girding our loins with truth” has been stated differently depending on which Bible translation we read. Some call it the belt of truth, others an apron or girdle, and the commentators differ as much as the terms do; one will describe a belt, another will describe an apron. Wherever the terms and the commentators take us in our private studies, it is reassuring to know that most all agree on how it works or performs on the Roman soldier as well in the Christian’s life.
The term “gird” appears in 23 places of the LXX but only here in Ephesians does it have a military meaning and a meaning for a believer’s responsibility to gird similarly. For the soldier, it was most likely the girdle was an apron made of leather that hung under the armor to protect the thighs and to fasten articles of clothing or to tuck in the long skirts of a robe for freedom of movement (compared and contrasted with a “belt” that supports the warriors shield, sword and arrows).
As Christians, if truth (faith) and virtue (righteousness) is our girdle as spoken in the prophet Isaiah (11:5 “that the righteousness should be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins”), then like Christ, we should also be girded similarly; in truth and righteousness. The Christian soldiers belt then is our inward sense of truth and faithfulness thereby keeping the body in check away from temptations. Like the Roman soldier, our truth and faith in Christ protects our soul as does the soldier’s “apron” protects his thighs. With truth and righteousness in us and Christ being for us, we have that “freedom of movement” that the soldier has when he tucks his robe under his belt. If we have the belt, like the soldier, our weapons hang from our belt of truth as the Word of God and our faith, which wielded in unison, can defeat temptations and other sins against God. If we are un-girded, we risk the chance of being un-blessed and headed for temptation to overtake us. It is God and His Word and Spirit in us that has our battles already defeated if we would simply trust and have faith in Him.
How do we stay girded (faithful and righteous)?
- Devising a personal Bible reading plan is a perfect way to begin; consult various Internet sites (Navigators or Blueletterbible) or write your own plan according to your own schedule and books that most interest you. Or, if not sure which books are of interest, select a book from the Old Testament and a book from the New Testament and one from Psalms then read a certain amount of each at every sitting. All Christians should be sure to pray for the Lord to enlighten us to His mysteries before we begin to read. Daily checking off your plan brings a great sense of accomplishment in addition to promised blessings.
- Another way to stay girded is to carve out time every day to focus on a “Lord chat” (prayer), a time which you can ask about certain issues and if He will reveal answers to you either during your dedicated reading times or while in prayer or through the hearing of the Word. A good way to keep one’s mind from wandering to the days tasks ahead instead of being focused on the prayer is to write out our prayer or type it out on a computer. We should all be sure to pause a lot so we aren’t the ones doing all the speaking.
As Christian warriors, we fight from an earthly perspective, that of God’s Word, prayer, service, fellowship, hearing the Word and many other Spiritual disciplines. Satan is real, his minions are real and he really wants to destroy us because he knows by destroying us he will have hurt his arch – enemy, God, in a very deep way. But when we remember that Christ who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world, our power source can be tapped into and we can experience victory and an eternal peace with the salvation paid for by Christ forever. It’s worth an hour a day to give Christ our first fruits, revealing our love for Him and appreciation for what He gave up for us. Let us not be Sunday morning Christians, but let us glorify God and make every day our personal Sabbath, every day overcoming the enemy and every day revealing God’s glory through our bodies as clear vessels beginning with prayer and a good daily study of God’s Word.
Perhaps the reader of this reflection is a mature Christian who already has a strong sense of balance between all the spiritual disciplines, does this mean that every day of life is easier for him or her than for the rest of us? Not really, because all Christians are a threat to the enemy no matter how mature we are; and even mature Christians will have issues from time to time with their warring flesh; indeed, great leaders have been known to fall and lose their entire life as they know it due to one wrong decision that flourished into a nightmare. The Bible says the tongue is a restless evil that cannot be tamed and full of deadly poison, and it is from this same tongue that we can bless and curse (James 3:8).
Even Paul becomes exasperated with himself when he wants to do good but the sin in him wages war against his desires to be righteous (Romans 7:13-25), and he doesn’t calm down until we see him in Chapter 8 re-focusing on God rather than himself (Romans 8:1-13), understanding that those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit…those in the flesh cannot please God but it is the risen Christ who will give us a new life through His Spirit who dwells in us (vv5-13).
This clearly reflects a common theme throughout the entire Bible; that is, when we keep our eyes focused on God, and all He is, worship only Him, serve Him with obedience (because He knows what is our best interest), and commune with Him instead of the world, we will not fret as Paul did in chapter 7, but we will have peace in all circumstances and our tongues (that reflect our heart condition) will not speak of evil and vile things but of good and righteous encouragements, enablement’s and love for God and all others around us.
Thoughts for Discussion:
- Upon hearing the terms “truth” and “righteousness”, what images immediately come into your mind? What does your body feel when those words are heard? Is there a negative reaction or a positive reaction?
- How have you shown truth in your life lately? How can you reveal more truth in your life? What are the steps that you can take in order to accomplish that each day and how will you hold yourself accountable?
- Do you currently have a Bible reading plan in motion? What kinds of activities do you need to incorporate into your day based on the above reflection in order to be in a better place for God each day? Do you have a regular prayer time along with the times you casually speak to the Lord throughout the day? Do you journal your prayers?
- How many times and in what circumstances have you forgotten to look to the Lord in order to find peace? If trying to solve a trial or a situation in your own efforts or in the efforts of man, do you think things could have been different if all eyes were focused on God in faith instead? How do you think you can rely on God during the next trial instead of the world or yourself?