"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..."
By William Ballard
When thinking of a soldier and describing his armor, would the belt be the first thing that comes to mind? Wouldn't it be more natural to think of something more "warrior" like, such as a weapon, or perhaps even a shield?
Being a former Marine, I can admit to you that when I first went through Marine Corps basic training, I was not thinking about the belt I was going to be wearing. I was more interested in the rifle I was going to be shooting and the combative skills that I was going to be learning and developing.
A Firm Foundation
Yet, from what we gather from our opening text, the apostle Paul chose to start his teaching about putting on the "whole armor of God" with one of the most non-combative items of the soldier's attire by admonishing the saints of God to, "stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth" (Ephesians 6:14a). Why did Paul start with the belt? Why did he relate the belt to truth?
If we were to deviate from the metaphor of a soldier's armor and embrace the metaphor of architecture, we might be able to answer these questions -- and many more, for that matter. You see, with every architectural project, a building cannot stand without first establishing a firm foundation. In other words, the first step to manufacturing any type of building is laying down a solid foundation on which to build upon.
You see, it is ultimately the foundation that holds up the building. When the foundation goes, the building goes. In order for a building to stand strong it must have a solid foundation in place to brace its weight. The same is true for what we wear. It is our belt that holds all the pieces of our attire together.
For instance, we can just look at some of the youth of our day, who rarely think that they need to wear a belt, or only wear a belt for show, but clearly fails to hold up their pants.
Just look at the image to your right. Notice how these young men have to hold up their pants with their hands. How would these young men ever be able to hold up their sword with confidence, knowing that their pants may fall down at any moment and leave their reproductive organs left uncovered?
When I was going through Marine Corps basic training there were a few recruits who couldn't quite let go of their habitual behavior of wanting to sag their pants, but the drill instructors made sure to "help" these young men have an "easy" transition into a more combative ready warrior. That is, by helping these young men understand the danger they bring upon themselves by not properly "girding up" their uniform (armor).
Rev. Harold Linder, a solider in the Lord's army, stationed in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and who serves as senior pastor of Heavenview United Pentecostal Church had this to say in his article, "Don't give up; gird up!", of which, was published in the Pentecostal Herald):
"On the practical side, much like the hip belt of a modern-day backpack, the Roman soldier's belt carried a load. It included the scabbard for the soldier's sword and served as a resting place for the weight of the shield as the army marched toward battle. Without the belt, the soldier's strength would be depleted by caring the heavy armament to the battle, rendering both his weapon and his defense ineffective during the battle. The belt also served as a foundation, a lashing point, for other pieces of the soldier's armor. During battle, if not lashed to the belt, the breastplate would not stay in place during violent movement, and the soldier's torso would be exposed to the enemy's attack."
Without TRUTH, All Will Fall
I am persuaded that the apostle Paul knew exactly what he was doing when he chose to start his teaching of the armor of God, and spiritual warfare, with the belt of truth. I am of the belief that he was clearly stating that TRUTH must be the foundation of every Christian's walk with God.
You see, going back to our young men who sag their pants, without truth (the belt), there is no way to be able to hold up the shield of faith. In fact, you would have to completely lie down the shield of faith in order to hold up your pants. Or you would have to make a choice of which hand held item would have to be put down, the sword of the spirit or the shield of faith. You see, without truth, the sword of the spirit would become burdensome in battle. Plus, we can go one step further and say that, without truth, our breastplate of righteousness would end up leaving us vulnerable in the most dangerous situations.
If we are able to come to the conclusion that truth is the foundation of putting on the "whole armor of God", what then is truth? The psalmist asserted, "Thy word is true from the beginning" (Psalms 119:160), and it was Jesus who quoted this scripture in his prayer found in John 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
I am also of the belief that the apostle Paul knew that when proclaiming the importance of truth to the Christ followers and believers of his day, that he was speaking directly to the individual identity that they had found in Christ. You see, it was Jesus who proclaimed, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Plus, we can also remember what John told us back in the first chapter of his book.
Jesus was the Word of Truth manifested in flesh. The manifestation of the person of Jesus Christ was the full expression of the Spirit of Truth that dwelt in Him. You see, the revelation of who Jesus truly is, and the grace and truth of the Good News -- the death, burial, and resurrection (the Gospel) -- is what identifys you and I from other religions of the world. It is what sets us apart.
Leaving The NEXT Generation a Strong Foundation to Fight Upon
Finally, the belt of truth speaks to us about leaving our children with the heritage of the gospel. I believe Deuteronomy leaves us with one of the greatest pillars of truth that we will ever be able to pass on to the next generation and that is, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
It was this pillar of truth that was admonished to the adults (the spiritual mature of that era) to teach these words diligently to their children. And this is found in Deuteronomy 6:7. The scripture goes on to say, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). In short, TRUTH must be our very foundation in order to protect the next generation to come. Without us being fully grounded in truth, our children will be lost.
As you begin to put on the "whole armor of God", be sure to give the rest of the armor a firm foundation to hold it in place. Ground yourself in doctrine (gird yourself in truth). Spend time in the Word, and do this more than you have ever done in the past. Especially, in these days that we are currently living in. If we ever needed a dose of truth, it is now!
I like what Rev. Harold Liner said in the closing grafs of his piece in the Pentecostal Herald:
"If you have worn the armor for a while and find that your shield of faith is feeling heavy, get back in the Word and check your belt of truth. If your sword feels unweildy [burdensome], check your belt of truth. If you find your righteousness is slipping out of place, check your belt of truth.
Occasionally life presents all of us with an opportunity for a "gut check." Our resolve must be tested, our commitment and our priorities must be reevaluated. In the arena of spiritual warfare, a gut check might be better described as a gird check! Are my loins gird about with truth? Am I ready for the victory that God has for me as I advance onto the battlefield?
On the eve of the supernatural exodus from Egypt, Moses received specific instructions from the Lord regarding the Passover meal: 'And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand' (Exodus 12:11). Clearly, deliverance would come because of the sovereign hand of God. However, each Israelite prepared for their march into victory with their loins girded!"
I am sure most can agree that, in these days, we are facing intense spiritual warfare like never before. I feel in my spirit, very deeply, a yearning within each of us, for a supernatural deliverance like never seen before. I am also sure that you can agree that the exodus of Israel out of Egypt was a supernatural deliverance like never seen before in their day, and up to that point.
The intense struggle that the people of God were facing in that day gave way to a glorious victory and, like them, we are on another intense battlefield fighting against the same enemy. Just as they hoped for a supernatural move of God in their battle, we have the same hope that God will soon move in our midst and finally defeat the adversary for good, and ride His white horse into victory.
The orders giving to us by our commander and chief are clear: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord..." (Luke 12:35-36a).
Understand this: Jesus is coming soon! We are literally fighting for our lives and the lives we love and lead. But we must remember, the battle is not our's; it is the Lord's. However, it is paramount that each soldier of the Lord's army be in proper uniform. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
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William Ballard is the author of "The True Writer's Life: Discovering The Author and Finisher of Our Faith", which is the book that essentially started it all for William. In conjunction with the coaching he provides for free through his blogs and articles all across the web, he also offers Personal Writing and Business Coaching where he teaches freelance writers and aspiring authors how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning writing careers.