Monday, May 2, 2022
Since we are called to be prepared to accomplish the mission of Jesus Christ, we should consider the equipment that God has provided for our use.
To fully understand the symbolism of the belt, we must go back and think in terms of the Roman soldiers of Paul’s day. Their armor was heavy. They wore all the pieces described in Ephesians, plus some that aren’t described. But the first piece they put on was their belt. Remember, the belt back then didn’t hold up the pants as it does for us. They didn’t wear pants. The belt had three functions. First, it was designed to support a short metal skirt that protected the groin area of the soldier. Second, it had areas on it for hanging things, like the sword or a knife or a water skin. And third, it was large enough that the breastplate would rest on it. Imagine how hard it would have been to fight if the breastplate – that solid piece of formed metal that slipped over the head and covered the chest and back of the soldier – had to rest on his shoulders. He would have limited flexibility in his arms, and he would tire quickly from the weight. Instead, the breastplate was designed to fit into the belt and ride an inch or two above the shoulders, allowing for freedom of arm movement and putting the weight of the armor onto the strongest muscles in the body, the upper legs.
The belt was the foundation piece of the armor. It allowed the soldier to stand under the weight of the armor. It allowed him to move freely and fight efficiently and effectively. It’s no wonder then that Paul calls the foundation of our spiritual armor the belt of truth. Unfortunately, that’s where Satan’s biggest attack has been – against the truth. In fact, his first attack ever was against the truth in the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve, “Did God really say…” Truth is still under attack today. Truth has been redefined by our culture as “the reality of one’s experiences.” It makes truth relative to anyone’s situation. It seeks to abolish absolutes. But we who are in Christ know that there is a truth that endures for all time, because we know the One who is the Truth, Jesus.
But just knowing the truth is as useless as carrying a fanny pack filled with supplies that never get put to use. When I go hunting, I carry all my supplies in a small, camouflaged bag. I used to put them in a fanny pack. My son would laugh at me. Did that matter to me? Of course it did. Ridicule matters to all of us. But did it change me? NO! I don’t care how he carries his supplies, and I don’t need to change how I carry mine. The point is that we both carry the things we need to accomplish our mission. We are prepared.
How about you? Are you prepared with the truth of Jesus Christ? Are those truths carried with you into every part of your life? Are they easily accessible so you can use them whenever the situation requires them? The truth is of no value if it isn’t applied. The truth is not the product of your experience. The truth determines your experience. And in this passage, and nine others like it in the New Testament, the truth is a verb, and must be spoken.
That leads to one more point in the analogy. Integrity. Do your actions and your speech match? And are you satisfied that the life you are living on the outside is the true expression of who you are on the inside? Integrity. It’s part of wearing the belt of truth. It’s essential to being able to stand firm.