Believers Stand Firm by Putting On the Belt of Truth
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist … (Ephesians 6:14)
A Roman soldier wore a tunic under his armor, and a large leather belt “was used to gather his garments together as well as hold his sword.” The belt was the first part of the armor put on, and it held everything else together. It was crucial. Similarly, truth is a crucial component for every believer in this spiritual battle—without it believers are not prepared to stand and fight.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Test all things; hold fast what is good.
As Christians, we are to test all things and then hold on only to that which is good—the truth—discarding all else. We are to be like the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). If we are not convinced that our principles and beliefs are without exception 100 percent true, how can we expect to accomplish anything with it?
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.
A belt encompasses the waist. Does our conviction to the truth encompass us? As the above scripture notes, truth must be bound around us and written on our hearts—our conviction must reach beyond an outward show.
The belt used in Roman armor, provided a place for the soldier’s sword. Our sword—the sword of the Spirit—likewise needs a sheath. Truth is vital because, like a Roman soldier’s belt, it allows us to carry the sword of the Spirit and use it effectively.
What does the belt of truth represent?
how do we put it on, and
how does it protect us from the enemy?
1. The belt of truth represents knowing the content of truth as revealed in Scripture.
Jesus said this in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The Word of God is truth, and it is through knowing and applying this truth that we are sanctified—daily made holy and righteous.
With that said, we can clearly discern Satan’s attacks during this age. We can see it in the post-modern concept of relativism.
We live in a system that is based on the lies of the devil, and if you don’t know the truth, you will fall into the temptation of the day.
But Satan is not just attacking the culture with relativism and other fashionable lies, he is also attacking the church—the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15)—and specifically, the Word of God.
With Eve in the Garden, he attacked God’s Word. “Did God really say?” he asked. In the Parable of the Sower, the devil removed the seed on the wayside before it could produce any fruit (Matt 13:4).
Our enemy always attacks the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul talks about doctrines of demons that will lead some away from the faith. The enemy of our souls constantly assaults the church by twisting or denying Scripture—pulling many away from God.
It is increasingly common for people to call themselves Christians and yet not believe that the Bible is true and without error, even though Scripture refers to itself as true, perfect, inspired, and enduring (cf. John 17:17, Ps 19:7, 2 Tim 3:16, 1 Peter 1:23). Jesus says man shall not live by bread alone but by “every word” that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). He does not say “SOME” words, as many in the church today would teach, but “EVERY” word.
When believers accept the lie that not all Scripture is true, they are on a slippery slope. It is not too soon after that they throw out the virgin birth, the resurrection, the judgment, the miracles of Christ—soon leading them to discard the gospel and salvation altogether.
Saints, if you do not know the Word of God, you are not prepared to stand in this spiritual war. An ancient soldier couldn’t even fight without cinching his belt—all his clothing would have hindered him. And neither can we fight without knowing the truth. Ephesians 4:11-14 talks about God giving the church pastors and teachers so his children would no longer be tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching, and by deceitful men.
The enemy feasts on believers who don’t know the Word of God, but at the same time, he is defeated by those who do know it. Consider John’s description of spiritual young men in the church in 1 John 2:14. He says, “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” Spiritual young men overcome the devil because the Word of God is strong in them. Therefore, they are conquering their lusts, confronting false teachings, and helping set others free.
It is no wonder that many of the great warriors in church history have been men and women of the Word of God. It was said of Martin Luther that he essentially memorized the entire Bible in Latin. John Wesley memorized almost the entire Greek New Testament.
If we are going to win this battle, we must know the great doctrines of the Word of God.
In considering this, I would especially recommend that young believers systematically study the major doctrines of Scripture. It is harder to understand Scripture verse by verse in a short time, but easier to understand it systematically.
Know what the Bible teaches on major doctrines so you won’t be led astray by all the false teachings circulating in the church.
How is the enemy attacking truth throughout the world and the church today?
How is God challenging you to hide God’s truth in your heart to better stand against the attacks?
2. The belt of truth represents living a life of honesty and integrity.
The belt of truth does not represent just knowing the content of the truth, but also living out the truth practically in our daily lives.
Ephesians 4:25-27 says:
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Practicing falsehood and hypocrisy opens the door to the devil in our lives—it gives him a foothold.
Once a lie gets into the life of a believer, everything begins to fall apart.
For over a year, King David lied about his sin with Bathsheba, and nothing went right. When David repented, he wrote this (Psalm 32:2-5):
Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
While David was living a hypocritical, dishonest life, he lost the blessing of God. He experienced sickness, depression, and physical weakness until he confessed his sins. As he said in Psalm 51:6, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”
Lies and deception open the door to the devil; therefore, we must put off falsehood and practice transparency before God and others as we confess our sins (cf. 1 John 1:9, James 5:16).
Satan likes to work in the shadows—he wants people to keep their sins in the dark instead of confessing them before God and man. It gives him a base from which to attack us. But the light of confession enables God to work in those dark places and set us free.
In what ways are you giving the enemy a foothold by practicing dishonesty?
Is it through cheating on tests, lying on taxes, or telling little fibs at work?
In what ways are you practicing transparency—confession before God and man—in order to close the door on the devil?
In order to put on the belt of truth, we must practice honesty and get rid of all deception in our lives.
In what ways have you seen or experienced dishonesty opening the door for Satan to attack a believer personally?
3. The belt of truth represents total commitment and zeal for Christ.
The metaphor of buckling or girding is often used in Scripture to describe the preparatory action of gathering one’s flowing garments in order to work, run a race, or fight a battle. Luke 12:35 says, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (KJV). First Peter 1:13 says, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind” (KJV). These texts both refer metaphorically to the action of tightening one’s belt so as not to hinder action.
Since buckling or girding is often used to describe preparation
I believe that being girded … with truth primarily has to do with the self–discipline of total commitment. It is the committed Christian, just as it is the committed soldier and the committed athlete, who is prepared. Winning in war and in sports is often said to be the direct result of desire that leads to careful preparation and maximum effort.
It is the army or the team who wants most to win who is most likely to do so—even against great odds…
To be content with mediocrity, lethargy, indifference, and half–heartedness is to fail to be armored with the belt of God’s truth and to leave oneself exposed to Satan’s schemes.
Christ says that in order to follow him one must hate his father, mother, brothers, sisters, and even his own life (Lk 14:26). He requires total commitment—anything less is to not be his disciple. Everything that might hinder our walk with Christ must be removed. Uncommitted Christians are fodder for the enemy.
He uses them to scatter people from Christ instead of gathering people to Christ (Matt 12:30).
Is there anything in your life keeping you from being fully committed to Christ?
If so, how can you get on fire for God—totally committed to him?
Are you putting on the belt of truth?
Are you daily seeking to know the full counsel of Scripture, or are you neglecting God’s Word?
Are you practicing truth, or are you practicing hypocrisy and deception?
Are you fully committed to Christ, or are you half-hearted?
We must put on the belt of truth to stand against Satan’s attacks.
Which aspect of the belt of truth stood out most to you and why?
THE DANGERS OF NOT WEARING THE BELT
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make it—that good and bad is relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions. But the Bible teaches that truth is God’s Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.
Paul wrote to the Romans telling them to “not be conformed to this world.” Part of that means not buying into a system of belief that says absolute truth is a myth. As Christians, we know both that there is truth and that it is absolute.
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Imagine a belt with a segment missing. No matter how tiny the sliver that isn’t there, the belt is still useless. To do its job, it must be one continuous, unbroken piece.
Now imagine living a way of life you don’t completely agree with.
To try to live God’s way without total belief in its validity is like trying to hold your sword up with a belt that isn’t continuous. Neither will work. Our trust in God and His Word must be solid, without break, or else we will quickly find ourselves without a weapon. No matter how effective the rest of our armor is, we are useless without our sword. We need to be rightly dividing the word of truth—knowing what we believe.
The over-arching principle in all of Satan’s attacks toward us is deception, when we are not wearing the belt it is easy for us to accept the lies of Satan. He is the father of lies and everything about lies belongs to him. John 8:44
Satan is the master illusionist, creating falsehood to replicate the original, so without truth we cannot recognize the truth about word of God. We cannot also uphold the truth in our daily life.
Satan can craftily make you think that God does not mean exactly what He says, we will doubt God’s word and will not believe the total word of God 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Without concrete allegiance to and affirmation with this truth – with real truth- you’re left weak and susceptible to things that may look right and sound right yet actually aren’t right. But with the standard of truth in place, you can adjust everything else in your life – your ambitions, choices, and feelings; your mind, will and emotions – until all of it is “tuned” correctly. When you have a strong, stable, well-supported core, you can’t easily be led astray but the enemy’s clever lies. Gird yourself with truth.
Without the belt of truth, you’re left with the burdensome responsibility of carrying the full weight of your own “Breastplate” – your own “righteousness.” Instead of God fulfilling your requirement for righteousness, you’re on the hook for it. Instead of God making you acceptable in His sight through the sacrifice of His Son, you’re responsible for somehow providing yourself spotless and prefect in His sight.
Freedom comes to us when we unapologetically follow the truth that we discover in Him and in His Word. Walking in it, abiding in it, ordering our steps and decisions according to it – that’s what makes the difference. That’s what disarms the enemy’s influence and his impact in our lives.
So how did the original readers of the letter (and the church today for that matter) view Paul’s analogy of the Belt of Truth? Remember that the Roman soldier’s belt had two main functions: to hold weapons, and to display status and affiliation. Why is it important to hang our weapons on truth? Since our sword is referred to as the word of God, how we use it is vital. It should only be used in truth. For example, many people teach that homosexuality is okay because God is love and therefore loves homosexuality. They re-translate the verses so that it makes it look like God is not against homosexuality at all. They may also claim that since God loves the homosexual, he approves of homosexuality. When a person uses the Bible to promote sin, it means that person is not wearing the belt of truth.
The belt was also used to display status and affiliation. Truth displays our affiliation with Christ. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” (Proverbs 12:22 NASB). “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 HSCB). We must be careful when applying the Bible to both our lives and others, that we do it in truth. Truthfulness displays our status as Christians and our affiliation with Christ. Someone who has dedicated their life to Christ should not be walking around telling lies. Lies are of the devil and indicate a problem with the heart. Truth is of God and indicates a heart washed clean through salvation.
The belt is symbol of what truth is and what truth does. Not only does truth display our affiliation with Christ, but it also displays what Christ is doing in us. Jesus is truth (John 14:6), therefore we cannot really have truth (Christ) unless truth (Christ) has us. Truth is inseparably related to, and linked, with action. Our weapons hang from it. This makes them based in truth. Since it is wrapped around our waist, in encompasses our whole personality. It is important for Christians to be identified by a visible symbol that shows who they are, who they stand for, and who they represent.7 The exercise of truth is more than a matter of being honest, because integrity and trustworthiness are essential components of readiness for the struggle with the rulers, authorities, and powers of evil listed at the beginning of the passage.8 The belt of truth accomplishes this for us in a way that gives glory to God.