14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
(Ephesians 6:14a NIV)
As we looked yesterday at the introduction to Paul’s last instructions in his letter to the Ephesians (and us), we see him telling us to prepare for battle. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces, the devil himself and his influence on this earth.
While it is tempting to run and hide, that is simply not possible. The enemy will bring the fight to us.
So what is the best thing to do? Prepare ourselves to fight, and to win. As we discussed yesterday, we have to fight our individual battles, but the overall war against sin and death has already been won through Christ’s death on the cross, and His resurrection to life everlasting.
What do we need to do to prepare ourselves for battle? Paul tells us twice (v. 11 and v. 13) to put on the full armor of God.
Paul begins verse 14 with the command, “Stand firm, then…”. In verse 13, Paul reminded us that we are to fight and be the last person standing. We don’t fight sitting down. We must stand to fight, to hold our position, to stand our ground.
What are the various components of the full armor of God?
Today we will look at the first one:
- the belt of truth buckled around our waist
The belt of truth, first of all, is truth. If we don’t start with truth, nothing else matters. Without truth, it’s just our opinion against everyone else’s thoughts. Our world quickly descends into chaos and anarchy. We lose any commonality and agreement with others, and find ourselves alone. If we don’t focus on truth, we are held captive by our own thoughts, held in the prison of our own beliefs.
But Jesus says there is a better way. Listen to His words:
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32 NIV)
Jesus says that there is an ultimate truth, and a TruthGiver, God. When we put on the belt of truth, it holds everything else together.
To help us understand the need for the belt, we need to understand the typical dress for the men and women of Paul’s day. They normally wore simple garments called tunics, which were woven garments with a hole for your head and two holes for your arms. They were typically one-piece garments, like an un-shaped long dress, going nearly to the ground. It was a shirt and pants in one.
When going to battle, the soldier would take the four corners of his tunic and pull them up to his waist, tuck the corners underneath his belt, and then buckle his belt firmly around his waist. This pulled the tunic up just above his knees, and allowed him the mobility he needed to turn quickly, run after his enemy, and not get his legs caught up or wrapped around the fabric. The belt also prevented his enemy from pulling his tunic up over his head and gaining the advantage by taking away his ability to see what was going on.
The truth, firmly buckled around our waist. No better place to start our preparation.