This is the third part in a series on fighting sin based on Ephesians 6:10-18a. See the second part in the series here.
There have been a couple days this year when I’ve gone to campus with jeans a bit too big and no belt on. I’m constantly tugging at my hips to pull my pants up and keep them around my waist. I can’t stand when I sag, so this is frustrating.
Two Wednesdays ago: I walked outside towards my car in order to drive to campus for class, and I realized I had no belt on. Silly me, I thought, and walked all the way back into my room upstairs in my house, grabbed a belt, put it on and then drove to class.
Secondly, have you ever been to a dress-up event where you’ve got to wear suits and ties and stuff like that, and you’ve forgotten a belt? I did that a couple times when I was younger, and maybe even once in college. I feel out of place! I feel like I’m missing a vital piece of clothing that completes the outfit that I’m supposed to be wearing.
The primary purpose of a belt is to hold things together. Pants that are too loose fall down without a belt on. It helps holds things in their proper place.
Funny, because that’s what truth does in the life of a Christian.
In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus placed such an emphasis on truth and the freedom that comes from knowing the truth. Truth comes from the word of God. If we know the word of God (and I think there’s a deep emphasis on knowing there), we will find freedom. I don’t think it’s a mere academic acceptance of truth; it’s a heart-change, soul-believing truth. It’s not just knowing 2+2=4, it’s believing in the truths of Scripture, the word of God.
Ephesians 6:14 tells us to fasten on “the belt of truth” as part of the armor of God in fighting sin and Satan. How does truth become our belt?
Truth frees us up to be obedient to God. Without a firm knowledge of truth, we have nothing to go by, no standard to judge our lives by. If we abide in the word of God, we will see what is true and we will be able to grasp how to be obedient. It is that truth that holds our armor in place, that truth where we store our sword. If we’re not rooted in truth, we will be like the double-minded man in James 1:6, “like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
If we wrap ourselves in truth, we will be able to grasp how to fight sin because we will rightly understand how to use the tools in our arsenal, we will be able to wisely choose what to use at what time. If we don’t wrap ourselves in truth, the breastplate of righteousness will seem impossible to find; the gospel of peace will bring no peace at all; the shield of faith will deflect nothing; the helmet of salvation will be more like a handkerchief over our skull; and the sword of the Spirit will appear as a weak pool noodle shredded by lack of use. Only, and only, if we see it all through the lens of truth, wrap ourselves with the belt of truth and hold it all together, then we will be able to rightly attack sin.
Two more things to remember.
It’s a mindset. I know that if I put my belt on in the morning, my pants are less likely to sag, hopefully. It’s a mindset, and that’s what wrapping yourself in truth brings: a mindset ready to attack and defend against sin. It’s a proper understanding of the other tools. It starts in the mind. In a battle, a soldier doesn’t actually use his belt, but it gives you the confidence that everything’s in place, everything’s where it’s supposed to be.
This belt can only be provided by God. This is not a belt we manufacture. We cannot develop a firm belt of truth on our own; it would be like a piece of string tied around our waist. It might like 10 minutes, if we’re lucky. That’s how good our selfish version of the truth is; it’s weak, pitiful, ineffective, not good at all. God’s truth is a truth that will stand. God’s truth is the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” We must cling to this God-given, freedom-inducing, mindset-chaging truth if we dare try to kill any sin that proves to be invasive in our lives.
Check back for Part 4 on the “breastplate of righteousness.”