Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
When I looked up pictures of the Roman belt, I can’t say that I was impressed. It wasn’t anywhere as protective as the breastplate. It couldn’t be as heavy and made of iron; the soldier had to move! The belt was made of leather and went around his waist. He could hang his sword from it, and maybe his small round shield. It had strips of leather hanging in the front – to maybe protect what was important to him.
But we have a better belt! First, it is the Belt of Truth. There is a difference between something that is true, and the truth. I remember my father telling me the story of the five blind men exploring an elephant, each from a different angle. This is one version from Wikipedia.
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, “is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
Each man was saying what was true, but none of them had the whole truth.
Jesus answered, I am the Way and the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
So, just like with the Breastplate of Righteousness, our armor of God (not of Rome) has a much better belt. Jesus – The Truth – is our belt.
Our enemy never tells the truth! He may mix in a “truth” or two with his lies, just to make them “taste” better, but they are still poison. In John 8:44, Jesus tells us something of our enemy, the devil.
He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Actually, we need all the armor to repel the lies of the enemy, not just the belt. The breastplate. The helmet. The shield. We’ll revisit the attacks of lies often. But here, we’ll just talk about the belt.
Belts go all the way around the warrior. To know the truth, we must go all the way around the elephant – and see from the top and from the bottom too. We must see from other’s viewpoints. Not one of the blind men had the whole picture. In our dealings with people, there are always many viewpoints. No one, in any relationship, has the whole picture. Actually, I think God delights in giving different parts of the story to several people, so we’ll learn to listen to one another and work together. (The enemy loves to divide people!)
Even looking at a situation – or anything – from every possible viewpoint we can, including the truth of scripture, we still cannot see and know the WHOLE truth on our own. We must look at it from God’s point of view. And still, we can only know part of truth. God’s truths are often TOO BIG for our minds to fathom the WHOLE truth.
As I’ve said, the armor God has given us is far superior to the Roman armor, and that is especially true of the belt.
The belt we have does many things. It is wide enough and thick enough to protect, but doesn’t constrict our movement in battle. I’d like to suggest another different function. It can be useful in “girding up our loins.” Some versions of Ephesians 6:14 actually say “gird up your loins.” The Berean Literal Translation actually renders this verse as Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth. We’ve seen those words in Scripture, but what do they mean?
Pants weren’t really invented in Jesus’ time. The men wore tunics – dresses – of various lengths. Women wore even longer ones. Can you imagine fighting effectively in a skirt? I don’t think anyone can. Even Hollywood. All the female superheroes and warriors wear pants – usually very tight pants!
As shown in the illustration, the skirts / robe would be lifted up, gathered through the legs, brought to the front and tied, sometimes tucked into the belt. Voila! Instant pants! Was this just for men? No. Proverbs 31:17 says of the virtuous woman,
She girded her loins with strength and strengthened her arms.
Now what would that accomplish for us? First of all, the “skirts” – all the things that make it difficult to do battle, to go where we need to go – are “gathered up”. Truth does that. We have all this “material” telling us we can’t do this, or we can’t go there. The belt of truth takes care of that.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
The Amplified Bible elaborates.
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
I love the Amplified translation of this verse. All things I’M CALLED TO DO. For example, I’m not called to “leap over tall buildings,” or “run faster than a locomotive.” Each one of us is chosen, called for a purpose. We have a mission!
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
But the enemy would tell us we can’t do it for one reason or another – our “skirts.” But God’s truth binds up those lies, those “skirts” and we can go and do and fight and fulfill our purpose.
But, you say, “I can’t. I’m not worthy. I’ve failed many times. You don’t know my past.”
Do you know what happens when God’s truth makes pants out of our skirts? Our “more unpresentable parts” are covered!
In writing about the Body of Christ, Paul writes,
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
(1 Corinthians 12:21-26, Emphasis mine)
We have a loving Father. Jesus has taken our shame, and Holy Spirit is our Helper. Papa God loves a humble heart.
Merriam Webster defines humility as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” Humility acknowledges who God is, and who I am, and who I am not. It is not groveling and always putting ourselves down; it is bowing to our Lord and King. Papa loves a humble heart. That does not mean He wants to humiliate us. That’s why the belt of truth – His Truth –is like pants, “covering our more unpresentable parts,” our weaknesses, our failures are all covered, washed in His Blood.
Jesus, You are Truth.
I wrap Your Truth around me,
every part of me.
Thank you that
Your Truth is a firm foundation.
Thank you that
Your Truth is too big for just one person.
Thank you that
Your Truth sets me free from my skirts.
Thank you that
Your Truth covers me.