Monday, February 4, 2008

The Armor of God: The BELT of Truth

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be GLAD in it. I hope you had a great weekend in the Lord. We certainly did. On this Monday morning, as we begin a new work week, let me continue with our study on the Armor of God.

"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth..." Ephesians 6:14 NKJV

A Christian's survival in the world requires a firm grounding in the absolute truth of the Bible. The power of truth is that it sets us free by breaking the power of the devil's LIES and the deception they create (John 8:31-32). Just as with Eve in Eden, the devil downplays the consequences of sin and promotes its pleasures. Firmly rooted in the truth, we are best equipped to recognize the lies, resist the devil and do God's will.

Paul mentioned that the "belt of truth" is part of the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:14. Soldiers in Paul's day wore belts to secure their clothing and hold weapons. The belt of truth has similar but expanded functions for spiritual warfare that include:

  • Sanctification: The belt of truth sets us apart from people who don't follow God.
    Jesus prayed that God would sanctify us by the truth (the word): "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17 NIV). To sanctify means to set apart for a special purpose and to purify. The truth helps us stay on mission for God and avoid falling back into sin's corruption.
  • Guidance: The Holy Spirit uses the truth to guide us in whatever circumstances we're in. John wrote, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13 NIV). Just as communications are crucial on the physical battlefield, so is the Holy Spirit's guidance via truth on the spiritual battlefield.
  • Intelligence & Discernment: Intelligence data and its interpretation (i.e. discernment) can play a critical role in the outcome of military conflicts. God's word reveals truth that helps us decisively recognize the devil's lies in spiritual conflicts. Hebrews 4:12 NIV explains how the word reveals truth: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Armed with the truth of the word, we'll recognize the devil's lies for what they are.
  • Battle readiness: Belts were used in Bible times to secure loose garments so that a person could run and/or fight effectively (1 Kings 18:46, 2 Kings 4:29). The belts also provided a place to attach weapons (2 Samuel 20:8). When the enemy attacks us we may have to move quickly and use our spiritual weapons (Praise, Prayer, Sword of the Spirit, etc.) "on the run." The belt of truth enables us to move quickly and confidently without tripping into lies or losing our weapons.

Putting on the belt each day: There are some key actions we can take to put on our belt of truth securely each day. These include:

  • Speak it: When we say we are putting on the belt of truth and believe it, the belt's function is maximized. Example words to speak:

"I put on the Belt of Truth. I believe that God's word is truth and I fill my mind with God's word. I have the Holy Spirit living in me, who will guide me in truth. The truth enables me to discern the devil's lies and avoid being taken captive to do his will."

  • Study the word: Daily Bible study will help keep truth in the forefront of our minds (John 17:17). This is done by studying the Bible, memorizing scriptures and speaking verses applicable to the situations we face each day. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32 NKJV). There is no substitute for Bible study during our quiet time with God. It's essential if we hope to grow closer to God and maintain victory over our old sinful habits.
  • Ask God to remind you of the truth: The Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of Truth," will remind us of the truth and guide us in truth as we walk with God (John 14:17,26). In order for the Spirit to "remind" us of God's word, we have to have already read it or heard it. If we've done our part in abiding in God's word, we'll have maximum sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. A simple invitational prayer we can pray is:

"Heavenly Father, please remind me of your word today and guide me in truth by the Holy Spirit. Please help me hear, know and obey your voice in every situation. Please strengthen my ability to retain and recall your word as it applies to the situations I face. Thank you, Heavenly Father. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Maintaining the Belt

To keep our belt of truth in great shape, we must keep our hearts pliable and obedient to God by clinging to his word.
Our belt can become corrupted by the sin we commit and tolerate in our lives. For example, Joab's belt was stained by his murders of Abner and Amasa in 1 Kings 2:5.

When we give sin a protected place in our lives, we embrace the lies that the sin is based on. These lies are what corrupt our belt of truth. If we sin, we must return to God in repentance and the blood of Jesus will wash away the stains from our sins (1 John 1:7).

I love you guys, and hope you have a TRUTH-filled day! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" reading: February 4, 2008 Numbers 32:1-Numbers 34:29

This week's Memory Verse: (I am testing us this week. Very long, but beneficial) Ephesians 6:13-17

Ephesians 6:13-17 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: