“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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,…” (Ephesians 6:10-14)
The apostle Paul sets up a pretty scary scenario here. He’s not kidding when he warns that we will have to take a stand against “the devil’s schemes,” not to mention “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” If you’ve been living the Christian life for any time at all, you will be very aware of that fact! You may even be thinking of the many times you have fallen in the face of those forces.
But lest you throw up your hands in defeat and retreat to a mountaintop somewhere, you should bear in mind that Paul’s intent is not to scare you unnecessarily, but rather to reassure you with the message that you have access to everything you need to be victorious in the fight!
We will go through each of the pieces of armor individually over the next few months. But let me begin, before we begin, by reminding you that these battles are not fought in your own strength. God does not expect you to face Goliath unprepared and unarmed. Instead, each piece of armor holds the full power of God behind it, and each of them equips you to stand up, not in your own strength, not in your own power, but in the power of God!
We begin with the belt of truth. Now, there are a few different ways you can think of this belt and what it represents, but I’m going to pick the one that resonated most with me—that the belt of truth represents the truth of God.
Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
1 John 5:20 asserts, “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
So, step one of the belt of truth is the power behind it—the true God.
But how does that help us day to day? Let’s move on to our manual of truth, the Word of God. Proverbs 30:5 tells us, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” And then there’s the very familiar words of Jesus in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
So here’s the way I break this down. In order to combat Satan’s schemes, we need to be girded with truth. We need to be familiar with God’s Word, the Bible, and we need to make reading it, meditating on it, memorizing it, living by it, a way of life. It is only in this way that we will be prepared when Satan attacks us.
Remember Jesus in the wilderness? How did He counter Satan’s attacks? By quoting Scripture! Now, the flip side of that is that Satan also quoted Scripture in an attempt to trip Him up. However, the difference was Satan was twisting or misquoting, or taking his quotes out of context. It may have sounded really good to the average person, and if you don’t know better, you might fall for it. But Jesus, who knew the Truth (who was the Truth), knew better, and deflected the attack.
But here’s the thing. A simple “dress” belt will not do the trick. If you think just reading a verse here and there, or maybe listening to a sermon online will protect you, you’re very wrong. Larry Richards talks about this belt as being more like a weightlifter’s belt—designed to give strength to the core, allowing him to lift even more weight.
Another analogy might be a back brace. One of my coworkers recently had extensive back surgery. For many months after the surgery he had to wear a rigid plastic brace to protect his back and allow it to heal properly. With the brace he could heal properly. Without it, he risked serious injury. It wasn’t always comfortable, but wear it he did.
Perhaps you think spending time in God’s Word to prepare you for the battles you will face sounds like an onerous task. I get it. But might I suggest that when you sit down with your Bible, you read David’s description of the Scripture, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the same attitude toward what you are about to read? Then you can go forward prepared for the battle before you.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
- Larry Richards, The Full Armor of God (Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition). ↑