Belt of Truth
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..” – Ephesians 6:14a
When Paul was penning the letter to the Church at Ephesus, he was under house arrest in Rome. With him at all times was a Roman soldier. As he began to delineate the pieces of armor to be worn by the Christian soldier, he had a unwitting Roman soldier near by as his model. The Roman army was very successful due in part to the well-equipped legions. Christians too must be well-equipped with the armor of God. They are to dress for success. After all, God is perfect and this is the armor He wears. He even has a belt. “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist” (Isaiah 11:5).
The Roman Soldier’s Belt
“The Roman imperial army was the earliest of the world’s standing armies in which the soldiers were regularly recruited, and cared for, and finally pensioned off, by the state.” (Michael Grant, The Army of the Caesars, p. xv). Much of the success of the Roman soldier was do to the fact that Rome adequately equipped them for battle. First, they had a broad leather belt which girded up their loins.
A tunic was always worn by the Roman soldier. It was lose fitting and in battle needed to be tucked into his heavy leather belt. This six inch belt often had broad leather strips hanging down to form a sort of skirt with the tunic underneath. Avoiding clothing which flapped about or impeded movement required him to always wear the belt when on the march or going into battle.
Not only do we rarely use the phrase “gird up” in our everyday language, the term “loin” does not show up in our conversations (unless we are eating sirloin or tenderloins). However, the term loin refers to the area from the waist to the knees. The belt served as a girdle in tightening up the stomach. The concept can be seen in the black six inch wide belts stockers in stores wear today in order to protect their abdomens and strengthen their lower backs with added support.
“What is Truth?”
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus in His great intercessory prayer answers this question for us. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17) Not only is the Word of God the truth, Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6).
Notice the Greek word aletheia is used in the text. It can also refer to the attitude of truthfulness. A Christian must be girded with real honesty and integrity. Of course, truthfulness begins with a knowledge of God, accepting the truth of the Bible, and choosing to follow it with integrity.
The Girding on the Belt of Truth Involves…
A Strong Foundation
Whereas our belts are one of the last pieces of clothing put on when dressing, for the Roman soldier, the belt was one of the first pieces of armor. On this belt were clips to hold weapons such as a scabbard for his sword and another for his dagger. It had hooks to help hold the breastplate in place. Christians must begin with truth. It is the foundation for every other facet of his armor. Truth is the basis of what we believe, the source of what is right. The Word of God is truth; salvation is the result of obeying the truth, and the Christian soldier goes forth preaching the truth.
For the Roman soldier, a fastened belt meant he was on duty. A loosened belt meant he was off duty. To prepare for a fight, one might roll up their sleeves. For the Roman soldier, he would gird up his loins via his belt. The Christian prepares himself by knowing the truth. Scriptures cause one to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17b). This means he will “be completely geared up” to do all good deeds.
Controlling Our Thoughts
Peter commanded Christians to “gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13). He is encouraging us to secure any loose thoughts that might trip us up. Loose thoughts lead to bad decisions. It is in our thoughts the Devil first gains a toehold, next a foothold, and finally a stronghold. The mind is a lot easier to influence than you might think. Whatever you do, do not think about a pink elephant. Do not even visualize one. Just now a herd of pink elephants stampeded through your mind. Now, if you do not like the thought that was just placed into your head, then replace it with another thought. Perhaps a more powerful image like a hippo dancing while wearing a purple tutu. Sometimes, the mind is a terrible or difficult thing to mind.
Satan’s Counter-Weapon: Lies
¡ Satan is the Liar
Satan is opposed to the truth, because he is opposed to God and Christ. From the very beginning, he started attacking truth and replacing it with lies (Gen. 3:1-6).. Jesus warned the Jews, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). Undermining or twisting the truth is one of Satan’s favorite strategies. You cannot fight a lie with a lie, so saints need to fight untruthfulness with the truth. “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).
¡ False Doctrines
Satan hates the whole truth and nothing but the truth. When it comes to the teachings of the Bible, he likes to sugar-coat error with just enough truth to make a lie seem plausible. Paul warned, “now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). False teachers abound today looking to scratch itching ears with the lies their audience wants to hear. However, “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14).
¡ Truth Does NOT Exist
The post-modern world believes truth is relative. Truth to one person is not truth to another. Today’s world does not believe in absolutes, when it comes to morals. No one can ever know anything for sure. The belt of truth is just an illusion. Abortion is not murder but the removal of unwanted tissue. Homosexuality is just an alternate lifestyle choice. Genders are not assigned by nature but determined by each individual. Culture, not scripture, rules in the realm of what is right and what is wrong. No one can judge another, they can only be loving and tolerant of all views. When anything can be true, everything becomes one big lie.
We need to put on the belt of truth now more than ever. How is the spiritual battle going? If you are having trouble, it may be you need to tighten your belt.
– Daniel R. Vess