Summary: What exactly is Paul getting at with each of these things that God has given us? This message tries to dig out the importance of each.
- This passage is often preached, yet I never felt like I understood what exactly Paul was getting at with each piece that’s mentioned. What are the specific needs? What are the specific dangers? What specifically has God given us?
- In preparing, I tried to dig deeper. For instance: “having your girded your waist with truth” -what does that mean? Why a belt image for truth? What does it symbolize? How does it play into the spiritual battles we face?
- In digging, I think (not surprisingly) that each of these is here because it’s a major concern in spiritual warfare and God’s provision in each case is just what’s needed to combat the problem.
- I’m addressing this as seven ways to lose a spiritual fight so that we can begin each point by highlighting the mistakes that we make and problems we encounter as we get into spiritual fights and then move onto God’s perfect provision in each case.
SEVEN WAYS TO LOSE A (SPIRITUAL) FIGHT:
1. Get tripped up.
- v. 14 - “. . .having girded your waist with truth.”
- What does “girded” mean? It simply means “wrapped around.” What we’re talking about here is a belt.
- This is an important piece in two ways.
a. People back in that day often wore long flowing robes. One need before you went into battle was to tuck your long robe into your belt. Why did you do this? Because if you tried to move around much with that long robe, you’d inevitably trip on it and fall down. In battle, getting tripped up could be a death sentence.
- Think of a bride’s wedding dress. It’s usually at least floor length. Think of the trouble she has as she tries to negotiate the stairs up to the platform. She usually has to hand off her bouquet and use that hand to pull up her dress a bit, all the while using her other arm to hold onto her father to keep from falling down. Imagine trying to do any kind of strenuous physical activity (running, climbing stairs, etc.) in that kind of a dress. It wouldn’t take long for you to be on the floor.
- Why is this belt a belt of truth, as opposed to a belt of grace or a belt of justice or something else? It’s because if you don’t know the real truth, you’re constantly going to be getting tripped up. One small example: Jesus said in our relationships to others that we should respond to their mistakes with forgiveness. Many disagree with that and live their lives keeping a careful mental record of wrongs committed and malice received. As a result of that, those people live not in victory, but are constantly tripped up by resentment and bitterness and hatred. It happens because they don’t know the truth and therefore are constantly tripped up by the lies they take for truth.
b. A second, although less important, point here is simply that if you don’t have your belt (which would normally hold your sheath), then you aren’t going to have your sword as you walk into battle. Spiritually, if you don’t know the truth, you definitely aren’t going to have the power of the Word of God flowing through your life.
2. In the midst of the battle, lose heart because of your mistakes.