Summary: The Belt of Truth supports us in the daily battles of life, in a world where Truth is relative, where people make their own truth. God's word is truth that provides direction and ultimately victory.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”
Are you properly equipped for battle? When I deployed to Iraq, an essential item of issued equipment was my web belt, which we call our “battle rattle.” It doesn’t seem important, yet on it soldiers can carry their flashlight, first aid-kit, ammo pouch, gas mask, knife, hearing protection, compass, canteen, holster, and anything else for which they need ready access. I found that my ammo pouch was a good place to keep snacks!
In Luke 12:35, Jesus charges His disciples: “Be dressed for readiness.” This means to be ready for action, for rapid deployment. In Bible times, a soldier’s belt helped gathered up his tunic to keep it from being a hindrance so he could fight unencumbered. The belt also provided a place to sheath a sword. And this particular belt, a kind of leather apron, also protected the midsection of the body.
Weight lifters wear a wide leather belt to help support their backs. The Belt of Truth supports our inner being; it compels us to speak the truth with integrity. If we don’t stand up for truth, everything else in life will begin to fall apart. Everywhere we turn there are weapons aimed at us, and we must be protected to overcome the assaults of an increasingly godless culture. I Peter 3:15 tells us, “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The Bible is defensible; it can withstand the toughest questions we can ask it. The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.
The Roman soldier’s belt gathered up loose garments. We make sense of the loose threads of life--of everything--by knowing what is true. “When we see with spiritual eyes, we live in a world of meaning” (Gardner). We can’t afford to be unaware of the truth. No one can be a spiritual warrior who is biblically illiterate. “By truth we bind up everything in our lives that is loose, that might cause us to stumble in spiritual battle” (Borgman). We need a working-knowledge of God’s word if we are to achieve victory. We “let the word of Christ dwell richly within us” (Col 3:16), and this word will support us as does a belt. Then we can oppose the devil, the “father of lies,” protected by God’s truth.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). We start with objective truth. It is imperative we know what is true--otherwise, we’ll be defeated before we even begin the battle. In the pages of Scripture, truth is defined and error is condemned. We’re no longer wavering by guesswork or false thinking. Truth is an unpopular topic today. We live in an age where people claim there is no truth, that you make your own truth. There are only 2 options: We either we live by moral absolutes or by arbitrary preferences. Either there is truth…or nothing is true or false. If there is no “right and wrong” then we have no basis to dislike any sort of behavior, no matter how repugnant it may be. If we are to live by fallible human reasoning alone, we are already defeated. Truth doesn’t change according to our likes and dislikes. We do not create truth; the truth creates us.
Soldiers cannot afford to be ignorant. They study; in fact they never stop! For every rank in the Army there is a military school--from Private to General--and our troops are encouraged to continue their civilian education as well. College professors even deploy with our troops to teach during down-time (Faculty of the University of Maryland were with us in Bosnia). A highly-trained force fights intelligently. You know about Basic Training, but there are specialty schools as well--such as Airborne and Ranger training, the Pathfinder’s Course, Jungle School, the Combat Lifesaver Course, Master Fitness Training, the Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Course, and many more. This is how our troops become “fit-to-fight.” Those in God’s Army stay sharp by studying the Bible, by reading Christian books, magazines, websites, and by the resources of the church.
Pontius Pilate skeptically asked Jesus, “What is truth?” The irony of the moment is that he was staring Truth in the face. Jesus answered him: “For this I was born…to bear witness to the truth.” And earlier, Jesus declared, “I AM the truth” (John 14:6).
Our problem is--we live in a world saturated by lies. All we need do is turn on our TVs and we’re tempted to laugh at sin, to be entertained by it. The devil wants to destroy our conscience, and will use deceitful, seemingly harmless means to do so. The devil also wants to destroy our reputation; people of religious conviction are portrayed in the media as naïve, narrow-minded bigots. Nonetheless, we continue to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).