“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”
From the words that Paul uses it appears that in referring to ‘the whole armour of God’ he had in mind the full armour of a heavily-armed Roman soldier. Paul would have seen many such soldiers in his life-time and knew that their armour was well-designed and that they were well trained in its use. It should also be noted that the heavy armour protected the front of the soldier who was not expected to turn his back on the enemy at any stage.
In this case the armour to which he refers is not made by Roman craftsman but instead has been formed and strengthened by God. In the Old Testament God is depicted as the warrior fighting to vindicate His people. He is referred to as putting on ‘righteousness as a breastplate’ and ‘the helmet of salvation.’ (Isaiah 59:17) Whereas King Saul offered David his armour but David found it unsuitable God offers us His own armour which is perfect for our needs.
It commences with our putting on ‘the belt of truth’ around our waist or centre. Usually made of leather it was essential to the soldier. It gathered his tunic together, held his sword and kept other pieces of his armour in place. Belted firmly around his middle it would also have given him a sense of security, purpose and strength. For us this primary and essential piece of equipment is provided by our being centred on and established on truth. We belt truth around us every day and keep it in place as it keeps us in place.
The truth that Paul refers to has two important meanings. First and foremost there is the truth about God, the Father Almighty, and His great and unquenchable love. Then there is the truth about Jesus Christ – His Son and our Saviour and Lord. There is also the fact that Jesus Himself is ‘the Truth’ – that the real life-giving and life-sustaining truth is not a formula, an equation or a logical conclusion but a Living Person. Then there is the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth. In this respect then we clothe ourselves with God at the very centre of our beings and as the foundation upon which everything else is built and relies.
Then there is the truth which refers to ourselves as people of integrity. In binding truth about our centres as the first item of our clothing and armour we are committing ourselves to honesty and integrity in all of our dealings with other people as well as with ourselves. We will speak the truth and deal honestly with all people, never cheating, lying or acting dishonestly or immorally or illegally. The fewer unhappy secrets that we have the less we have to fear any disclosure – and the more we can look at out at the world with clear and unclouded vision.
The Christian needs both the truth of God and the truth of a life lived in the light. We should purposefully arm ourselves with them as we prepare for the day ahead.
Commit yourself to walking with God in the light throughout the day – and watch how you do.
Heavenly Father, You have given us the armour that we need to protect ourselves against the evil one. Help us please to wear it at all times and to walk with You in the clear light of Your love. In Jesus name. Amen.