Did you ever have one of those days where you get up in the morning and couldn’t decide what to wear? Should I put on the pants that make me look professional or the pants that make me feel comfortable?
Should I wear a tie?
What color do I feel like wearing all day long?
I’m sure we’ve all had days where we spend way too much of our valuable morning time trying to choose which articles of clothing we are going to put on and wear. The interesting thing is that even though many men spend time making a conscious decision about what clothes they are going to wear, we don’t spend as much time choosing which attitudes and mindsets we are going to put on for the same day. Often, even though we understand the concept of “dressing for success” in the physical world; we don’t carry that same aggressive thinking into “dressing for success” in the spiritual world. Yet, the Apostle Paul encourages us in Ephesians 6:11 to daily put on the full armor of God---to choose to “put on” the attitudes and behaviors that make up God’s armor---so that we can successful stand against the enemy’s evil schemes to destroy our spiritual and physical lives.
Last month, we answered the question, “What’s the big deal about wearing the full armor of God. This month, we’re going to move on and take at our first look at the individual pieces of the armor of God that we are commanded to “Put On” each day. So let’s open our Bibles to Ephesians 6:10-14 and talk about “The Buckle of Truth”.
“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,”
Okay, to really understand this Scripture, we need to think of the buckle or girdle as it pertains to a suit of armor, not as an accessory that give us a nice waistline. In his book, “Victory in Spiritual Warfare”, Dr. Tony Evans explains that a Roman soldier’s belt had three purposes:
1. It was a place where some of his other armor could hang. He might hang his sword on his belt. He might also hang a dagger there or any number of needed items.
2. A solder would use it to gain greater freedom in movement. When the soldier was ready to head into battle, he could reach down and pick up the part of his tunic that was draping near his feet and tuck it in this belt. If you’ve ever seen a movie that takes place in the Roman era, you’ve seen that the men frequently dressed in long robes. You’ve probably also noticed when it got time to get serious with work or move into battle, the Roman soldier would lift his robe and tuck it underneath his belt. By doing this, he was given greater freedom to move his feet.
3. The belt produced stability by holding things in place….a belt stabilizes whatever else we are wearing. (pg 55)
When the Apostle Paul compares truth to a belt, he is saying that choosing to wear truth each day will be like a Roman soldier choosing to wear his belt when he goes into battle. Just as the Roman soldier’s belt provides him with the benefits of freedom, stability, and a place to keep his other weapons, so truth will provide us with a foundation on which the other parts of our spiritual armor can rest, freedom, and stability that keeps things in their proper order.
As the commentator Albert Barnes says, “The idea here may be, that as the girdle was the bracer up, or support of the body, so truth is suited to brace us up, and to gird us for constancy and firmness. The girdle kept all the parts of the armor in their proper place, and preserved firmness and consistency in the dress; and so truth might serve to give consistency and firmness to our conduct.” (www.e-sword.net)
So, why is it so important that we put on truth every day?
Well, truth is the foundational garment that holds everything else in it’s proper place. Truth is consistent---it never changes. Therefore, it has a stabilizing effect on our lives. Also, because choosing to put on truth puts everything else into it’s proper perspective and keeps it there, when we live in truth, we will live in freedom. As John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So, if you want to live a life that is free from the bondage of sin, you have to “put on truth”.
If you want peace and stability in your life, rather than being tossed along by every new idea, emotion or fad that comes along, you need to choose to “Put on truth.”
Ultimately, if you want to successfully overcome the spiritual attacks of the enemy on your life, you’ve got to start with the foundation of choosing to live each and every day walking in, believing, and wearing truth.
Which leads us to the question: What is truth and how do I choose to put it on? (I love this part, because it’s where we get practical.)
Truth means the opposite of false. It has the sense of valid, reliable, and honest. Truth is a representation of things as they are---true to fact, conforming to reality, factual.
It seems like a simple definition---the opposite of lies. However, living in a culture that is filled with lies makes truth a critical feature of our spiritual wardrobe. It’s the foundational garment that holds everything else together.
Everywhere we look, we are surrounded with lies. Each day, the plethora of entertainment outlets available to us speaks lies in our minds about what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Constantly, we are lied to about what is normal, what is healthy, and what is socially acceptable. We’re told lies like:
God did not create the world; we are all the product of evolution.
All roads lead to Heaven. Christianity is only one of many religions, all leading to the same place.
You must be tolerant and accepting of all religions, never telling anyone that their religion is wrong.
We must be tolerant and acceptable of all lifestyles. People have choices and there is no such thing as sin.
Even within some churches, we are told to compromise our standards of morality in the spirit of tolerance.
However, all of these statements are lies.
There are absolutes.
There is only One True God Who created the world and is still in control of it. He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and redeem mankind from their sins. He is the One and Only Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The Bible is God’s Word. It speaks ultimate truth. Within its pages, sin is clearly defined. So is the path to salvation. Those who choose to accept Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity with Him. Those who reject Him will spend eternity in Hell. Although these may sound like harsh realities, they are reality.
As Christians, we need to keep these fundamental truths of our faith in the forefront of our minds, and not allow ourselves to be deceived by the lies of a culture that tells us otherwise. When we lose sight of these truths and allow lies to put us into a state of spiritual anesthesia, we lose the very essence of who we are as Christians. We stop being light in a dark world, because we’re more comfortable blending in.
These truths are the basis for our life and they define our purpose and our calling on this earth. They are what drive us to abandon ourselves, follow God wholeheartedly and do our part to fulfill the Great Commission. No wonder our enemy is working overtime trying to get us to replace these truths with lies! It is up to us to choose whether we will believe lies or truth.
In his book, “Fight”, Kenny Luck says, “There are two forces alone that shape and influence the hearts of men: truth and lies. Whatever wins the battle for a man’s heart wins the battle for his character. The character of a man drives his conduct…That conduct will create health and life or sickness and death for those around him.” (Page 222-223)
You see, it’s very, very easy to get sucked into the culture of lies. For instance, a few months ago, my sister and I were going through a very difficult time. When the end of the day arrived, it was easy to crash in front of the television and watch a popular comedy that propagated many of these lies. Honestly, it was a really funny show and it took our minds off of the stressful situations in our own lives. Night after night, we compromised and allowed our minds to dwell on lies disguised as sarcastic humor.
Then one night, I had a terrible nightmare. In the dream, someone I was very close to was openly tolerating games of witchcraft. I woke up completely livid thinking, “They better not fool around with things like that!”
Then the Holy Spirit said, “You’re the one who’s fooling around with things like that by watching a comedy where people joke about these types of games.”
It was like someone hit me between the eyes! Like the frog who didn’t realize he was being cooked for soup because the temperature of the pot was rising slowly, I didn’t realize that I was giving ground to the lie that the lifestyle of the people on television was normal. Quickly, I repented and that was the end of that show!
This is just one of the techniques that our enemy, the devil, uses to hold Christians captive to lies. Another of his popular tactics is causing us focus on and believe lies about ourselves.
“You’ll never amount to anything.”
“You’re not worth anything more than an abusive relationship.”
“Who do you think you are to believe that God has an amazing plan for your future after what you’ve done in the past?”
Like videotape, we replay these words spoken to us by other people---parents, teachers, friends, former spouses or girlfriends, co-workers---over and over again in our minds. As we replay the episodes over and over again, they become ingrained into our minds and control our lives. Sadly, there are men reading this article that have been held in captivity for ten, twenty, thirty years or more by LIES that were spoken to them or about them.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Just as you can choose what clothes you put on in the morning, you can choose to ‘put on truth’ by making a conscious effort to replace the lies that play like videotape through your mind with the truth that God speaks in His Word about you.
Rather than focusing on the lie that you are worthless, you need to think about and focus on the truth of 1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you.”
Instead of listening to the lie that you aren’t capable, think about Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength.”
Rather than believing the lie that you have no future, quote Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Both lies and truth are powerful tools, each carrying the power of life and death. The amazing thing is that both are within your reach. The choice is yours: will you believe the lies you’ve been told or the truth in God’s Word? The life that hangs in the balance is your own, and the determining factor is whether you choose to “put on” lies or truth. If you want to choose life, you will need to make the conscious choice to obey Paul’s command and put on the truth.
One final trap that Satan has been using on Christians has a twist of irony to it. Unfortunately, it’s been quite a successful tactic. Here it is: He’s deceiving people with the lie that lying is no big deal. Again, He’s using the media and popular entertainment to accomplish his dirty deed.
Think about it: how many times have you been exposed to a form of entertainment that uses comedy to spread the message that lying is no big deal---everybody does it? How often do we watch people lying, cheat, steal, and betray each other without getting caught while we laugh at each punch line?
Unfortunately, the joke is on us. As we watch, our consciences slowly becoming duller and duller toward lying. Soon we believe that lying is no big deal as long as no one gets hurt. Next, we convince ourselves that it’s okay to lie to keep someone from getting hurt. Ultimately, lying becomes a regular part of our lives and the result is that lots of people get hurt.
As I know from the personal experience of living with a father who called himself a Christian but had a major problem with lying, it is a big deal. It steals, destroys, and kills families, relationships and reputations. It isn’t funny, and the repercussions aren’t all wrapped up in 30 minutes. That may be the lie that Hollywood wants to portray, but reality is that when trust is lost, it takes years to get back---if it can ever be fully regained. If we want to live happy, stable, peaceful lives we need to choose to put on truth each and every day and completely avoid the temptation to lie.
What are some other practical ways we can put on truth? In the book, “Fight” Kenny Luck defines a “person of truth” as one who is:
---able to be honest with God
---able to be honest with yourself
---able to be honest with others
---teachable in the face of uncomfortable truth
---good with reality, not afraid of it
---good at meeting the demands of reality and changing accordingly
---desiring to use truth as compass for decision making
---marinating in God’s truth in the Bible
---proactively applying truth when it’s discovered
---seeking out people of truth to keep you accountable
---taking responsibility (page 223)
As we said before, truth is the opposite of lies. It’s a small definition, but is speaks volumes. When Paul commands us to “gird up our loins with truth” he is actually commanding us to make a conscious choice to abandon lies and live in truth. That means that each day we choose God’s truth over the lies that there is no truth. It means we choose to believe what God’s Word says about us rather than believing the lies we’ve been told throughout our lives. Obviously, putting on truth means choosing to speak truth in all situations and commit to the requirements for being a person of truth.
You see, it’s like we said last month. It’s one thing to get up each morning and say a recite the verse, “I put on the buckle of truth”. It’s another thing to actually wear truth, to live in it and walk in it every hour and every minute of that day. Yet, if we are going to live our spiritual lives in victory, we’re going to have to do more than just look at the spiritual clothes that are available to us like we look at the clothing choices in our closet. We need to take the next step and choose to “put on truth” and live in truth. That’s the first step to Dressing for Victory---choosing to “put on truth”.
Kenny Luck “Fight” Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, Co, 2008
Dr. Tony Evans “Victory in Spiritual Warfare”, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2011