The Belt Of Truth
We just spent two days recognizing the Triumphant Church-the Saints in Heaven, and the Suffering Church- Souls going through the reaping and sowing process in purgatory.
But in today's epistle, St. Paul focuses on the Militant Church-Those of us who are left on Earth to continue the struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, And every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:3-5)
Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18)
I looked up all the Scripture references to armour, searching for passages that would support and enhance the importance of wearing armour when charging off into battle. What I found was not exactly what I had expected. I found that Saul’s armour did not fit David and that Goliath’s armour was useless against David’s stone. I also discovered that a stray arrow found a crack in Ahab’s armour, killing the wicked king. It seems that the armour was, in reality, not very
But then I realized that we are not called to wear the faulty body armour of Saul, Ahab, or Goliath. Rather, we must put on the unfailing armour of God!
In fact, at the very moment that St. Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he might well have been chained to a soldier wearing the armour of the Roman Empire. St. Paul could see firsthand how frail the defenses of man were against the prince of darkness. This is why he twice emphasized “the armour of God.” Also St. Paul seamed to be expanding on the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaias/Isaiah, who had made a similar spiritual association for two of the articles of armour. “He put on justice as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head:” (Isaias/Isaiah 59:17).
Now we must be careful not to miss the importance of wearing all of the articles of the armour that God provides. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the armour of God,” and Ephesians 6:13 declares, “Wherefore take unto you the armour of God.” and then 7 articles of the armour is mentioned. If you do not wear all seven articles then the armour is faulty. It should be all or nothing! This is where many Catholics fail. They take some of the armour, but forget one or two parts of the suit—and pay an eternal price for their neglect. Under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the apostle Paul attaches a spiritual association to seven implements of earthly armour. But today I want to consider only one of these articles of defense to see what we can learn.
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth"
In Bible times, the girdle or belt as it were, about the waist held together the soldier’s garments, which might otherwise hamper his movements while marching or engaging in combat. The spiritual significance is that God does not simply want us to point at the truth; He wants us to wear it and have it wrapped about us. Not only does the belt hold everything in place, but it also serves to carry the sheath that holds the sword of the Spirit for ready access. Some people have the sword of God’s Word, but without the belt of truth they come to reckless conclusions.
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Timothy 3:15)
Understand that the Girdle of Truth held the sheath, that is the Church. And the sheath, the Church, held the sword of God's Word which is truth handed down, truth spoken, and truth written. With out the girdle of Truth, and with out the sheath of the Church, what has happened is that those who have left the Church for some other Denomination took there sword with them (the Word of God) but did not take the girdle of Truth and nor did they take the sheath. Thus they had nothing to hold the rest of armour together. “Jesus saith: 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.''' (John 14:6) By not having Jesus the girdle of Truth , and by not having the sheath which is the True Church, the Catholic Church, the pillar and ground of the truth, They all "have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way:" (Isaias/Isaiah 53:6)
Never forget that wearing the girdle of truth also means wearing Christ, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). This is why Paul said: “For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)
Psalms 51 is known as the Penitential Psalms.
David wrote Psalm 51 after the fallout from his sin with Bathsheba. In a nutshell, David (a married man) saw Bathsheba bathing while he was walking around the roof of his palaces. Though Bathsheba was married herself, David wanted her. And because he was the king, he took her. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David went so far as to arrange the murder of her husband so that he could take her as his wife. (You can read the whole story in 2 Samuel 11.) After these events, David was confronted by the prophet Nathan in a memorable way -- see 2 Samuel 12 for the details. Fortunately, this confrontation ended with David coming to his senses and recognizing the error of his ways.
Psalms 51 begins with conviction and confession (vv.1-6); then the Psalm continues with the cleansing and concern of a broken heart (vv.7-12); and then David writes about the commitments and the confidence of brokenness; which leads to consecration (vv.13-19). David wrote Psalm 51 to repent of his sin and beg for God's forgiveness.
Now in Psalms 51:6 David says this about Truth “Behold, thou lovest and desirest truth in the inward parts” He was basically saying, “From now on I want to be totally honest with God!
I cannot begin this without stopping at the very first word in this verse, "Behold". It reveals that what is about to be said is something of great importance and seriousness. David was exclaiming this truth so that God knew that David got it.
What was the message?
David was caught in the amazing revelation that God wanted the truth from him, not just surface truth but the truth from the depths of his soul.
David had been caught up by the deceitfulness of his own heart. There is such a crucial truth here. David deceived himself and he deceived others because he was deceitful with God.
One of the most important things a sinner must do to stay right with God is to come clean with God about everything. Tell God the truth about what is inside of your mind and heart. He wants to know all of it no matter how difficult it is to tell Him about it. We must stop lying or trying to cover our sin from God. It will only lead to destruction. When you think that dirty thought tell God the truth about it. He wants to know every secret thing. When you are tempted to do or even commit that horrible act, do not try to hide any of it from God. Staying right with God requires total honesty with God. It is that honesty that leads to our victory. When that appetite begins to return, confess it quickly so that He can get it out of you. God wants us clean in the depths of our hearts. Purity is not what we think we are. Purity is not what others think we are. Purity is what God knows we are. It is based upon what God can see in the very inner secrets of our hearts.
Here is the problem.
When we do not confess what God knows then we are running on a different playbook.
We cannot win that way. Now here is the key. Truth is more than the absence of lies or deceit. It is the presence of God's will and Word within us. David was not merely saying that God does not want us to hide lies in the inward parts. He was saying God wanted HIS truth to permeate David. To be right with God we must do more than just remove the inner lies. We must fill ourselves with God's truth. Truth and lies cannot abide together.
Far too many people are in the mode of removal than replacement. Once we have confessed our sins, we must then begin the process of replacing it with the truth within. Are you replacing the negative with the positive? Are you hiding God's Word and truth deep within your heart?
Finally, there is one other aspect of this part of David's prayer. He said, “Thou desirest,” not demandest, not expecteth. God is not a demanding God. We want to force people to conform, to open up and tell us everything. He wants us to learn what He desires and to do it because we choose to do so. David wanted not just to do what he thought was expected of him by God; he wanted to do what would satisfy the desires of God. God's desire is that we have truth in the deepest part of our being.
What are you "hiding" from God? Are there things that you have not told Him that He wants, needs to know? Take a few minutes today to inventory your heart and see if there are any inward places where you have things you have not shared with Him. Then begin to take the girdle or belt of His Word and apply them to those things. Maybe its bitterness, hurt, discouragement, depression, fears, disappointments, or insecurities. All of these can lead to other sins.
Begin to make it a habit to tell God everything. If you lust, tell God. If you doubt, tell Him. If you get mad, tell Him. Hold nothing back from Him. David's greatest characteristic was his transparency with God. May we be as transparent as David with our God.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14)