Written By: R.A. Goodnight
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” – Ephesians 6:14, 15
“WHAT IS TRUTH?”
For ages, human philosophers have pursued answers to life’s biggest questions. Thankfully, a degree in philosophy isn’t required to find explanations for most, as the scriptures provide satisfying answers to all such questions. Let me give you an example.
Contained in the inspired words, we find a conversation that Christ was having with Pontius Pilate during his trial, just before his death. Let’s pick up the conversation at John 18:37 (NIV), where Jesus says to Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” Pilate then responds to Jesus in verse 38 with a question, “What is truth?”
This is a powerful question. It is a question that affects all humans who have ever lived, are living, or will live in the future. Using Christ’s statement in verse 37, he tells us that the truth was the reason he came to Earth. Because of Christ’s statement, the answer to Pilate’s question is central to the Christian faith. If you were standing in front of Pilate, how would you have answered his question?
Interestingly, Jesus did not answer Pilate’s question after he asked it. But, prior to his arrest and trial, he did provide the answer in a prayer that he was offering to his Father. Praying for his disciples, notice what Jesus requested, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV). He gave a plain, uncomplicated answer to a question that many find (or try to make) complicated. God’s word is the truth, the source of truth. If any doctrine or theology is not in agreement with God’s word, it simply is not truth.
Christ’s statement should help solidify in our minds the importance of God’s word. Now that we understand what truth is, why is it a component of our spiritual armor? How does it protect us?
TRUTH AS A BELT
Just as a literal belt is firm around our waist, encompassing our body, so should be our reliance upon God’s word. It should shape our thoughts, our beliefs and finally our actions. Psalms 119:105 (NIV) reminds us of the help God’s word can give us in our daily lives. The psalmist states, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” The world has become a ‘gray’ place, where good and bad have become subjective. However, with the truth of God’s word lighting our way, it becomes clear what a Christian’s stance should be on matters debated in the world.
Along these lines, 1 Thessalonians 5:21,22 (NLT) gives us this advice as well, “but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” The Bible tells us we need to sort through all we hear to filter out what is good or evil. Christians encounter opinions expressed as truth every day. Do we just accept these or do we test them out? How can we test them if we are unfamiliar with God’s truth contained in scripture? If we just accept them and then share them with others, we are simply spreading those untested concepts.
Even when it came to Paul’s teaching, a group of first century believers did not accept them on face value. Acts tells us that they “examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11) If the words of a prominent apostle were put to the test, how fitting an example for us to use today with opinions coming from all directions. The Bible should be central in our lives, examined by us every day. It should be our litmus test to prove if what we hear is true.
This leads well into our next component of spiritual armor. How does truth play a part in having our feet fitted with readiness of the gospel of peace?
A SOLDIER’S BOOTS
Let’s go back to Jesus words from John 18:37 (NIV). Jesus stated that he came into the world to testify to the truth. He reinforces this again in Mark 1:38 (NIV), “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
When we think of what Jesus did while on earth several thoughts may come to mind – he healed the sick, raised the dead and gave his life as a ransom sacrifice. But, using his own words, these are not the reasons (the primary reason) he came to Earth. What did Jesus spend most of his time doing? Preaching. Teaching. Testifying to the truth. He shared it with disregard to his own needs with anyone who would listen to the lifesaving message of The Good News.
As soldiers in God’s army, our testimony to the truth is part of our warfare as well. Just as a pair of boots helps ready us to run into an battle, our knowledge of truth readies us to proactively preach it or reactively defend it. Paul reminds us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15) Notice he stated – ALWAYS BE PREPARED. Readiness, willingness to stand up and testify–what better way to wage spiritual warfare than to testify to the truth, provide a defense and show others the truths Satan attempts to hide.
The same question from above applies here as well. How can we give testimony? How can we provide an answer to anyone who asks us? If we ourselves are not familiar with God word we hinder our ability to do these things. The study of God’s word must be a central part of our lives for us to be capable and ready to provide such a defense.
As a test to our readiness to defend our hope, ask yourselves if you could use the Bible to answer these questions:
Who is God?
What are his primary attributes?
What is the Holy Spirit?
Who is Jesus Christ?
Why did Jesus Christ have to die?
There are obviously other questions important to our faith, but a comprehending these fundamentals gauges our readiness to do what He has called us to do.
For those who have been following the Call to Arms series, we can see that there is a continuing thread in these articles:
●In January, we learned how God’s word serves as our sword.
●Last month, we discerned that the study of His word strengthens our faith to use it as a shield.
●This month we see that inspired word is the source of truth to test out thoughts, ideas and objections to our faith. Further, a working knowledge of this truth equips us with “boots,” to share the Gospel and defend those truths with a response.
●In April, we will conclude how the truth of God’s word helps forge us a helmet of salvation and a breastplate of righteousness to protect our minds and hearts.
God’s word – The Bible – is ‘the metal’ from which all the components of our armor get their strength. Without this ingredient in our daily lives our armor will not be able to stand up as well to the battles we face. When we think about its critical role, I wonder, are we giving the study of God’s word the real attention it deserves?
I would consider it a privilege to hear from any of the readers. Reach out to me, share your stories. firstname.lastname@example.org