The Full Armor (part two)
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). Notice that God provides a full arsenal. Perhaps we might be able to find earthly sources of contentment that can replace one or two of the following implements, but nothing can replace the full armor provided by God. Nothing is as all-encompassing. Christianity is not a religion of either the heart, mind, soul, or body to the exclusions of the others. Rather, it covers all. Everything about my life can be placed in God’s hands. Every anxiety (1 Peter 5:7), every care and burden (Psalm 55:22).
“Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth…” (Ephesians 6:14a). The girding of one’s loins gives strength and stability. After all, if our legs and hips are not protected, we will not long stand in the heat of battle. Traditionally, it is understood that the belt worn around the loins was a key component of ancient armor, and held other pieces in place. It served as a lynchpin of sorts to the rest of the battle raiment. What this means is that we must protect our most vulnerable parts with truth:
We all have areas of our lives that are sensitive, or vulnerable. We often try to hide these places, these dark secrets or regrets, with a veneer of lies. This exhortation seems to be telling us to confront our vulnerabilities with truth, and protect them from attack. Satan would love nothing more than to use a bad relationship, a seedy past, or some kind of sensitive situation to his advantage. Gird them in truth and he will not able to do so!
Paul is a good example of a man who used truth to turn his weaknesses into strengths. Even though he was formerly a blasphemer of Christ, he never tried to hide it from his detractors (Galatians 1:22-24). He knew he was a sinner (1 Timothy 1:15), but used that fact to grow closer to God through grace. “When I am weak, then I am strong,” he was known to say (2 Corinthians 12:10).The truth is also God’s truth of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, the veracity of God (Romans 15:8).
“And having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14b). Righteousness is the standard on our chest, the first thing people see glistening in the sun as we march across the battlefield. Do you wear righteousness like a breastplate? Or do you forget about it, leave it at home while you are at work, or allow the breastplate to become tarnished? Wearing our righteousness means more than just harping on falsehood, or expressing mere rhetoric. We must practice is consistently! Consider what is written in 1 John 3:7 and 1 John 2:29.