REFLECTIONS #133: WHAT ARE YOU WEARING TODAY?PART TWO: THE BELT OF TRUTH



“Jesus answered …You say rightly that I am a king. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” John 18:37.

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” Ephesians 6:14, KJV


WHAT IS TRUTH?

“Here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological.” ~ John MacArthur

I think that is a good definition of what truth is. Today, our culture has rejected absolute truth. Truth is whatever you want it to be. It is the day evil is called good and good is called evil; the truth is called lies and the lies are called truth. It is absolutely mind-boggling! Many take comfort that they can define truth to fit their desires. But God has a different perspective. He IS truth, and He does not change truth to fit the definitions of man. He has strong feelings about the subject.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” ~ Isaiah 5:20

Truth is what GOD says it is!

The very first thing satan did in the Garden was to distort and challenge God’s truth.

“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’… You will not surely die.’” ~ Genesis 3:1, 4

Because Eve and Adam chose to believe the lie of the serpent over the truth of God, they fell, they died, and they were expelled from the Garden; and we along with them. Lest we be too hard on them, mankind has continued to fall for the lies of the devil, right up to this present time. Perhaps that is why the first piece of armor Paul said to put on is the belt of truth.


HOW TO PUT ON THE BELT OF TRUTH

Paul said to “gird our loins” with truth. In looking at the Greek, some important things become clear that may not be clear in the various translations. In the first place, he wasn’t talking about a simple belt to cinch your waist and hold up your clothes, although the Roman military belt certainly did do that. He was talking about a piece of a Roman military uniform that protected the loins—“the place where the Hebrews thought the generative power (semen) resided” (Strong’s #3751) — and gave the soldier something to hang his sword on. The belt had an apron of strips of leather, often studded with metal buttons, hanging from its center. Although some suggest it was purely decorative, others suggest it provided at least some protection from the “low blows” of the enemy. Most importantly, the belt was where the Romans kept their sword—easy to pull out of its scabbard and ready to use when needed.

Our Christian belt of truth is, of course, the Word of God. The first vital thing is to know what the truth is, so we are told to be like the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily.”

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” Acts 17:11.

How can we know the truth if we will not look for the truth? Remember, the Bereans only had the Old Testament. They confirmed Paul’s words of the gospel of Christ with what was in the Word of the Old Testament! They searched out the truth, in spite of the religious leaders of the day persecuting Paul and the other apostles and disciples for preaching the gospel. The Holy Spirit opened their eyes to the truth because they were looking for the truth.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13.

One of the things God is doing in this hour is restoring to the Church the Word of God. We’ve heard far too many sermons that are based on pop psychology, popular buzz words, pep talks, and motivational speeches about “how to win friends and influence enemies.” God is restoring TRUTH to the Church! Praise God! We’ve been through decades of feeding on pablum in the Church and God’s sheep became weak and many are spiritually emaciated. Church membership in all Christian denominations has steadily declined in the Western Church, including the United States. And why not? People came to the Church hungry for the truth, and they weren’t getting it; there was no satisfaction in the soul or in the spirit. So they dropped out in discouragement. Others were like children crying out for sweets and candy, and they wanted something to satisfy their craving; but when they were given the candy by their indulgent pastors and teachers to appease their itching ears, it didn’t satisfy the void in their lives and the longing in their souls, and they, too, left the Church to seek their answers somewhere else.


THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH

Here are some truly shocking facts about the state of the American Church from REVIVAL OUTSIDE THE WALLS:

· 68% of all evangelical churches in the United States have a congregation with less than 100 people including children and half of those churches have less than 50! National Congregations Study, 2019

· Only 12% of young people, ages 18-24, identify as Evangelical Christians, which is less than half of the National Average. Survey of Young Americans, Harvard Kennedy School, 2019

· A person attending every service in an evangelical church for 2 months straight would have less than a 10% chance of hearing a phrase that included the words “hell” or “redemption,” two of the most distinctive words that characterize evangelical beliefs. The Digital Pulpit: A nationwide Analysis of Online Sermons, Pew Research Center, 2019

· In a recent survey of 2500 congregations, more than half of the members said they did not believe their church was spiritually vital. Faith Communities Today


Here’s one more fact from The Atlantic in 2018: “6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America—and that number will likely grow.”

Young Americans, Harvard Kennedy School, 201

The Church is in trouble. BIG trouble, and we can certainly see why God has stepped in to restore truth to the Church. The first thing He had to show is we had lost the truth, because many of us didn’t know that we had! It is astonishing how many American Christians neglect to read and study their Bible on a daily basis. It is even more astonishing how many neglect to read it at all, depending on their pastor or teacher to spoon feed them the Word. I’ve been there. I’ve done more than my fair share of neglecting the Word! But God is saying today, THAT MUST CHANGE!

If we don’t know the TRUTH, if we are not girded, enveloped, by the truth, the rest of our armor isn’t going to do us much good on the battlefield. As Clarice Fluitt puts it, “You may be sincere; but you may be sincerely wrong.” Only the Word can be our guide. Only the truth can protect us and make us free.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” John 8:31-32.

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” John 17:17.

It isn’t enough just to know the truth—we must also do the truth. Our walk mirrors our truth. When we say something with our mouths, but we do something different, we are doubleminded and unstable in all our ways. (See James 1:8)

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” Romans 12:2.

Truth is essential. And truth is under constant attack in our culture. The sad thing is the Church has grown so weak and confused that many in the Church equate love and grace with tolerating and accepting evil. Jesus always loved the sinner and the lost. That’s who He came for! He did not condemn them for their sin, but neither did He excuse or comfort them in it; He confronted their sin, called it sin, and delivered them from it and forgave them. That is true love, and that is what His Church is called to do.


DO YOU KNOW THE TRUTH?

If our beliefs are not rooted and grounded in God’s Word, we have no defense when those belief are challenged. Truth is what makes our sword sharp and cutting and helps us distinguish what is true from what is untrue.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16.

A big problem today is that a lot of atheists and agnostics know the Bible better than the Christians do, so when they distort and lie about the Word the Christian doesn’t know how to defend it. How can we defend the truth when we don’t know the truth? How can we defend the truth when we aren’t convinced it is the truth?

To be victorious soldiers in the Kingdom of God, we must read the Word, study the Word, confess the Word and surround ourselves with the truth of the Word. Our trust in God and His Word, which is His truth, must wrap around us as a belt; we must know what we believe and why we believe it. And we must demonstrate it with the way we live our lives.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” Proverbs 3:3-4


TRUTH: DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!


“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’”John 14:6.


“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.


There is truth. What is truth? I go back to the definition by John MacArthur: “Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God.”

And God is love, holy, righteous, and just; omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is I AM, the eternal GOD and Creator of all things.

“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5.


And there is untruth. That which is untrue is a lie, a misrepresentation, false, imperfect, flawed, and dishonest.

Satan is the liar, accuser, deceiver, and destroyer. As Jesus said,


“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” John 8:44.


Truth and untruth. How can you know the difference?


Jesus said if you are His, you know Him and hear His voice. (See John 10:27.) He said if you are of the truth, you will hear the truth (See John 18:37.) So ask Him! Search the scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. And when He does, hold the truth tightly to you, proclaim, decree it, declare it, gird your loins with it, and live it!


Put on the belt of truth every day! Jesus is Lord of lords, King of kings, Savior, Redeemer, Righteous and Holy! And has made those who believe and receive Him more than conquerors. He has given His Church His authority to overcome the devil and the world. That’s the truth! Own it! Wear it! Everyday!


Love, Hugs, and Blessings,

Syandra

His will, His way, whatever the cost!



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