ARMOUR OF GOD – The Belt of Truth
After a few days of introductory comments on the armour of God passage we finally start with the list of the various pieces of armour to be employed against the devil. The first on the list is the ‘Belt of Truth’ (Ephesians 6:14).
To a solider at the time the belt was one of the most critical pieces of armour, because it held a few of the other pieces together. The breastplate could only be fitted with the belt in place, and of course the sword was kept on the belt.
In the metaphor of spiritual warfare this makes sense: truth is essential when standing strong against the devil! Through the Bible the devil is described as “…a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Indeed his first move in the war against mankind was a deception! (Genesis 3:1)
This makes truth essential when combatting the devil at all times, but especially in these times. In fact it may be fair to say that today more than ever before, truth matters. Especially for the Christian, truth matters.
I say that because more than ever before:
- Our search for truth is being shaped in ways we may not realise.
- There is an abundance of falsity.
If you want to find out the answer to a question, where would you go? No doubt to Google, or perhaps if it’s a more academic question, then to Wikipedia.
I don’t have any issues personally with these platforms, but it is important to be aware of the mechanisms being used in providing us the information we’re seeking.
For Google, the genius of the search engine lies in its ability to provide you with the most relevant answer to your search. With the millions of pages of information pertaining to your search available, Google will return the ones most relevant to you, based on your searching history, profile etc. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, it’s really smart and helpful! However, relevance is hardly a criteria for establishing truth!
I tested this once, and googled ‘Islam’. Of the first 10 page results, 7 of the pages were Christian pages commenting on Islam from a Christian perspective! Of course that is relevant from my standpoint, but it’s hardly objective!
For Wikipedia it’s the principle of consensus. The principle is simply that the more people collaborating and corroborating information on an article, the closer it must be to being true. Again, not a bad way of organising a community-based encyclopedia, but for the Christian ‘narrow is the way that leads to life, and few will walk in it’ (Matthew 7:14).
Ultimately ours is a truth that is :
“…folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”1 Corinthians 1:18
This means that there is a profound, life-changing, eternity-shaping truth that will not be found by consensus or relevance!
Again, this is not to say that technology, or these platforms, are evil or based on evil, rather simply to say that for a Christian our pursuit of truth is being shaped in ways we need to be aware of. Put even more simply: you can’t believe anything you see online! We have to dig deeper to find truth these days, which makes the belt of truth an absolutely critical weapon in the armour of God!
The second reason the ‘belt of truth’ is more necessary today than ever before is because of the abundance of falsehood. There is a mass of information available to us in this information age, a lot of which is false!
We have seen the power of fake news to shape modern society, and for the Christian truth matters.
Researchers from MIT did a ground-breaking study in 2018 of the articles posted on Twitter since it’s inception, and the reach it had in people seeing them and re-tweeting them. They analyzed every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence—some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years.
They wanted to see if the fake news, or the real news, had a greater reach. What they found is that a false story is much more likely to go viral than a real story. In fact a false story reaches 1,500 people six times quicker, on average, than a true story does. In addition a false story is 70 percent more likely to get retweeted than accurate news.
What that says is that we love fake news! Why? For the same reason we love gossip: the novelty, intrigue and sensation it produces.
For Christians, truth matters. Particularly in our online world.
Imagine, if Christians fall for every fake news story out there, what credibility would that give about our belief in the unlikely story of the Gospel of Jesus?
Ultimately, truth matters because God the Father is truth:
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God” (John 17: 3).
And Jesus declared Himself truth:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6)
And not to be missed out, the Holy Spirit is:
“the Spirit of truth” (John 16: 13)
Truth is therefore not an attribute of God, God is truth, and thus truth is at the very heart of the divine nature of God!
God calls us to truth, and away from falsehood. Truth matters!
Activity for kids
(Click on the bold, underlined text in the activities below to go to the online link.)
1. Is it in the Bible, family quiz:
Host a family quiz, where the aim is to say whether various phrases can be found in the Bible (True) or not (False). You can use these ideas for the ‘False’ phrases or come up with your own. Talk about how important it is to know God’s Word and to tell the difference between what he says is true and what isn’t.
2. Make your own belt of truth:
Let your child decorate a belt or make their own out of paper, and add verses about God’s truth (for example, Psalm 145:18, Psalm 119:160, Psalm 25:5, John 17:17). Talk to your child about today’s devotion, and encourage them to fight the lies of the enemy with the truth from God’s Word.
3. Is this truth:
Download and print these pages for 5-7 year-olds, or 8-11 year-olds. Let your children colour in the truth statements and scribble out the lies. Talk to your child about the lies they might be believing, and perhaps share with them a lie that you sometimes believe. Memorise a truth from God’s Word to fight that lie together and repeat it daily this week.