What if someone told you that there is a world around us, that is active, deceptive, engaged in, and infiltrating our lives. This is not a physical world, but a spiritual one. But don't let that decieve you. It has more impact on your physical world than anything else. It drives our physical world into caos. It infiltrates our very minds, manipulating our cultures, not from a distance, but among us. They are here. They are real. Would you fight? Would you stand up for what is true? What you stand up for what is right? Would you develop a tactic to overcome your adversary? Would you unite with other people who believed in this invisible world? Would you fight together with those that saw it for what it was? This sounds like science fiction, like something written in the pages of a script for television. But unlike what we see on television or read in books, this is actually REAL.......
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (the physical world), but against the rulers (those attempting to control), against the authorities (those who define the rules) against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (in the spiritual world - right among us, but unseen)."
This struggle as Paul defines it, is real. It's not science fiction. It is not outside my town. I cannot operate within the confines of what I know, what I am comfortable with and escape that battle. No, it is amoung our towns. It is not outside our church. In fact, our churches may be the center of the battlefields (if they are not, there may be something wrong with the church you attend). It is not outside our circle of friends. No, the evil schemes are moving among those we love, among those we dislike, among us. It is not outside our window. The battle moves among our families, among our children, among our workplace. It sits in the car with us. It lays down to sleep with us. The battle is real. It is constant. It is severe. It is life and death.
Are you awake? Are you thinking of scrounging around for a defense? In this battle between the evil forces and those serving God, how do we defend ourselves? How do we overcome something that we cannot see? How do we begin to see or recognize the operations, motives, tactics, movements of our enemy so that we may position ourselves to withstand an attack?
"Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."
Today I want to examine part one, the belt of truth:
The Belt of Truth. What truth? The truth of who we are in this world? The truth of who God is? The truth of who our adversary, Satan is? Truth as explained by the term "Wisdom" or "Knowledge"? Truth as explained by the term "Reality"? Truth as defined by "right" or "wrong"? The short answer to these questions is "yes". Truth as defined in scripture is "that which is opposed to falsehood". It wraps the reality of Christ, the reality of our being, the reality of the struggle with sin and good and evil in this world, all into one. The belt of truth opposes falsehood. It opposes falsehood in our minds - deceptive thoughts, deceptive information, deceptive philosophies. It opposes falsehood in our world - deceptive behavior, deceptive cultures, deceptive claims such as what will being you happiness, peace, or success. It opposes falsehood in the spiritual realm -Christ said "I am the truth". Christians can oppose falsehoods from satan just through thier faith in Christ! We pick up the belt of truth when we wake up in the morning, and choose to follow Christ. We wrap it around our midsection when we read the truth of scripture, the Holy Bible. We buckle the clasps on the belt when we let these words of scripture infiltrate our hearts and minds, transforming who were were when we were a part of the world, and who we are in Christ. We stand firm in our faith when we remember that this belt of truth only has power when it comes from God, and not of ourselves. To build our defense, we carry the belt of truth to others when we share the gospel with them. Our army is built out of those who recognize this battle and prepare thier hearts and minds for warfare. We stand firm knowing the enemy's tactics, and deflecting deception when it is fired upon us.
Lord, may I stand firm today in Truth. May I recognize this battle and fight for the souls of others. May I develop an urgency to spare someone a single day of torment by sharing the gospel. Lord prepare me for battle. Give me wisdom and understanding to oppose falsehood among me. The falsehood of our world that tells me that what I do is never good enough. The falsehood of our world that tells me not to try. The falsehood of our world which tries to distract me from this urgent, powerful war waging among us. May I focus on what truly matters today Lord, and find my strength on the battlefield within your arms. Amen.