My youngest sister is a fashionista. She’s so good at putting together outfits in a moment’s notice — where I see a shirt and skirt, she sees the foundation for a “look”. Add a few accessories here, a cute belt there, with the perfect pair of shoes… she’s ready to walk out of the house looking like she has a professional stylist hanging out in her room. According to her, the details are key. It all works together — without one of the accessories, the outfit wouldn’t be as bold. Her outfits are lots of pieces working together. The armor of God that Paul describes in Ephesians 6 works the same way. Every piece works with the other pieces… and without one, the outfit isn’t as powerful. You have to have the helmet of salvation to put on the breastplate of righteousness or the piece we’re talking about today… the belt of truth. When we put all the parts together, you’ll see that it’s all essential… and, altogether, this armor gives us strength to do what we must — to withstand in the evil day.
So, Paul tells us to “stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” What does girding your loins mean, exactly? Webster says that to gird means to prepare for action. To gird one’s loins means to ‘muster up one’s resources’. If you’ll think back to the Romans, you might remember that they didn’t wear jeans or any sort of pants back then. Their robes or tunics were loose around the legs. When they were preparing for a fight, they’d tighten up this loose material around the pelvic region, so that they wouldn’t get tripped up or slowed down in any way.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you were being less than honest about something, you might understand this quote by Sir Walter Scott: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!” In other words, you make a mess of things when you lie. And, usually, one lie leads to another and to another and to another… until, at some point, you trip yourself up and get caught in that tangled web. Covering up a lie with another lie can be an endless, vicious circle… and living dishonestly never solves any of your problems. It only creates more. Once you’ve broken trust with another human being, it is a long, hard road to rebuilding their confidence in you. Not a fun process.
Satan knows this. He understands that deceit is a rotten thing that can undermine any relationship. Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. From the beginning, satan has lied to humanity and has tried to break the relationship between us and God by spreading deceit through the world. In a given day, we face lies that we may not even recognize as lies — because that’s how good satan is at manipulation. When the world tells us that we need to look a certain way to be loved or tries to convince us that we need alcohol to deal with nerves or shows us that we have to show our skin and shake our bottoms to be attractive… these are lies trying to get into our system. And those are just the examples that I noticed an hour ago while I was watching tv. I’m sure, if you think about it, you could come up with others.
If satan’s lies looked like obvious lies, then no one would buy into it, right? He’s good at dressing them up. But Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and if we encircle ourselves with His presence, then we are prepared to face the deception of the world. Jesus promised to send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17) and our guide into all truth. (John 16:13)
So surround yourself with the Truth and you won’t get tripped up by any tangled webs… and what’s one way to do that? Remember how the definition of ‘gird up your loins’ means ‘muster your resources’? I’d say that resource, for us, is the Word of God… the source of our truth and the guide for living. We can follow the advice of II Timothy 2:15 — “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth….”
Gird thy loins — know the word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.