We have had a very difficult and contentious few years here in the USA; and, the past couple of months have only intensified all of that difficulty and contention. It should not matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, this should all be disturbing, to say the least. I am sure that everyone on both sides also believes that they are on the side of right; and, because we live in what is supposedly a free nation, that should be a privilege that we all can enjoy – to believe what we want and to express our thoughts freely.
However, complicating matters now, we have in this country a group of extremely wealthy people that own the largest companies in the world and we also have the media – most of which are also owned by very wealthy people. The majority of those people have taken a stand that they believe is right and they want everyone to just fall in line and agree with them – no questions asked. If you do not “obey” then you are dismissed and labeled as ignorant and a long list of other negative adjectives. They do their best to ignore and silence any opposing opinions and the current level of random censoring of free speech is alarming. It is a very sad state of affairs when one group attempts to completely silence another group. In my opinion, the worst part of it all is how the truth is being crushed.
Because I normally do my best to stay away from political statements here in my blog, you may wonder where this discussion is going. Keeping the last sentence of the previous paragraph in mind, I want to change gears and get to my real point. The transition may be very puzzling, but please just bear with me.
What is the purpose for a belt? I believe that today, belts are worn many times for decorative purposes; however, there are those that need that belt to help secure their pants/skirts so that they remain in place. In Biblical times belts (FYI: they were sometimes called “girdles” or “sashes”) had some very specific purposes. I guess it is possible that they may also have worn them for decorative reasons – especially the women; but, they had some much more important uses as well, especially for soldiers.
“Clothing in 1st century Israel was very simple. Jesus and His disciples were among those in Israel who wore the simplest of clothing. According to Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I, 625) the common male Israelite during the time of Christ wore 6 articles of clothing. It was customary to wear a tunic and a shirt beneath the tunic. The tunic (Heb. ketonet) was usually ‘woven without seam’ throughout and was tight around the neck with short sleeves. The shirt was a linen shirt (heb. chaluq) that was worn beneath the tunic. They wore a linen girdle, wound several times around the waist. There was also an outermost coat made usually of white woolen cloth…The description of the headdress is uncertain…They also wore leather sandals.” * [Emphasis mine]
Can you imagine – for any reason, but especially for soldiers going into combat – having a need to move quickly to attack or retreat while wearing a loose tunic? That would most certainly spell disaster. As I researched for this I discovered that Roman soldiers actually had two different items that were referred to as what we call belts. One of them (a baldric/or a balteus) was worn over a shoulder across their body to hold a weapon. They also had one that went around their waists (cintus.) The cintus could be designed to hold a weapon or other items but it also had another use. They would use it to “gird their loins” by pulling their tunic up by the hem, both in the front and back, so that they could tuck it into their belt. This would free them up to move more quickly and efficiently.
I believe this cintus (I am going to call it a waist belt) had another important purpose for the soldiers as well. I heard a teacher the other day speaking about this and he said that when a soldier put on his armor he not only had a breastplate to protect his vulnerable chest area, but there was a plate across his back as well. Can you imagine having large, heavy plates over both your chest and back and them being unsecured? Flapping around as you try to do battle? Those plates had to be secured and were likely secured to that waist belt with some kind of loops. This would all strongly indicate that the waist belt was a critical piece of clothing and would require it to be strong.
Ephesians 6:10-14a (TLB) says: “Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up. But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth…” [Emphasis mine]
I find it very interesting in that passage, when we are told that we need to prepare ourselves for battle – to put on the “armor of God” – that the very first item mentioned is the belt. But not just any belt – a strong belt of truth.
Think about the “truths” we have in our society today. There is so much distortion of what we have always known about things that we deemed to be true. Here are a few examples:
Example #1. There is an adjective I can think of right now that when spoken could easily bring a smile to our face and joy to our heart. But it has been distorted and is used to describe a behavior that is blatant sin. Trying to normalize sin is not truth!
Example #2. We know this truth – that God created man and woman. Count with me slowly – that is one…two…genders – period. Yet today we have people trying to convince us that there are multiple genders – almost a new one every day. You cannot bring to reality what does not exist. That is not truth!
Example #3. There are those that try to convince us it is okay when certain groups of people decide to take to the streets and burn our American flag, books, police cars, businesses; pelt our men and women in blue with bricks, frozen water bottles, balloons filled with human waste; then break into businesses carrying out everything they can get their hands on and that it is supposed to be okay! They call them “peaceful protests” and the perpetrators mostly walk free to continue the bad behavior another day. Yet when other groups join to walk, talk, express their opinions totally peacefully, they are called horrible names and sometimes attacked physically by some of those in that first group discussed. But the second group are portrayed as the horrible people. What kind of truth is that?
I could go on and on but I will not bore you with more. I am sure that you get the idea. There is so much falsehood being inflicted upon us daily, that it gets to the point you do not know what to accept as truth. We are just expected to believe that the things that are bad are good and that the things that are good are bad. It is an upside down and backwards world. Why? Because as the scripture I quoted above talks about, we are in a battle with evil. Even many churches have sold out and are accepting, teaching and preaching the lies. But it is not going to go well for people that push these theories. Isaiah 5:20-21 (MSG) says: “Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, Who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness, Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Doom to you who think you’re so smart, who hold such a high opinion of yourselves!”
So, if those words I quoted above from Ephesians are correct and the issues we are dealing with truly mean we are in a spiritual battle with powerful evil, what are we to do about it? Well, we must tighten our belts and seek out the truth and stop believing all of the untruths that are being fed to us. We have got to stop being gullible! We have to stop depending on someone else to carry the load. We must do our share. How can we do that? Find the real truth, that is how. Where is the real truth? It is in God’s Word. We need to be reading the life lessons that are in the Bible, we need to be praying – a lot – for wisdom and strength to do what is right and good. We need to put on that STRONG BELT OF TRUTH – gird up our loins for battle and go toe to toe with our enemies. The evil enemies in this world are pretenders and are no match for our God. As Christians, we are on the winning side, but we cannot just keep sitting back waiting for someone else to do the job for us.
Stop procrastinating. Stop waiting for someone else to do the job for you. Stop closing your eyes to reality. Get on your knees and pray! It is time to put on your strong belt of truth!
Written by Karran Martin – January 8, 2021