Foundation of Truth
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.~ John 14:6
When my oldest niece was about 2 years old, her dad shared a video of her with the caption, “Really, it starts this early?!” His dear, sweet little girl was playing outside in her Little Tykes playhouse when her dad asked her if she was eating bugs. She responded with a look and then answering her dad with, “No bugs daddy.” Then, as she turned around, you can her try and whisper, “I like bugs!” as she stuffs one in her mouth. As a first-time parent, it was his introduction into the reality that his child was capable of lying to him, of defying his wishes. That little girl is going to be 8 years old this spring and still has her moments where her reality doesn’t match up 100% with the truth. For example, she recently told her day care distance learning teacher that her online teacher wasn’t having school that day, that there all assigned to make a turkey out of construction paper instead of having class. Her online teacher confirmed that they diffidently were having class and NOT making turkeys!
At her young age, her slip ups when it comes to truth telling don’t have very big consequences. They don't endanger her life, they don't cause significant property damage, they don't break and state or federal laws. They are also part of normal child development. Kids not telling the truth is part of them learning their boundaries and problem-solving skills as they try to avoid punishment for doing something they know is wrong. And my niece, just like most kids, experiences consequences when she is caught in a lie so she is learning what is right and what is wrong. In a perfect world, as we grew up we would “grow out” of our ability to lie. Unfortunately, and way too often, that ability to lie and ignore the truth only becomes more refined with age.
Is it any wonder then that the first piece of armor Paul writes about is the Belt of Truth?
In linking the truth with the belt, he is linking truth to the piece of armor for the Roman soldier which holds everything else together and provides a place for him to carry his sword. For the Roman soldier, the rest of his body armor connects in some way to his belt. Additionally, the long robes you see depicted on men in paintings of the 1st century were a reality for the soldier when “off-duty” as well.
Could you imagine trying to fight in such a robe? Some translations call on the believer to gird up their loins in Ephesians 6 which refers to men gathering up these robes and tucking them into their belts to they are not in the way as they run and maneuver in battle.
Similarly, the truth of God is something on which we should build everything about our faith upon. It has to be our starting point. It has to be solid and not missing any links or, like a belt missing a section, would not be able to protect us at it should. Truths such as the love of God, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the reality of God’s grace cannot be left out or watered down in our faith. The simple reality is that if our beliefs are not rooted in God’s word, in His Truth, we cannot expect to fight the battles we face for Jesus Christ.
Roman soldiers of the first century also wore their belts as a status symbol outside of battle. It would be so much part of defining who they were in their community that it was a great source of humiliation to be deprived of their belt. A soldier’s belt was rather substantial being made up of metal and thick, heavy leather which would not only hold up in fierce, hand to hand combat but would also provide protection for the soldier around the waist and hips.
In the same way, God’s truth shouldn’t be an optional fashion accessory like many belts today are but a noticeable, substantial part of who we are and how people know us. It should surround us completely. Living a life which embraces the truth of God must be something more than an outward show when it is convenient, it must be something by which we define who we are.
And all of this seems rather straight forward and simple, doesn’t it? After all, the truth is always clear and obvious, right?
I wish it were so. If there is anything my Facebook feed has taught me in the last couple of days is that there are often multiple different versions of truth. And how I wish that were only true with news stories, or politics, or social issues, but too often it is part of Christianity today as well. We live in a world which would like us to believe there is no absolute truth. That everything is relevant. That your truth and my truth are both equally valid. But that doesn’t line up with Scripture.
God’s truth is absolute. And, thankfully, it is also often beautifully simple. Forgive me if I have shared this story before because I’m about to tell it again. My senior year in college brought many doubts and challenges to my faith. At one point, as I was walking home late one night, I stopped at the Catholic Church in town to pray. As I sat down in one of the pews I realized I had nothing to say. I was so lost in what God could possibly want from me, I couldn’t form any eloquent words. So finally I just asked Him to tell me just one thing that, when the dust settled and the chaos was done, would still and always be true. As I sat in the dark, quiet church 3 words were suddenly crystal clear: “I love you.”
Since that day I have held tightly onto that very simple truth. God loves me. I’ve studied with some of the top theologians in the world today and still that very simple truth, stated in just three words, remains the same. So if you are having trouble figuring out if what someone is claiming is truth is from God or not, I would encourage you to remember that God ultimately keeps things beautifully simple.
- Take one day this week and pray by reading Scripture. Let it be less about studying for a moment and more about talking with God as you read His part of the conversation.
- What lie do you struggle the most with right now in your life? Look up a list of scriptures which will help you fight that lie with the truth of God and begin to work on memorizing them.
- Have a favorite devotional you use? Often they have 1 or 2 key verses to reinforce the point they are making for that day. Challenge yourself this week to dig deeper, pull out your Bible and read the entire chapter from which those verses come. Evaluate the devotional you use, are they being true to the full context of the verses they are using?