Putting on the full armor of God requires certain pieces of said armor.
The old adage, “Don’t get caught with your pants down” is what happens when you skip the first specified piece of armor: the belt of truth.
Nowadays, we can find many belts. Conveyer belts. Seat belts. Timing belts. Tool belts. Black belts. Let’s make sure we aren’t caught with our pants down by fastening the wrong belt. Let’s make sure the truth isn’t being forsaken by feelings, what SEEMS right, or a desire for power or position.
If you have ever tried to put on armor, there is probably a method to the madness… an order in which they recommend doing so. It makes me think of my nephew. Two years ago, we were preparing to go play in the snow. As my brother was helping him put on his snow gear, my nephew was getting frustrated. There was an order he knew, and my brother was messing it up. In all fairness, it made sense. The snow boots are by the door to leave. Those should go on last. But my nephew was resilient. They go on second. Whether God’s order makes any sense to us or not, the armor is listed in an order in which to wear it.
Trying to avoid the belt of truth… or insisting on the wrong belt will cause us to stand, ever so humbly, with our pants down. After all, we aren’t much good in battle with restricted movement. We cannot have our “feet fitted with readiness” if we’re bending over to pull up our pants. We cannot “take up the shield of faith” if we’re still holding our pants in our hands. We certainly cannot “take the helmet… and sword” in active pursuit if we are worried about our pants. Likewise, where do you suppose the sword is when not being used? From every historical reference we have, the belt would have been where the sword was holstered. So it was mentioned first… perhaps… because without it, we would be further ill-equipped!
Forsaken by our feelings…
Embarrassed what seems isn’t actually what is…
Worried our motives will be made plain…
We’ve all been there. We’ve all realized our feelings caused us to stand by what seemed, rather than what was. We’ve all had wrong intentions, whether big or small. Stand firm. The only way to do that is with the belt of truth. For me, the belt of truth was made most real when I was in a funk; my feelings of God leaving me alone in a very dark hour. My feelings told me He was close enough to see, but hidden behind a glass wall I couldn’t touch. I didn’t have access to Him, so His presence almost mocked me. In that moment, I realized, my feelings didn’t change who He was. My feelings couldn’t be trusted over who He had already proven Himself to be. My feelings may have seemed logical, even rational. But, nevertheless, they were wrong. The belt of truth reminded me, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverb 14:12). In understanding He doesn’t change, regardless of how I feel, I equipped myself with the belt of truth.
Putting on the full armor means understanding what you are fighting for and who you’re fighting against. As part of God’s army – please remember – our movement is supposed to be readied in peace. Truth, God’s love, always comes in peace ready to restore. If you’re not ready to restore… if you won’t come in peace… for your sake, and everyone else’s, stop putting on armor and pray:
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that wherever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…” (Ephesians 6:18-19).
Pray until you’re ready. Getting caught with our pants down will take time away from the battle. So, get prepared. Learn peace. Practice forgiveness. Then, when you’re ready, start with the belt of truth.