Day 17: The Belt of Truth


ROMAN ARMOR

In the culture that this verse was written, the young Christian faith was confined within the vast and untamed Roman Empire. During the height of the Empire it stretched across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, reaching over 1 million miles in area. Its vastness was due, in part, to the might of the Roman military: their training, tactics, weaponry, and armor. As a part of their armor, Roman soldiers wore a belt around their waist that was of unparalleled significance. This belt contained several pieces of equipment and also held the rest of the armor together. Take away the belt and everything else falls apart.

The belt also carried symbolic significance. It was the symbol of a soldier, one who needed to carry more than the average man:

Legally, the wearing of arms – especially a sword – at all times in public defined the soldier as such. In extension, the belt to which the sword was fastened became a distinguishing feature of soldierly dress. It became invested with meaning to such an extend that taking away the military belt of a soldier in public for hours or days was a humiliation used as a disciplinary measure by their superiors. Taking away the military belt permanently after a capitulation or during a dishonorable discharge from the army seems also to have been practiced. The significance of the belt as a symbol of ‘being a soldier’ continued well into the late empire as is demonstrated by the symbolic act of Christian soldier-saints openly refusing to remain in the army by throwing off their military belt in public.

The military belt of the Roman soldier can therefore be defined as a symbolic object, both an article of clothing and a piece of military equipment, setting the soldier apart from civilian men... [1]

Such is the power of the Belt of Truth. Truth holds all things together. If you want freedom from sexual sin, you must surround yourself with truth. But what is truth? God’s Word is truth and gives us the insight we need to be free.

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TRUTH

Let’s take it a step further. The ultimate reality we must grasp is Christ; his crucifixion and his resurrection. Christ died that we shall live, his sacrifice allows us to take the high road to heaven. Apart from Christ and his truth we have nothing.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6 (ESV)

Our enemy, the devil, wants to catch you and I with our guard down. When equipped with the armor of God we can stand firm against him and, according to scripture, cause him a lot of trouble. There is a time to run, but there is also a time to fight. Yesterday we looked at 2 Corinthians 10:5. The verse immediately prior offers insight regarding this battle we fight:

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ADMITTING WHEN YOU'RE WRONG AND NEED GODLY WISDOM

As speakers, we need to be able to confront others in love without ignoring the truth. See Galatians 6:1-3.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Galatians 6:1-3 (NIV)

As listeners, we desperately need the humility to accept or at least consider when others tell us that we are wrong.

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Recognizing truth in giving and receiving is something our culture is running short on. Truth is a battle, so it comes as no surprise the Bible conveys truth as armor. Surround yourself with people who will convict you using the truth of God's word. It is not about pointing blame or labeling your faults. A person who truly cares about your walk towards freedom from sexual sin will ask the tough questions. They will know the depth of your struggle and will have agree to push through to the very end with you.

When I was struggling, I got defensive when approached about my sin. Even if I had previously asked for help, I'd still look for ways to hide my sin from those around me. By exposing our sin, we are revealing the most significant truth in our lives; we are sinners in need of a savior. Jesus Christ is that savior, and no matter how long or often we struggle, that will never change. Our need for salvation will never change, but our ongoing struggle with sin can. One of my favorite prayers, the serenity prayer, sums it up well:

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You can change. Myself and many of those you'll meet in this course struggled for years with sin. But freedom is real. The truth of the matter is this: you too can know that reality. Commit yourself to freedom and God will grant you that desire.

HOW TRUTH CAN BE KNOWN

  • Know Christ and Make Him Known

Study the life of Christ and begin praying daily specifically to Him. Remember his sacrifice and all that he’s done. Seek his words in scripture, and train your mind to think like the mind of Christ.

  • Develop a Habit of Studying His Word

Nobody ever saw truth manifest itself in the mind by default. You must seek it and find it through the word of God. Truth has been set before us. If you aren’t reading scripture daily, you should change that starting today.

  • Test Everything

Not all knowledge is truth. The difference between absolute and non-absolute truth must be distinguished. The Word of God is the absolute truth. When dealing with something “new” or “revolutionary," whether it comes from us or somewhere else, we ought to test it against His word:

But test them all; hold on to what is good. -1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV)

  • Confess to Those You've Wronged

This portion is not easy to communicate from our end, nor easy to carry out from yours. Seek the council of your pastor if necessary, but it is vital that you admit your struggles to those you've wronged. More often than not, this is your spouse. At the very least, we need to confess our sins to someone and bring the light of truth back into our lives. Do not let another week go by without confessing your past (without going into graphic detail for obvious reasons) to those who need to hear it.

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Day 17 Application

In your own words, what is truth?

Why do you think truth is likened to that of a belt?

What is your understanding of worship? How are you able to tell if something is "worship" or not? Have you been in contact with your accountability partner such that you were asked tough questions about purity?

Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?