Finding Strength: Truth
January 17, 2021
I love a good police and detective drama. I love the mystery of it. I love the way that, if it is written well, you don’t always know who the guilty person is until the very end. I love the suspense of it, the process of figuring out who done it. And I love the way that by the end of the episode, truth seems to triumph, and all the deceptions and cover stories are exposed for what they are. There is something about truth winning over lies that is captivating, that feels empowering, that feels right. Maybe that feels natural, like the way that it should be.
We are in a series together (that will take us to Easter) about putting on the strength, the protection, the armor of God so that we can face the challenges of this life that seek to bring us down spiritually.
Last week, I talked about why we need to wear the armor (I am not going to go through it all again today, so please watch the video from last week to catch up). This week, I want to start talking about the specific pieces of armor and protection, the spiritual resources available through Jesus that you can have to help you face with victory the struggles and battles of life. There are four things though that we need to understand that are crucial as we talk about putting this armor on:
1) The same grace that restores us to God through Jesus puts us into conflict with Satan. Our enemy does not like it that we are following Jesus and are in a restored relationship with God. So he will do whatever he can to stop us from having that closeness.
2) It is in the routine of life that we face the challenges from our enemy. It isn’t always some big, easy to spot attack. It is in the routine things where our guards are down and we aren’t expecting it.
3) You can’t get by on your own strength and being strong enough. We do not have it in us to be able to win this battle.
4) The Armor we are told to put on isn’t decorative, it is foundational. We need this armor to be able to properly live as a follower of Jesus and engage in the spiritual battle that comes as a result. The armor, because of who it belongs to, and because of who puts it on us, is a tool of victory.
I am going to invite you to find Ephesians 6. And as you are flipping there, some context. The letter “Ephesians” was written by the Apostle Paul, roughly around AD60 or 61, during a time where he was imprisoned in Rome. As he sat in prison, he would have been chained to a Roman guard / soldier. So as he is writing specifically about the Armor of God, he is likely looking at the soldier that he is chained to as a source of information / inspiration.
1) “Stand firm then”
This verse points us back to the larger context. It points us back to what it follows. This verse is to be read in light of the command in the prior verses to put on the whole armor of God because we are engaged in a spiritual conflict. In these verses it is said that by being clothed by God in His strength, protection, and armor that we will be able to stand firm and in victory. Paul is telling them that “this is the promise, this is the reality for you….You will be victorious as you wear His armour. So…. Stand firm.”
2) “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”.
Why was the image of the belt important?
a. The belt kept the other armor in place.
-> The belt provided a place for the sword to be secured, as well as held the breastplate where it needed to be.
b. The belt kept the soldier from tripping.
-> It was common, even for the soldiers, to wear robes underneath their armor that were long, and could become a trip hazard. The belt provided a way for them to tuck in the long parts of their robes and keep it from getting in the way. The last thing you would want is a soldier to trip in battle.
c. It protected vulnerable areas.
-> The belt wasn’t a thin little leather strip that was tied around the waist. It was a thick leather and metal band that went around the waist, and had leather straps attached to metal disks that would hang off on various places of the belt (such as the front) for added protection.
3) Why do we need the belt of truth?
a. Truth provides the foundation of life that holds all our defenses together.
Without truth, everything falls apart and we have no protection for the spiritual battle we will face. Without truth, everything we believe and hope in comes crashing down and becomes meaningless.
b. Truth keeps us from tripping over our own robes.
There are a lot of things that will trip us up in life, and in the midst of the battle, can cause us to fall flat on our face. I will talk about some of these things in just a few minutes. But having truth “around our waist” keeps us from being tripped up and falling.
c. Truth protects our vulnerabilities.
Truth protects the areas of our lives where we are most susceptible to spiritual attack. There are areas of our life where the enemy knows we are most vulnerable to attack. He knows where to attack us and where it is going to hurt the most, cause the most damage, and knock us out of the battle. Yet truth, when used in the face of those things, protects and deflects those attacks. Truth protects our vulnerabilities.
4) What are the tactics of the enemy?
I just talked about us tripping on our own robes. I talked about our vulnerabilities. The question we need to ask here is “how specifically does the enemy seek to take us out of the battle? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives a good idea.
a. He attacks our hearts and minds.
The enemy knows how to get us worked up and upset. He knows what will make us bitter or bear a grudge. He knows the things that will hurt us deeply and will cause us to withdraw and live in our hurt. He knows the lies he can whisper in our ears to cause us to do the destructive self talk where we beat ourselves up mentally and emotionally, and leave ourselves in ruins. He knows how to mess with our emotions and minds. And he uses it to his advantage.
b. He attacks our morality.
The enemy knows where we are most easily tempted to sin. He knows how to entice us. He knows what buttons to push, what to say, what feelings to prompt to get us to a place where the temptation to do what is wrong is great. The enemy also knows where we are willing to compromise, and finds ways to exploit those areas. The enemy also knows the areas where, even though we know the Bible says it is wrong, we will rationalize why it is okay. And he uses those things to his advantage.
c. He attacks our relationship with God.
He tells us that God can not or does not love us. We are unlovable. We messed up one too many times. Or that God is just too busy to care about us to begin with. That He has forgotten us. That He has no interest in us. He tells us that God isn’t even there. He doesn’t exist. We are wasting our time and fooling ourselves to think that God could love us and want a relationship with us because He isn’t there.
d. He attacks the authority and accuracy of what God says.
He says that the Bible is not true, is filled with errors, and can not be trusted. He says that the Bible does not have authority for our lives today. He says that the Bible is just another good book, but is not God’s Word that is powerful, active, alive, and for you today. Therefore, all the things that God reveals about Himself in the Bible, what He says about who you are and how He views you, what He says about how to live life are not to be taken seriously.
5) What truths do we need to dress ourselves with?
a. God is the source of truth (Jn 1:14, 1:17, Jn 14:6, Jn 15:26, Jn 16:13)
Truth comes from God. Truth starts and ends with Him. Truth is who He is.
b. What God reveals is also truth (Ps 119:160, Jn 17:17, 1 Jn 5:20, 2 Tim 3:16-17)
Because God is truth, what He says about Himself, what He says about you (and how He views you), what He says about how we should live, what He says about what He has and will do is true.
c. Truth sets you free to be who God made you to be. (Jn 8:32)
This week, design a poster (make it colourful, make it bright) as a family. And on that poster, I want you to look up, in the Bible 5 positive things that God says about who you are or how He feels about you. Once done, put it up somewhere in your house, take a picture, and send it to our Facebook page #HMCFAMILYCHALLENGE