Ephesians 6:14 (NLT)
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth [and the body armour of God’s righteousness.]
TIME OF DAY:
A single source of light comes from above & to the right.
This is the first of 7 “scenes” depicting each of the pieces of the armour mentioned by the apostle Paul. Putting on the whole armour of God protects us in the battles of life & faith.
I decided early on in the design process to include a white cross on each piece of the armour, which is my way of signifying that this is not merely metal armour, but is spiritual, God-given armour, empowered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Notice the imperative “stand your ground” at the beginning of the Bible reference above. When we are told to stand our ground we get the sense of being unmoving, regardless of what opposing forces come against us. The apostle Paul (who wrote the book of Ephesians) was using the metaphor of a soldier, drawing our attention to each of his pieces of armour in turn. Each one is vital & often inter-linked, forming a complete method of protecting the soldier in battle.
Taking the metaphor further, we can think of a group of soldiers standing & fighting in a real battle. The apostle Paul might have been drawing our attention to the way soldiers rely on each other to survive. This idea of inter-dependence would certainly have been familiar to anyone (such as Paul) who had seen the Roman military machine: side by side, each soldier stood facing the enemy, being an integral part of the whole formation. Note that Roman soldiers had armour primarily on the front of the body, since they were trained & commanded to face forward, towards the enemy, in battle.
Further, the imperative “stand your ground” seems to denote urgency. After that we can note that there are four Greek participles that denote how we are to stand: the cause or means of standing. The participles are rendered as follows in the NIV (New International Version): “buckled,” “in place,” “fitted,” “take up” (see Ephesians 6:14-16).
Moving on to each of the specific pieces of armour each Roman soldier would have worn…
The Belt of Truth: what is it & what’s it for?
To get a broader sense of what the belt of truth is, lets look at several versions of the Bible:
New Living Translation
Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth…
Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins…
New International Version
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, …
New King James Version
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, …
We can conclude that the belt of truth is sturdy & strong & that it protects the vital organs of the body. It was the first item of clothing/armour to be put on by a Roman soldier, from which the other pieces were connected or attached. The “belt” or “girdle” may also refer a “breechclout,” which was a sort of leather apron, worn beneath leather or metal armour that protected the lower abdomen.
Incidentally, the “belt” or “girdle” may have also braced a soldier’s back, giving support in battle.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary has further points of interest:
‘Before a Roman soldier put on his armor, he put a belt around his waist. This held his garments together and served as a place on which to hang his armor. The belt of truth refers not to the facts of the gospel but to subjective truth, a believer’s integrity and faithfulness. As a soldier’s belt or sash gave ease and freedom of movement, so truth gives freedom with self, others, and God.’
(Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.)
Application: why a belt of truth?
From the above reference (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) we can see how important the first piece of armour (the belt) was to a Roman soldier, since it “held his garments together and served as a place on which to hang his armor.” Truth is vitally important. What we believe as being true forms & shapes who we are, the truth we believe literally “makes us who we are.” Therefore, the truth we believe forms the central support of our identity, our morality, & works out & is displayed in all of our behaviour. Our words may not display what we truly believe, but our actions always do. Truth forms us & holds all the other parts of our character together, just like the belt of a Roam soldier held the rest of his armour in place. Without truth we have no central support, or “backbone” on which to “hang” our lives. To know the truth is to be at peace; to be unified; to be “at one” with it. From knowing the truth comes all of our confidence, hope, trust & faith. From revealed (Biblical) truth comes our behaviour (actions) in the form of service to our fellow man, & the power to effect positive change in this world, through prayer. Truly truth is central & essential to us all.
‘When the belt was fastened, the soldier was “on duty,” ready to fight. A slackened belt meant “off duty.” Christians, however, must face each day with a fastened belt, ready to fight the battle when needed. As the belt formed the foundation of the soldier’s armor, the truth is the foundation of the Christian life. When the enemy, the father of lies (John 8:44), attacks with his lies, half-truths, and distortions, we believers can stand firm in the truth.’
(Source: Life Application New Testament Commentary.)
Bearing that in mind, we can see why it is SO important for us to KNOW the truth. Christians need to read their Bibles, so that they do indeed know the truth about themselves, about God, about life & the world, about the Devil, sin, etc, etc. After all, how can we correctly interpret the circumstances we face, & take appropriate action, if we don’t know the truth in the first place?
We Christians can expect to come under attack from our enemy, the Devil, but the armour of God is given to protect us from these attacks. Every piece of the armour is vital, & together it provides a complete, seamless, encasing protection for us… but we must remember to put it on if we want that protection!
Some Bible passages about the truth.
Why is truth important?
If we do not know the truth then it follows that we must be following a deception, a lie, an un-truth. Basing our thoughts, words, actions & lives on a deception will not lead us to peace, joy, confidence, hope or success, especially in view of our eternal future!
When we come to know the truth, we can be confident that we are heading in the right direction. In terms of the military metaphor of a soldier, if he/she knows the substance of the truth for which they stand, then they will stand strongly, with resolve, with determination. On the other hand, if they discover that all that they have based their lives on has been a deception, then they are undermined: that which has previously given them their military strength, determination & resolve will disappear (since it is untrue) & they will become very vulnerable to attack.
Truth is the FOUNDATION of our personal determination & resolve, particularly, especially & vitally in the spiritual battles we face as believers in Christ Jesus.
Where is truth to be found?
For the Christian, God’s word (The Holy Bible) is the source of all truth. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17  (in the New Testament) reminds us, the Bible is breathed out (exhaled, inspired) by God Himself, & it’s purpose is for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The end result of all of that is provided in the next part of the quote, “… so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
So here we have the SOURCE OR ORIGIN of the truth (which is God Himself) & the PURPOSE for which that truth is given: Christian maturity & service in the world.
2 Samuel 7:28  (a reference in the Old Testament) also informs us that “Your words are truth”, referring to God’s word, the Holy Bible. Psalms 51:6  reminds us that it is God’s will & desire that we have truth within us, & that God is the source of that truth in the first place. Psalms 145:18  informs us that GOD IS NEAR to those who call on Him, in truth.
1 John 5:6  informs us that it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us to believe in Jesus the Christ. The Bible here asserts the Holy Spirit’s own is trustworthy, “because the Spirit is the truth.”
What happens if we reject the truth?
What happens if we reject the truth (as revealed in the Holy Bible) & believe the deceptions of the world & the Devil? Well, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12  informs us that Satan (the Devil) will perform many counterfeit signs & wonders, resulting in deception of those people destined to perish. Verse 10 tells us that, “They perish because they REFUSED to love the truth and so be saved.” We need to recognise that refusal is an ACTIVE CHOICE, not simply a reference to ignorance, which is not knowing, or not having heard the truth in the first place. Therefore, it is not the fault of Satan that he has deceived people, rather, God puts the fault of not believing the truth (as revealed in Creation, & the Bible) squarely in people’s own lap! God asserts that 1) we have all HEARD the truth, & 2) we all KNOW the truth, so if we CHOOSE to ignore the truth & do not follow it’s guidance, then the only person we can rightly blame for that is ourselves.
The outcome or results of believing & acting on the truth.
Psalms 15:2,5  reminds us that if we SPEAK the truth from our hearts, then we will NEVER BE SHAKEN.
God makes it very plain & obvious what He wants us to do; in reference to Zechariah 8:16-17  He says, “Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.” Furthermore God informs us not to lie (in verse 17) & not to plot evil, telling us that ‘ “I hate all this [lies & deception],” declares the Lord.” ‘
In the New Testament, in John 8:31-32 , Jesus tells his listeners that if they BELIEVE & ACT on his teaching then that teaching (the truth) will set them free, literally it will provide liberty FOR US, since the truth is revealed TO US in the Bible.
When it comes to our (Christian) response to the truth, in answer to the question, “I know the truth now, so what am I to do next?!”, John 4:23-24  is helpful. That verse informs us that, “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John asserts that the time has now come when true worshippers of God will enjoy close fellowship with God, in spirit & truth, tell us that, “they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.”
There are many more references I could make to what the Bible tells us about truth. It shows us that KNOWING the truth, BELIEVING the truth & SPEAKING the truth all have very positive benefits for us.
Lastly, I refer to Matthew 28:18-20 , in which Jesus gave what is called “The Great Commission”. In these verses Jesus told his disciples to go out into the world, baptise people & teach them about Jesus, & the commands He gave: his way of life & His words. Although the word “truth” is not used in this scriptural reference, I hope that it is seen to be implied, that we should tell the truth to those we talk to. I’m referring not simply to being honest & factually correct, but rather when we have chance to give an account of our faith; telling other people about the truth we know & believe; evangelizing other people & “snatching them from the fire”  through our words, if we are able.
And what should we tell others? Everything we can about Jesus! As He himself said in John 14:6 (ANIV) ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” ‘
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ANIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Samuel 7:28 (NLT)
For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
Psalms 51:6 (ANIV)
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Psalms 145:18 (ANIV)
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
1 John 5:6 (ANIV)
This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (ANIV)
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Psalms 15:2,5 (ANIV)
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…
…who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Zechariah 8:16-17 (ANIV)
These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbour, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
John 8:31-32 (ANIV)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 4:23-24 (ANIV)
[Jesus said] “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (ANIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jude 1:22-23 (ANIV)
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.