I love visiting my niece and nephew. One of the privileges of being an aunty is that I get to enjoy their company for a short period of time and then leave them with their parents (Just kidding!!)
One of the games they love to play with me is the “Hug attack”. It’s not so much a game as being smothered with hugs and kisses on all sides which I enjoy but act like I don’t. During these sneak hug attacks, my niece and nephew come up with ingenious ways to discover my weakest spot and I try to anticipate their plans and thwart them (most times, unsuccessfully). I remembered these sneak attacks when I was preparing to write this article. Ephesians 6:10-18 is not unfamiliar to many of us. It has been the subject of many sermons at our local church assemblies, school fellowships and family prayer meetings.
However, more than ever before, it has become imperative that we go back to this scripture and make sure we apply its principles to our lives so that we are indeed battle-ready. As Ephesians 6:12 states, the battle is not against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world and against mighty power and evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Why is it important to put on the whole armor of God?
Eph 6: 11 and 13 sets out the importance of wearing the armor. It is important for us as Christians going into battle to wear the armor to help us stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. It is important so that we are able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. So that, at the end of the day after the dust settles, when the battle is over, we are the last man/woman standing.
Priscilla Shirer, in her devotional “Armor of God” explained that one of the enemy’s strategy in this war is to distract us so that he can blindside us. The devil does not indiscriminately choose his assault weapons when attacking us in battle. His strategy is tailor-made to attack our tendencies, habits, deepest fears and weaknesses. His attacks are thus targeted specifically at these ‘weak’ spots. Little wonder that we find ourselves struggling with sin and temptations – the devil would not tempt a person who has a love of money problem with sexual temptations, neither would he tempt a person with forgiveness issues with money. His main goal is to sidetrack our attention by setting any number of internal fires ablaze in our lives – insecurity, intimidation, anxiety, fear, worry or busyness. His intention is to confuse and make us lose focus while he sneaks up from behind, like my niece and nephew plan to do during their sneak hug attacks.
So, how can we be battle ready for these sneak attacks by the devil? By putting on the whole armor of God. Today, I will be looking at the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.
When you think about a belt, what comes to mind? Honestly, I would immediately think of a fashion accessory that I use to beautify my dress or to hold up my jeans in place. However, the Roman soldier’s belt was more akin to a girdle. Most scholars agree that the belt, more than any other piece of the soldier’s clothing or equipment, with its intricate décor and elaborate buckles, distinguished a solder from a civilian. The belt was a strategic, primary focal point of the Roman soldier’s outfit and we would soon see why this was so.
The belt – a sturdy leather girdle – was made to reach around the torso, providing the essential support which he needed while performing the quick demanding movements of war.
Why was the belt referred to as the belt of truth? The devil’s top strategy is deploying lies and deception. He is an expert at shading reality with enticing and alluring colors, seducing us away from black & white principles – A good example is the lie he sells about issues such as pre-marital intimacy. The devil is a professional at propagating fantasies and his packaging is so clever that unless you know what is true – and really know it at your core – you easily fall prey to his ploys.
Truth – God’s opinion on any matter – is our standard as Christians. Truth is our support, Truth is our backbone. Everything hinges upon the truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32)” Truth provides us with the core support needed in the middle of a spiritual warfare.
Next up – the breastplate of righteousness. For a Roman soldier, the breastplate protected some of the most important parts of the body – the heart, lungs and other organs necessary for life. The breastplate was made of bronze or chain mail and it was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to the belt. Yes, you read that right – the belt helped keep the breastplate in place. If the belt was loosened, the breastplate slipped right off.
The breastplate was very important to keeping the soldier alive – so is righteousness for a Christian. Righteousness means right standing with God. It means living our lives in a way that is honorable to God. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we need to know what God’s word says. We need to feed on the Word until it becomes part of us. And, when the trials and temptations come, we can make informed decisions based on the Word.
The belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness are intricately linked together, and rightly so. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness is simply an exercise in vain attempt to impress God – legalese or self-condemnation, just like the Pharisees or Sadducees. We wear the breastplate of righteousness by obeying God and allowing him to work in us. By making him and his ways our dwelling place and seeking God above everything else, we live a righteous life.
When we wear the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth correctly, we develop a purity of heart that translates into the way we live our lives. We find ourselves putting into practice what we believe in our hearts. As our lives become more in line with the Word of God, more Christ-like, we make righteous choices which protects us from further temptation and deception by the devil.
Writer: Tomilola Adebiyi