Armor of God (Part 4)

C’mon, Get Dressed!

Read: Ephesians 6:10-17

As best as I can understand this whole concept of being an armored believer, I’ll begin with what I know of how the Roman soldier was clothed.

Most soldiers of any rank at all usually had someone to help them put on their armor. It was either a servant or valet, or it could have been a lower enlisted person who was partnered with them.

Usually the first piece of armor put on was the breastplate. It was two pieces of metal, lined with leather, or some soft material because once dressed for battle, the armor would not be removed unless the soldier was wounded, or the battle had ended.

Let me again invite you to consider the syntax and grammar of these next few verses.

What does it mean to ‘gird’ yourself?

Verse 14: “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Ok, ok, what in the world does it mean to have “your loins girded with truth”? First, let’s remember that Paul is actually beholding a Roman soldier fully-armed, so he sees each piece of armor very clearly.

Although the soldier wore armor, the armor covered what we would call a tunic, or a shortened robe. But to make sure that the legs of the soldier had the freedom to move or even run, he also wore a belt. And attached to this belt was what were called greaves. These greaves were separated narrow pieces of wood covered sometimes with both leather and metal. They protected the thighs as well as the groin area. A blow to this area could often be fatal, or a least debilitating.  

The phrase first appears in the scripture in 1 Kings 18:46, where the prophet Elijah “girds up his loins” and out runs King Ahab chariot to get to the city of Jezreel before the heavy rain shower happens. This action by Elijah depicts him putting a belt around his robe, so that he can run freely. However, in this case it is not only Elijah’s readiness to run, but he is actually empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. Biblical scholars believe that the distance that Elijah ran was somewhere between 17 or 30 miles, and he ran faster than the king’s chariot!

A modern way of understanding “girding up your loins” would be found in the phrase “man up” or “get ready.” The implication here is that this part of the armor was not only protective, but enabled the soldier to move fast.

But what about the word truth? How do we interpret this?

Truth is part of our armor

The word truth here refers to integrity of speech and heart. That is, that our reactions to circumstances are “immediately” governed by our personal ethical rightness.

Perhaps the best way to understand this is to consider how Jesus consistently responded to everything around Him. His reactions and answers were always right and God honoring.

Peter would say it like this in 1 Peter 3:15: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

It is essential that in all our dealings or interactions with one another, and especially with those who may not be believers, that we walk before them in integrity.

Did not Jesus say, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no”? This world that we live in is inhabited by men and women who seem to major in deceit and corruption. We are called to be a light in the darkness. Therefore “truth” should be present in the very core of our being.

Blessings and prayers,
Pastor Gene

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