The first piece in the armor of God is a girdle, or belt, of truth. We’re told, “Stand therefore, girding your waist with truth” (Eph. 6:14, LEB). Girdles hold an interesting place in scripture. There are five Hebrew words used to talk about things you can belt around your waist (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).
Some girdles were used as a purse or pockets. Others to belt your clothes on. Different types of girdles were part of a soldier’s attire (2 Sam. 20:8), worn by princes and important people (Eze. 23:15), or by priests (Ex. 28:4, 8; 29:9). Girdles often symbolize strength and readiness. But what does it mean to have a girdle made of truth?
Where We Get Our Girdle
Truth in a Christian context is defined by God. The truths that come from Him aren’t subjective and don’t fluctuate. They’re reliable. And they’re what we put on like a belt around our waists as we prepare for spiritual battle.
Jesus gives a succinct definition of truth in His prayer recorded in John 17. He prays to the Father, “Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17, WEB). The words of God are precious; the only reliable source of truth.
Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. (2 Tim. 2:15, WEB)
When we’re looking for truth, we look to God’s Word — both in the Bible and in the person of His son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1-3, 14) and He also is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He provides the truth that forms the first piece of our armor.
What The Girdle’s Made Of
When Paul talks about “properly handling the word of truth,” what does he mean? This is an important question if we want to know how to use the armor we’ve been given to best advantage. In Ephesians, Paul says the “word of truth” is “the gospel of your salvation” (1:13, KJV). That refers not only to the truth that Jesus brought us salvation, but also the truths contained in His teachings.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, LEB)
Knowing the truth and, I assume, handling it properly involve continuing in Jesus’ teachings. This is supported directly by three different NT writers, who all talk about how vital it is for us to obey the truth (Gal. 3:1; 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 2:4). If we want to gird ourselves with truth, then we have to understand Jesus’ teachings and consistently follow them.
How To Gird Up Your Mind
A commitment to truth starts in our minds and hearts. It involves the intangible parts of us, because “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, WEB). God’s far more concerned with how you relate to Him than with where you’re worshiping or other external shows. He doesn’t want an outward show and empty insides. He wants your inner commitment to have an outward effect.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (1 Pet. 1:13-15, KJV)
When we gird ourselves with truth, we can think of it as a preparing our minds to walk as Jesus walked and become holy the way the Father is holy. Girding yourself involves making ready to be like God.
Using Girdles For Service
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, girdles were seen as a symbol of strength, power, and readiness. For example, in Exodus, the Israelites kept the Passover in a state of readiness for their journey out of Egypt. They were told to eat the Passover, “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand” (Ex. 12:11, KJV).
Jesus also uses the phrase “let your loins be girded” to talk about being ready. In this case, it’s about servants waiting for their Lord to return (Luke 12:35, KJV). Like these servants, our Lord is coming back and we’re supposed to be getting ready for Him. And, also like the servants in this parable, our Lord is willing to gird Himself as well and take care of those who are waiting on Him (Luke 12:37; John 13:4-5).
Who Buckles On Your Armor
The Lord is heavily involved in making us ready for the battle we face. He’s invited us to join Him in spiritual warfare and He’s going to make certain we’re equipped for that. Like David, we can say,
For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me. (2 Sam. 22:40, KJV)
God gives us everything we need to put on the girdle of truth. He’s supplied us with truth in His word and He’s right there to buckle this piece of armor around us.