“Therefore put on the full armor of God…. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” Ephesians 6:13a-14a (NIV)
On the morning of my baptism, Satan took a major swipe at me in a way he thought would work – because it had worked in his favor before. (To read how he used my husband in such a sly way that morning, click to this post now, and then come right back to continue.)
In that very moment, I felt the physical weight of God’s armor being placed upon me. I was grateful for the Holy Spirit’s protection. And instantly acted cocky as h*ll… and didn’t realize til the next day that I was completely clueless.
During the weeks immediately after my baptism, Satan pulled out weapon after weapon against me. I flailed about with the 7 pieces of armor I had been given. I had to completely, utterly humble myself and admit:
I’d better start at the beginning.
I took the apostle “Commander” Paul’s advice to start with the belt of truth first.
But I only knew about the belt of 80’s aerobics classes
When I was in medical school in Chicago, my little group of girlfriends took an aerobics class a couple times a week. Yes, this was when “aerobics” was all the rage in the 80’s – and yes, feel free to do the math and figure out how old I am.
Our beloved aerobics studio was a bright little place in a neatly rehabbed brick building, just off-campus. It had a sweet little dressing room for changing into your “just-right” aerobics outfit. The class area had a multi-level arrangement of floor spaces – perfect for not only being able to see our favorite instructor named Pepper, but also for being seen in our “just-right” outfits.
Now, a “just-right” outfit in an aerobics class in the 80’s included tights, a leotard, a pre-ripped shirt, leg warmers scrunched down to the ankles, sneakers, a sweatband around your head, and – a must for die-hard aerobics fashionistas like us – a “just-right” belt.
And what was the “just-right” belt that marked a true aerobics fashion maven?
It was thin, and it was sparkly. Just right.
An aerobics belt didn’t function like other belts. It didn’t hold up pants. It didn’t support the lower back like a weightlifter belt. In two ways, it wasn’t like the belts of the Roman soldiers who arrested Paul when he was writing. An aerobics belt didn’t carry a sword or dagger, nor did it anchor a breastplate.
An aerobics belts was like a Roman soldier’s belt in a different way, though. A Roman soldier’s belt was a sign of honor. In fact, it was so essential to his essence that one type of punishment for a soldier was to take away his belt.
The 80’s aerobics belt was like that – a sign of honor. It was essential to our essence while we were exercising. It made our exercise feel just right.
Was this anything at all like the Belt of Truth?
You know how, when things are just right, in exercise and in life, you sense balance and perfection? Hmm, there’s a truth in the air.
Now, the truth that apostle Paul wrote about was not a scientific truth like, “If you do your aerobics class, your heart will get healthier.” He teaches us about THE Truth:
- God is creative, personal, and just;
- He so wants to have a relationship with us that He sent Jesus to live on earth and take all our sins with Him onto the cross;
- Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to have a relationship with God;
- and God will make everything gloriously new.
And to be aligned with God’s will when we do anything in our lives, we’ve got to buckle on that Truth first.
Wait, should we buckle the Belt on first?
No matter what kind of physical belt you wear, it is always, as Paul includes in his instructions for your spiritual belt, “buckled around your waist.”
A physical belt is always at your physical center.
For a Roman soldier, that placement performed the double duty of preventing the breastplate from banging his chin plus keeping a sword and a dagger handy, literally. For our current workouts and lives, our belts prevent pants from falling down and spinal discs from bulging out of place. And those 80’s aerobics belts, well, sparkled.
While you may put on other articles of clothing on first, the belt still needs to be in place before you can begin doing what you’re going to do.
Then, when your physical center is secure, the parts that extend from it can do their jobs. You can swing a sword, reach something in the cupboard, type an email with good posture, push up from a squat, jump like Pepper the Aerobics Instructor.
What about your spiritual center? What holds up, supports, carries, and anchors everything else? What needs to be secure first, before you can do what God wants you to do?
Yep, the Belt of Truth.
When you’re secure in The Truth, your spiritual “parts” that extend from it can do their jobs. You can ask God a question and listen for His answer, enjoy the aroma of a flower, go on a power walk with a friend, do you best on a project at work.
And while you may use a different piece of God’s armor in the moment, the Belt of Truth needs to be securely in place first.
WHY is the Belt of Truth so important?
John tells us in a single sentence why the Belt of Truth is of utmost importance in John 8:32 (NIV) –
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Ahhh, free. Freedom!
Wait. Freedom from what?
To stick with our theme of “belts” –
- Freedom from the shame of having our pants fall down or… “getting caught with our pants down.”
- Freedom to reach – and stretch – to align your dreams with God’s will.
- Freedom to say or type what you really mean to say, without being mean.
- Freedom to push into strength you didn’t know you had to lift a physical, mental, or emotional weight.
- Freedom to “go the distance” in helping a friend with a problem that you have the skills or connections to help with.
- Freedom to feel close enough to God to ask a hard question, even when you’re full of tears and snot – like I usually am – and listen faithfully.
- And freedom to wield another piece of His armor with strength and skill.
- Scroll up and go through the “Freedom to” list above.
- Which one of those would you like to have the freedom to do today?
- How can you better understand The Truth that Paul and John teach us – so that God’s Belt of Truth fits you more securely?
Need some at-home exercise that’s as fun as 80’s aerobics with less jumping and more grace – and no need for a “just right” outfit?
Check out my flamenco dance-inspired and MD-engineered workout videos by testing out – and keeping – 2 of them as my gift to you for being such a lovely reader of my column here.
Click here to start exercising – with or without a belt on!