Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. … The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
God never asked his children to go through the world naked and vulnerable. He agreed that we needed protection; He just had better options for us than we could think of on our own.
And when we need to defend ourselves from the attacks of the enemy, the first thing God tells us to put on is the Belt of Truth.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
Why is the first piece of armor a belt?
A belt keeps my pants up. The truth keeps me from being exposed and vulnerable.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Jesus prayed for His disciples and He asked God to sanctify them – purify them and set them apart for His use – by the truth. Then He defined what that truth was – His Word.
The truth of God’s Word sanctifies me.
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.”
The truth of God’s Word sets me free.
How do sanctification and freedom protect me? How do they keep me from being exposed?
Without Jesus, I’m a slave to sin and I’m covered in shame and guilt. I have to stay hidden behind a wall, or covered with fig leaves (my own lame attempts to cover my nakedness).
His truth removes my sin and marks me as worthy of carrying His Name. I don’t have to hide anymore.
And it’s not just a one-time offer. As I go through life and get myself dirty again with daily sin, He offers continual cleansing to bring me back to a state of worthiness.
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
But the previous verse can’t be ignored, because it specifically mentions the truth I’ve put on.
I John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Of course, I would never say that I was without sin. But I struggle with perfectionism.
And isn’t that what perfectionism is – striving to be without sin? Even if I’m not trying to be perfect; I’m still trying to be good enough by my own works.
When I do that, I’m actually un-covering myself because I’ve removed the belt of truth.
It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes all over again. I’ve allowed the enemy (the father of lies) to convince me that I can cover myself with my own good works.
God’s truth does not cover my failures with an illusion of righteousness. His truth makes my failures irrelevant.
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
When I put on His truth, I’m not denying that I failed. I’m saying that I’ve been forgiven and set free from guilt and shame. I’m a different person now.
I was born with broken genes and a brain that didn’t work right. Then I spent years navigating through a broken world until my brain couldn’t take it anymore and it succumbed to depression and bipolar disorder.
I used to self-medicate with food. It numbed the pain caused by the world around me. What I didn’t realize was that the food was making my brain worse. The food didn’t cause the depression, but it kept my brain too weak to work correctly. So the pain continued.
When I changed my diet and lifestyle, I stopped doing what was hurting my brain and it finally had a chance to start healing. It’s now much stronger and better able to deal with the effects of the genetic mutation and environmental stresses.
That’s how the belt of truth works.
I take off the belt of perfectionism that’s feeding into the guilt and shame of my failures and I put on the belt of truth that covers my failures with the blood of Jesus. This allows my soul to heal and grow stronger.
Then, when the enemy attacks with guilt and shame, my soul is strong enough to resist the attack.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
The truth of God’s Word strengthens me at my core. It exposes the lies of my perfectionism and builds my trust in His protection.
I now have one less reason to maintain the wall around my heart. And I can start entertaining the thought that I may not always need to hide behind it.
How has God’s truth strengthened you trust His protection?
Photo credit: insidehenderson
This post is the second in a series on the Armor of God. The first post is linked below.
Replacing Emotional Walls with the Armor of God