January 15, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV)
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we saw that if we are to fight our spiritual battle wearing God’s armor, we need to “major in the majors.” We need to be committed to the core realities of the Christian faith.
When it comes to majoring in the majors, truth is an obvious priority. Thus, it’s not surprising that truth is the first piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Throughout the letter of Ephesians, truth is an indispensable element. We were included in Christ when we “heard the message of truth” (Ephesians 1:13). The body of Christ will grow as we are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The “truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:21). The “fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).
In Ephesians, truth is specifically connected to Jesus Christ. It is, at its core, the veritable content of the good news of God’s salvation by grace given through Christ. Thus, the belt of truth is closely related to “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) and “the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17). But when we think of putting on God’s truth, we rightly infer that this includes more than merely the good news of Christ. We put on the belt of truth whenever we speak and live the truth.
In 2003 I wrote a book called Dare to Be True: Living in the Freedom of Complete Honesty. (It’s still available from Amazon, now ranked as #12,012 in “Christian Self Help.” Not exactly burning up the shelves!). When I wrote that book, I was responding to the distressing tendency in our culture to disregard the truth in favor of “spin.” We don’t talk much about spin anymore, but I’m sad to say that truthfulness seems even less valued today than it did in 2003, before the dawn of unbridled social media.
Though Dare to Be True is sixteen years old, it makes a couple of points that are still valid today and needed more than ever. First, I argued that the lack of truthfulness in our culture gives Christians an extraordinary opportunity to be distinctive through our commitment to honesty and openness. If you are a person who tells the truth, you will stand out from the norm in many sectors of society. And you will earn invaluable trust from others in the process.
Second, I showed in Dare to Be True that we are to live the truth in addition to speaking it. This does not mean speaking truthfully is any less important. But in a time when Christians are regularly exposed in our hypocrisy, it is only by living truthfully that our words and our lives will be taken seriously.
So, whether at work or home, whether you’re out with your friends after work or serving in a shelter for homeless people, whether you’re giving an annual review or making a sale, put on God’s belt of truth. Speak and live truthfully. This is the first piece of God’s armor given to us as a way to prevail in the spiritual battle we’re fighting.
Something to Think About:
When you think of people who speak and live truthfully, who comes to mind? What about them strikes you as significant?
Would people think of you as a truth-full person? Why or why not?
When are you tempted to be less than truthful in your speaking? Are you willing to seek God’s help in such a situation?
Something to Do:
As you begin the day, tell the Lord you want to put on his belt of truth today. Ask for God’s help in speaking and living truthfully.
Gracious God, you are indeed the God of truth, the source of all that is true. You have made yourself known to us in Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. You call us to truthful speaking and truthful living.
Lord, if we are to prevail in the spiritual battle that we face each day, we need to put on the belt of truth. Help us to do that faithfully.
Help me, I pray, to speak and live the truth wherever I am. I ask for special grace in contexts where I am tempted to be less than truthful.
Most of all, I pray that the truth of your saving grace in Jesus Christ will fill my mind and heart. May how I live in this world be a bright reflection of this truth. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
Truthtelling is the Norm in the Bible
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.