14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Having girded your loins with truth
To Gird – surround, enclose, encircle, circle, encompass, border, bound
Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
At the end of the day, after all the struggles with people, places and things, I think none is more controlling, cunning, powerful or damaging than the temptations of flesh; and in that list of idols and addictions one rises above them all; sexual sins.
That single depravity in it’s extreme forms come from an incredibly deep brokenness rooted at the soul level that aches for acceptance, love, to be desired, needed, wanted. It is a self-worth deficit that Satan uses to separate us from true connections with God and others. It is a world of fantasy and escape, an attempted quick fix to fill what only God can fill.
If left unchecked sexual lusts becomes a weapon of self punishment that draws one deeper and darker toward the gates of hell with the sole desire of absolute destruction of the inner person.
To that end – “gird your loins” could be considered a very clear representation of the physical battle of lusts of mankind which all have profound foundations in the Spiritual battle for our souls.
This one area (sadly or gratefully depending upon your perspective) has proven to be my biggest adversary over the years. The only defense I have found against succumbing to the temptations of flesh is to be constantly and consistently reminded of God’s truths.
Every character assassination that Satan sets up against us, whether planted decades ago that we battle to let go of, or spewed out from some hateful person just yesterday, it is all designed to tell us who we aren’t, it is only God who can tell us who we are.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
1 Peter 1:23
for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
This list is divinely endless, God continues to shower His grace and mercy on us through the life, death and resurrection of His only Son Jesus.
This single truth alone must rebuke any guilt, shame, worthlessness or hopelessness that will come against us at different times in our lives
Our past is dead through Christ
To gird ourselves is to surround ourselves with the life transforming truth that God Himself speaks into our lives; we are lovable because He is in us, and He is love.
When Peter denied Christ 3 times (as predicted by Jesus – our behaviors do not surprise God) Peter was mortified with his own actions. And as the other Apostles looked to Peter for direction in those first few days after Jesus’ Crucifixion, Peter was useless, spiritually dead, isolating, broken.
Not because of God’s condemnation, but because of his self-condemnation, guilt and shame.
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
When the resurrected Christ came to Peter, there was no mention of Peter’s denial by Jesus, no mention of past sins, only a introspection of how Peter’s heart was at this exact moment.
The truth of Jesus is to build us up, not tear us down.
He did not ask this question of Peter 3 times to rebuke him, but instead to rebuke the lies of Satan festering and taking hold in Peter’s heart. Jesus saw into Peters soul and knew that his self-worth was too low to be useful and where that condemnation was coming from.
Then Feed My Sheep
The truest way to combat the spiritual forces that seek to destroy us, the church and this world is to simply respond to Christ’s call on our life, to stand, broken as we are, put on the Armor of God, and spread the Good News of what Christ has done for us personally.
Do you have a testimony, do you have a personal story of how God changed your life? If so, outstanding!
Are you telling others about it?
And if you don’t have a personal testimony of how God, His Word, His Church, His Redemption touches your life, would it be unreasonable to ask yourself;
Do I really know Christ Jesus as my personal Savior?
Is it possible He is just The Savior, One you hold in the highest esteem, but that knowledge and even service to Him has done little to change your life or the company you keep outside of church?
If that question scares you, that is a good thing. Not because of condemnation, but because God wants to speak personally into our souls, into our life, into our fears, into our future.
If you don’t have that kind of relationship with Jesus, then ask Him directly “what does it mean to know You Lord” and watch, and listen, and wait… He will reply!
The bottom line is we must get to a place where we tangibly trust His truths about who we are, who He is, what He has done, and what is to come.
God’s love for us (truth) protects and binds (girds) our behaviors, breaks strongholds, righteously convicts selfishness, laziness, pride and lusts.
Why would God do this for us?
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Abba FAther, I thank You for this first piece of Armor, this weapon against the lies of Satan who tries to tell me I am who I was when it is Your Word which tells me of my value to You, because of what You’ve done, not my efforts and actions but Yours. It is Your Word that tells of Your great love for me, so much love that You sent Your son to die for me, personally, while I am still a sinner. For me to spend one second tortured by what I did 5 minutes, 5 years or 5 decades ago is to take away from the Cross, the very Atonement of Your blood which is the only cleansing agent capable of washing away our sins. Thank You for a freedom I don’t deserve, thank You for a joy I didn’t earn, thank You for a peace I didn’t purchase, thank You for a hope I didn’t manufacture, thank You for a purpose I couldn’t have imagined, thank You for the opportunities to serve, to love, to live. It is all because of and for You that we are alive this day, thank You Jesus. In Your precious name….