“What is truth?” This is a popular question nowadays, but it is actually nothing new! In fact, even Pontius Pilate asked it of Jesus before His cruxifixction 2000 years ago. Today, the battle is ongoing over “spinning the truth” in the public domain and declaring something (that may or may not be true) as “misinformation” just because it doesn’t fit the narrative or it’s inconvenient. So who determines what IS true?

The definition of truth has changed over time. These days, you commonly hear people talk about the “pursuit of truth” and how “all truth is relative.” That statement in and of itself isn’t true! Truth must be objective and independent of the perception or the will of others — it’s critical. Here’s a popular story used to illustrate this.

Three baseball umpires were having a discussion about the calls they made at home plate. The first umpire said, “There’s balls & there’s strikes, and I call them the way they are.” The second umpire said, “No, there’s balls & there’s strikes, and I call them the way I see them.” The third umpire said, “You’re both wrong…there’s balls & there’s strikes, but they aren’t anything until I call them.”

The first umpire represents the traditional viewpoint of truth — that the truth of a pitch being a ball or a strike is true, regardless of the umpire’s viewpoint or opinion. He uses the rules of the game to determine the truth of the pitch and makes the call accordingly. In this case, truth is an outside source.

The second umpire represents relative truth — that an individual can only claim what appears to be true to them. And the third and last umpire in the story illustrates today’s post-modern viewpoint of truth — that it is up to individuals not to discover what is true from an objective source but to self-determine what is true and impose that on others.

But who are we to determine truth? Are we like God, knowing all? Absolutely not! There is so much that mankind can never understand or even know. God’s creation is so incredibly intricate that it far exceeds anything we can grasp, much less determine. If you struggle with this, take a moment to read Job 38 to 42 and you will quickly be reminded who we are in relation to our Creator — only God is all-knowing and the Author of truth.

Defining and accepting truth is essential to living — not just in a spiritual context, but really in every way. Do you believe the law of gravity to be true? How does that affect your choices? Ask any 3 year-old boy with a cape on his back and he will tell you he can fly! But his belief that he can fly — as sincere as it may be — isn’t enough to change the truth of gravity.

And that’s an important point to make in today’s culture where people seem to think that their belief is what actually determines something to be true or not. Talk about arrogance! Truth is independent and objective. It’s not based on popularity, and it’s not up to us to determine. Even if we somehow got a group of people together to declare that a sunny blue sky is actually green, it wouldn’t change the true color of the sky.

Or that by convincing a group of people to sincerely believe they could stop the earth’s rotation on its axis if they just believed and declared that the earth was still. Would that change anything? Of course not! Truths of nature are obviously well outside of our authority to declare…so why do we think we can declare other truths? Seems a bit ridiculous from that perspective, doesn’t it. We don’t have a license to determine truth.

So back to the original question: What is truth? And why does it matter? Can people have differing truth and if not, then whose truth is…well, true? The attack on the fundamental base of truth in society over the last several decades has had disastrous results. Those who led us into the trap of redefining truth did so under the guise that claiming to know the truth was arrogant. When in all actuality, accepting what is true requires a humble spirit. Claiming you have your own truth is where the arrogance lies. Make sense?

As Paul was writing the metaphor of spiritual armor, he understood the central importance of truth and how everything else is dependent on that. In fact, by selecting the “belt” to represent truth, he was showing its broad impact. Soldiers were the only people you would see with the other armament described in this passage — the breastplate, shield, sword, helmet, etc — but the belt was actually a common piece of clothing worn by everyday citizens, not just the soldiers. The importance of truth applied to everyone!

In the case of a soldier, the belt served a few different purposes. First, it provided a way to move uninhibited by long clothing because robes and garments could be tucked into the belt in order to move freely and quickly.

Picture it in your mind — if you were wearing a long garment and had to run quickly, what’s the first thing you would instinctively do? Lift it — you would pull it up. That’s what the soldier (or any roman, really) could do with the belt — it could essentially remove hindrances and give freedom to effectively advance in the battle.

The same is true for us today. Satan wants to trip us up…he desires that we be restricted from running the race God has marked out for us. The enemy will sometimes place temptations before us — things that entangle us and keep us from forward progress such as fear, anxiety, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, unhealthy relationships, etc. And because he’s so good at disguising himself, we may not even realize that it’s a trap.

John 8:44 tells us that Satan is the father of lies and that there is no truth in him.
In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul warns us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. “Masquerades” is a fascinating description that brings to mind a costume ball where no one is who they seem to be — their true identity remains hidden behind a mask.

If we haven’t girded ourselves with the truth of God’s Word, then we won’t be able to discern Satan’s lies. Feelings are simply not reliable—we know this, right? Feelings aren’t driven by the mind but by the heart, and as Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” You cannot rely on yourself to determine what is true or you will fall into Satan’s traps repeatedly.

The second purpose of the belt for the roman soldier was that it carried his weapons. His sword would be suspended from his belt; if he carried a bow & arrow, that would also be attached to the belt — it gave the soldier quick & easy access to the weapons needed to attack his enemies and to defend himself.

The same is true for the believer. The spiritual weapons God has given us in order to engage against Satan and his kingdom are anchored on the belt of truth. When Satan fires his darts of doubt, discouragement, deceit, and despair, we must combat his lies with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We will examine this more closely in a future post.

So what is your standard of truth? Everyone has one…what you believe is right and wrong has a source. What’s yours? Is it what society says or what social media dictates? Is it what you learned as a child from those in authority over you — teachers, parents, etc? Is it based on your conversations with friends or family?
None of those sources are stable — they will change and shift, leaving you on unsteady footing. But if your source of truth is Jesus and the Word of God, then you will be on a sure foundation. God’s character and His Word will never change.

In John 14:6, Jesus declared Himself to be the way, the truth, and the life. You have the choice to believe His statement or not, but your opinion of the statement doesn’t determine its truth. He either is or He isn’t. And I believe a lot of people will someday be genuinely surprised when He returns and they discover that He is indeed the truth and they missed it — unfortunately for them, it will be too late at that point and their eternity separated from God in Hell will be set.

This is one reason Paul lists the belt of truth first…believing that Jesus is the truth is essential to the Christian life and foundational in the armor of God. In addition to Jesus saying He was the truth, He also prayed that God would sanctify His followers by God’s truth, concluding “Your word is truth.”

When you take every choice you have…every opportunity…every decision…and run them through the filter of God’s Word, you are girding yourself with the belt of truth. This is what John was talking about in his third letter.

He mentioned truth six times in just 14 verses. He commended his friend Gaius for his great hospitality as a testimony to his faithfulness to the truth, saying, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

Could this be said of you?
Is your daily walk a testimony to your belief in the truth?
Do you know the truth — are you faithfully reading and studying God’s Word?
Does the truth permeate every area of your life — in every thought, word, deed, and motive?
Does it bring great joy to those who have poured into you?

Know the truth and walk in it…gird yourself with the belt of Truth and see what a radical difference it will make in your life and in the lives of those you impact.

 

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