Stand Strong in Truth and Righteousness
DAY 1 – Stand Strong in Truth and Righteousness
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness..."
The Apostle Paul describes the Christian life more like a battleground than a playground. You may wonder why he doesn’t say to go attack or run towards the enemy, but rather he says that we must stand strong, by using words like “stand” or “withstand” repeatedly. Why is that? It’s because we must realize the war is already won. Satan is on death row. He knows his fate is sealed, that he will be thrown into a lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). It’s like a football team that is leading 63-0 in the 4th quarter. They don’t need to plan some major offensive strategy or send out their best players; they simply need to stay on the field, and ensure no one makes a touchdown! The game is already won. The clock just needs to run down. Or imagine that you are son or daughter of a billionaire, you’re the heir of large estates and lucrative business. Your financial future is set, there’s not a thing in the world you couldn’t buy. If that was the case, you wouldn’t imagine going out into the street and begging for change! You have everything you need and far more. As Christians, we have everything we need and more. The battle is already won, we just need to claim the victory and live in that victory! In doing so, we need to take up our weapons and fight like a champion.
The Devil is the father of lies, and God is the father of truth. There has been a battle for truth between these two Fathers and their children for thousands of years. The battle is for two kingdoms, the kingdom of Satan versus the kingdom of God. This is why the Apostle Paul calls Christians to use weapons of war and to put on the armor of God.
First, we learn about truth.
Stanley J. Grenz wisely said the following about truth: “In recent times certain thinkers have suggested that truth is subjective, relative, and pluralistic. Viewed from a theological perspective, truth is grounded in the being and will of the triune God. Truth is that which reflects factual and/or spiritual reality.”
As Christians, we need to read truth and memorize it. Sing about it, listen to it, and live by it if we are going to survive the war in which Satan and his soldiers are seeking to defeat us. Jesus, when he was tempted by Satan, countered his attacks with scripture. Each time the enemy tempted him, Jesus would respond with scriptures he had memorized. Three times Jesus said “It is written” before he quoted scripture. Jesus knew the enemy is allergic to scripture, and so in the end, Satan left (Matthew 4:1-11). Truth is an essential weapon of warfare. This is why the Apostle Paul addresses this concept of truth first and foremost.
FASTEN THE BELT OF TRUTH
In Paul’s analogy, he calls this the “belt of truth.” It holds everything together. It holds everything up. In those days, men wore what we know as togas. These are too long and cumbersome to fight in. Soldiers would bind them up and cinch them with a belt. It would enable the soldier to run, to access other weapons, to kick, and to fight! The belt would not only hold their robe up but more importantly, it was used to hold the sword or dagger in an easy to access position as well.
As a Christian, you need a belt too. You don’t want your pants down to be falling down when doing battle or your dress to be dragging. You need to be able to run, fight, and stand your ground against the enemy. In too many situations, Christians today are not secure in truth. They are continually embarrassed and unprepared for the intellectual arguments against the Christian faith and the battles of the enemy because they have failed to wrap truth around themselves.
You need a belt so that you can access your sword in a moment’s notice. You have to be alert, ready to go!
GUARD THE HEART
Not only does the Christian need truth but the Christian needs righteousness. The breastplate Paul refers to would protect the most vital organ, the heart. The breastplate armor could protect a soldier from an arrow piercing the body. It could withstand a deadly blow from a knife, a sword, a spear, or an arrow. In modern warfare, soldiers wear Kevlar or bulletproof vests to help protect themselves from the enemies’ attacks.
TWO KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
As Christians, we must protect our hearts today with righteousness. There are two kinds of righteousness we should consider. First is the positional righteousness that we have through Christ. As believers, we are made righteous through what’s been called imputed righteousness. It is God’s own righteousness put into the life of the Christian. This is part of God’s gracious gift to believers. It assures them that they have absolute right standing with God, through the person and work of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Secondly, there is practical righteousness that Christians are called to live by (Ephesians 4:24). It comes as a result of living a good and godly life. As a believer lives in righteousness, he grows stronger and the enemy’s attacks get weaker. The believer’s life and offensive attack pushes back forces of darkness, not allowing the devil to find areas of weakness. As a light pushes back darkness, so does righteousness. Are there some things you need to make right? Your heart needs to be protected. As the scripture says, we need to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).
THE ARROWS OF ACCUSATION
Satan most often aims his arrows for the heart of the Christian. The name “Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning "adversary" and "accuser". He will take aim on your heart because he knows it’s the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23), and most Christians don’t guard it. He hates righteousness and all who seek to live in righteousness. His arrows are set aflame and launched with the intent to kill. His arrow of accusation seeks to bring condemnation.
Satan condemns, the Holy Spirit convicts. Many Christians get these confused. Condemnation is intended to cripple; conviction is intended to bring about change. Condemnation is intended to wound; conviction is intended to heal. Condemnation says, “I can’t”; conviction says, “I can”. Condemnation leads us to disbelief; conviction leads to belief. Condemnation says, “I am hopeless”; conviction, says, “I am hopeful”. Condemnation says, “I could never change”; conviction says, “God can”. Condemnation says, “It’s been too long”; conviction says, “It’s never too late”. Condemnation says, “I’m too far gone”; conviction says, “My God knows no limit.” As the Apostle Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Do not let Satan shoot his arrows of accusation. Guard your heart with righteousness. Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay alive.
POSITIONAL AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION
Positionally, maybe you need to recite the righteousness you have in Christ. You are loved, you are cherished, you are safe and secure. God’s angel armies surround you as you call upon his name. He will command them concerning you as you pray and seek to live for him.
Practically, maybe you need to make something right You’ve been doing wrong. Repent. Change your ways. Ask for God’s forgiveness and thank him. Ask for his strength and power to live a Godly and holy life, to do what’s right.