Our Spiritual Shapewear

Truth 11.2.15

When I was an adolescent, I remember waiting expectantly for the day when I could shave my legs and wear pantyhose.  I would watch my mom put on her “faux tan” and think it was the best. thing. ever.  And then, to top it all off, she would put on this wonderful undergarment that would hold it all up and in…back then, it was called a girdle.

Oh, how I loved my girdle…at first.  It would smooth out my tummy and hold up my pantyhose.  It made my pants and skirts fit a little better.  But after awhile, I realized that while it held some parts in, it caused other parts to puff out.  And it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear in the world.  And at some point in my early adult life, the girdle became a thing of the past (as did pantyhose, for the most part, but that’s another story!).

Fast forward quite a few years.  Last summer I had lost some weight and was shopping with a friend for some new clothing.  She has studied this kind of thing, you see, and knows what looks good on my body shape and what colors I should wear.  So I trust her.  And when she said the skirt I tried on looked okay, but would look even better with some “shapewear”, I had to go find some.  And what did I discover?  Girdles had been reinvented!

In Ephesians 6, Paul sums up his thoughts to the church at Ephesus beginning with these familiar verses about the armor of God:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (vs. 10-11; 13a; NIV)

The belt of truth is the first piece of armor Paul mentions.  He is most likely staring at a Roman soldier as he pens his letter, and the belt is the prominent piece of armor that strengthens the soldier’s core (think UPS man’s belt!) and serves as a place to hang his weapons and stabilize his breastplate.  In a pinch, should he need to run, he can also tuck his long robe up and into the belt so he has more freedom of movement.  It was every fashionable soldier’s “shapewear”.

So why are we to “gird our loins” (NASB) with truth before we put on any of our other pieces of armor?  Because truth is what needs to be at the core of our spiritual existence, strengthening and stabilizing us.  Truth is the lens through which every feeling, thought, emotion, and action needs to pass so that, if necessary, we can “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5, NIV).  Truth anchors all of our other pieces of armor, equipping us to stand our ground against the enemy of our souls.  It holds us up and holds us in.

Of course, truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and in His written word, the Bible.  And the only way we can internalize God’s truth and build up our core is by being in relationship with Him and spending time reading and meditating on His Word.  Unfortunately, our enemy knows this full well, and entices us away with busyness and the cares of this world.  I don’t think that anyone knows this better than those of us involved in ministry.  It’s so easy to get caught up in all the good and necessary activities of our lives and neglect to gird ourselves with the truth we need to stand strong when the winds blow and the storms come. Let’s remember to put on our “shapewear” every day so that, with God’s truth under our belt, we can smoothly handle whatever comes our way, with strength and grace.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true…think about such things.

(Phil. 4:8, NIV)

~Terri

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