Monday, June 8, 2009

Not an ornament

Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)

When my favorite belt began to unravel, I tucked the frayed and broken edges into the weaving, hoping to extend its life span. Small wonder it was falling apart—I wore it every day with slacks, jeans, shorts or a skirt. I liked the sporty look it gave my outfit for the day.

After a couple of years of daily use, however, the belt took on a worn appearance, and, in time, I could no longer hide the frayed and broken sections, no matter how hard I tried. It was time to dispose of what I’d come to depend upon to complete my daily dress.

At first I felt incomplete, but then I noticed I really didn’t need the belt to hold up my bottoms—my middle-age spread did the job just as well. All my belt had been was an ornament, something added for decoration but having no practical value.

Two thousand years ago when St. Paul instructed the people of Ephesus to have the belt of truth buckled around their waists, a belt was more than an ornament. It was an important piece of a soldier’s armor. A strong, wide piece worn around the middle of the body, the soldier’s belt served two purposes: It protected his vital organs, and it held all the other pieces of his armor together.

In likening truth to a belt, St. Paul has shown us its importance. Truth, defined as “all that is real and will not change,” is not just something I put on to make me look good. Truth has a real and vital purpose: to protect me and to hold me together. The belt of truth gives the wearer the security and peace of a clear conscience. Unlike my imitation leather belt, the belt of truth will never unravel or wear out.

Truth is more than not telling a lie—it’s not being deceitful in any way. It’s not leaving out part of a story in order to change the meaning, either to make ourselves look good or to cover something we don’t want revealed.

Truth is keeping a promise in spite of changing situations and not going back on your word when something better comes up.

Truth is not relative, not a perspective, not a twisting of words, not telling folks what we think they want to hear.

Trust and truth are intertwined. Lose truth, and you lose trust.

In a world where deceit runs rampant, truth is refreshing and freeing.

Have you put on your belt of truth today?

Help me, O God, to bind myself with truth every day of my life. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Ephesians 6:10-24

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