Last month we began a series of articles on the "Armor of God." You and I are engaged in a desperate warfare: a spiritual warfare. If we are not properly prepared, we are sitting ducks.
The Bible commands us, with all urgency, to "put on the whole armor of God."1 What is this? What does this really mean?
Notice that we must be completely armed: one or two pieces won't do. And the time to "put it on" is before the battle begins, not during. And we are already on enemy turf!
Paul's Armament List
In Ephesians 6, Paul provides us with a detailed description of the Armor of God. The detailed description of the armor may stem from Paul's being chained to a Roman soldier while in prison awaiting trial.2
Actually, the Holy Spirit is consistent in His use of idioms: these same elements had been alluded to in the Old Testament.3
The first item on Paul's list is to be:
Girded With Truth
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..." Ephesians 6:14
"What is Truth?" the famed Roman procurator cynically asked rhetorically. Few of us have the will to raise the question ourselves. And yet a moment's consideration quickly reveals that truth is our most precious treasure to be coveted. Truth is the key to success, fulfillment, victory, or achieving any worthwhile goal. The pursuit of truth is our greatest challenge in every one of our endeavors.
This "fabulous century" has ushered in astonishing changes in the realms of technology and yet, strangely, it has also probed new depths of darkness with devastating wars and monstrous new weapons, yielding the bloodiest, most revolutionary, most unpredictable century of any in history.
Perhaps most fearsome of all, it has also ushered in a wholesale abandonment of truth. In any cultural war, truth is the first casualty.
A Culture Committed to the Pursuit of Truth?
Early in this century, many "intellectuals" in our society became enamored with the doctrines of Freudianism, the materialism of Feurbach, the nihilism of Nietzsche, the dialectic of Hegel, the communism of Marx, along with Behaviorism, Socialism, Existentialism ("do your own thing"), Rationalism, Fabianism, and Humanism.
David Breese's recent book, Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave, highlights the impacts of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, George Wellhausen, Sigmund Freud, John Maynard Keynes, Soren Kierkegaard and, of course, John Dewey.
Through the teachings of John Dewey's humanism, his atheism, amorality, evolution, and one-world socialism permeated our educational system and excluded from our textbooks the moral and Biblical teachings which had been the bedrock of our American culture.
The continual upscaling of school budgets has resulted in depressingly poorer performances. One would presume that this was a result of poor or inept management.
The astonishing shock that awaits anyone looking into this seriously, is that this is the intended result!
The deliberate dumbing-down of America is precisely the subversive goal of Goals 2000, Outcome Based Education and related programs.4
The Ostracism of Truth
Alan Bloom was probably the most surprised when his book, The Closing of the American Mind-after 30 years at University of Chicago-made the cover of a major news magazine a few years ago. In our strive to be "open" to multiculturalism, we have abandoned the quest for truth-in fact, denying its existence5-in exchange for "value relativism."
We have disconnected ourselves from the benefits of 2,000 years of the painful lessons we call Western Civilization. Alan Bloom demonstrated, from simply a secular background, that relativism is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Our American youth have thus been disenfranchised from our Christian heritage. How will one find truth if he is convinced it doesn't exist?
Now, two generations of graduates have been subjected to these godless philosophies through our schools. The children from this background have now become the parents, teachers, political leaders, new media people, playwrights, actors, entertainers, clergymen, business and professional people. Ignorant of the great moral and religious strengths of our country, they were unable to impart these to the new generation. What are the results?
Modern cultic, pagan religions have built their appeal on this vacuum. The mind reels in the attempt to understand the insanity of paganism. No one knows how much of the substance of life has been poured out before the graven images of time, upon the stained altars of gods who are not, and of demons who are. The statues of deities are few, but the gods of the mind are many.
The modern New Age Movement insists that beings who choose to live "in harmony with nature," moving along the lines of its "life force," will discover happiness and be part of the great utopian wave of the future. The New Age Movement carries its propaganda everywhere, calling people to cooperate with the destiny they say is built into the social structure.
Moral Free Fall
A spiritually apathetic society hardly murmured when in 1962, citing no precedents, a "liberal" Supreme Court abolished prayer from the public schools and the next year abolished Bible reading from the schools.
From that time on, there was a startling rise in teenage pregnancies: up 556%; venereal disease: up 226%. (Now, 35,000 new cases of VD per day!)
Family divorce had declined for 15 years; then it tripled each year since. Over 80 social indicators tell the same story.
S.A.T. scores had previously been stable. Then they started their remarkable continuing decline. (In attempt to mask the embarrassing results, the basis of the scores have been recently revised downwards. The home schoolers will still betray the federal charade with their conspicuously outstanding performances.6)
Moral teaching, proper standards, and respect for rules have been removed from our schools. Meaningless courses in "values clarification" and the tenets of Secular Humanism (classified as a religion by the Supreme Court in 1961) have been substituted.
The high principles that made America great have been lost. Not just among the lower classes, but in the highest offices in the land. There no longer appears to be any connection between character and destiny. People claim that "morals have changed." God makes morals and He didn't change His mind. God hates wickedness.
The manifest contradictions of our present predicament result from so few persons today taking the time to evaluate the issues, agree with the true, and resist the false. Most are borne along by streams of influence managed by others inimical to their interests.
Most of the assumptions that govern our society, our nation, and our families demand re-examination. The shock is that they all are false; most from deliberate deceit.
Yet, determining the nature of reality in our world is the cornerstone of our living. A man puts into practice tomorrow what he believes today. To believe in the wrong model of history or the wrong purpose of living can lead to grievous errors, great tragedies, and devastating consequences. The correct-true-view of man, God, and history is the key to sanity, survival, and fulfillment for each of us.
Where do you find truth? If we search diligently we will eventually discover that the "truth" of the world consists of convictions of convenience and political correctness in its many forms. Pandered to us by those who would manipulate us to their own agenda, it proves fragile and crumbles when relied upon; hardly the stuff to build our lives upon.
It should come as no surprise that Paul begins his list of spiritual armor with "being girded with truth." The real truth: the Word of God.
The Roman Girding
The Roman belt was 6-8 inches wide; all the body armor and weapons were attached to it. As a soldier's belt gave ease and freedom of movement, so truth gives freedom with self, others, and God.
All was prepared before, not during, the battle! You can't postpone the gaining of combat knowledge to when you "need" it!
One definition of truth is when the Word and Deed become one. The ultimate truth is the fulfillment of God's promises in His Messiah. God's Word had committed Him to provide what we need in His Son. Jesus was the fulfillment of that commitment.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
This is the basis of our armor in any spiritual battle. All other elements of our warfare derive from this.
The Prophetic Perspective
The Bible repeatedly portrays a rise in lies and deceit to be a characteristic of the last days.7 The final world leader will exploit signs and lying wonders.8 He will be anticipated by doctrines of demons.9
Let's Get Personal
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1, 2
Only by renewing our minds-and challenging the lies that drive our society-can we achieve a better destiny than the fate toward which we now stumble.
How do we practically apply this? See our book, The Way of Agape and its sequel, Be Ye Transformed, for a thorough, practical discussion and application to our lives.
- Missler, Chuck and Nancy, The Way of Agape Book and Nancy Missler, Be Ye Transformed Book, Koinonia House, 1994, 1996.
- Klicka, Christopher J., The Right Choice Book, Noble Publishing Associates, 1993.
- Kjos, Berit, Brave New Schools Book, Harvest House, 1995.
- Bloom, Alan, The Closing of the American Mind, Simon and Schuster, 1987.
- Breese, David, Seven Men Who Rule The World From Their Graves, Moody Press, 1990.