(This article was inspired by Tony Miano’s book, Take Up the Shield: Comparing the Uniform of the Police Officer & the Armor of God)
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11-17)
So why “duty belt”? The spiritual body armor that Paul describes to us in Ephesians 6:10-18 is directly analogous to a 1st century Roman centurion’s armor and our police body armor today. In fact, of all the pieces of armor we’ll discuss in this series, the “belt of truth” is perhaps the closest to our duty rigs of today. Let’s break it down briefly here.
First, look at v. 14 in context. God, speaking to us through Paul, shares a command: “stand firm.” And just like for us in the academy (basic training, etc.) and field training, he uses repetition the emphasize the importance of “holding the line”. Then as now, a peace officer was to be the kind of person who could be relied on to stand firm under pressure.
Now let’s look deeper into what God has for us through the concept of our “duty belt” of truth in v. 14. Our duty belts are central to what it means to be a uniformed officer. In fact, without the belt, we become, well, just firemen (LOL). Seriously, our duty belts send a message that we are armed and ready to take on any threat that comes our way. The New King James Version of the Bible puts v. 14 thusly:
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist [“loins” in the KJV] with truth…”
We don’t use the word “gird” or “girded” much anymore but this is important for our study. “Gird” what? The loins are one of the strongest parts of our bodies from which we can generate the most power (upper thighs, waist, core, lower back). Anybody who knows anything about powerlifting (I spent many years competing in powerlifting) understands the meaning of putting on a thick lifting belt and “tactically” using your hips, quads and lower back in for the squat and deadlift. And in our police martial arts we train to use our lower body for power in takedowns, strikes, etc.
Likewise, a Roman soldier learned to fight/exert power through his hips because they were the strongest part of his body. Through Paul, God is instructing (training us) that when we cinch up our belts with the truth of His word (the Bible), we will be at our strongest and best position to “stand” firm against our physical (for us cops/combat military personnel) and spiritual adversaries. But wait, there’s more. The “duty belt serves as an anchor for all the additional pieces of armor and weaponry. Without God's truth, there is no salvation. And if we are not continually training in His truth while wearing our duty belts of truth, we will falter when the enemy comes at us. Click To Tweet
And then what is the meaning of “truth” as used here? Well, as I share often, Scripture interprets Scripture. For example, one of the names for Jesus is “the Truth.” In fact, He uses that expression in one of the most important passages of the New Testament in John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”
Without God’s truth, there is no salvation (only one truth and one way we can be saved). And if we are not continually “training” in His truth (Bible study, devotion time, etc.) while wearing our duty belts of truth (we are never told to take off our spiritual body armor), we will falter when the enemy comes at us. There are three ways that we buckle (gird) ourselves with the truth:
(1) The first is that of truly knowing the person of Christ who is the Truth. Jesus is the embodiment of the truth (again, look at John 14:6). When we come into a genuine, life-saving/life-changing personal relationship with Him, we come to know Truth personified.
(2) The second thing God would have us understand about truth (His truth as revealed to us in His Word, the Bible) is that it is an essential part of having a wholly biblical worldview. When we understand and fully embrace the whole truth about who Jesus is and what He has done for us, Satan will have fewer lies (Jesus calls the devil a murderer and the “father of lies” — see John 8:44) and the fiery missiles to throw at us.
(3) The third thing that God would have us understand here is that the belt of truth is a symbol of integrity (as cops, our Law Enforcement Code of Ethics calls us to a life of unwavering integrity both on and off duty). We who are born again in Christ alone (John 3:1-21, 14:6) are called to live according to His Word and that Word is truth.
Let me close with a quote from cop-turned-preacher Tony Miano from his book, Take Up the Shield: Comparing the Uniform of the Police Officer & the Armor of God:
“Daily wear the belt of God’s truth. Memorize and meditate on the truth of God’s Word, so that…Scripture will be ever-present–deep in your hear, at the front of your mind, and on the tip of your tongue. Be known as a person of integrity, one who can be counted on to tell the truth regardless of the circumstances. You will be far better equipped to stand firm and fight in spiritual battles.”
Finally (v. 10), understand that this passage and the spiritual armor and weapons described here are available only to born again believers (“Christians” as God alone gets to describe it). In fact, if you are an unbeliever (non-Christian), you are utterly helpless against the enemy’s attacks (John 15:5 and many other passages). So is that you? Are you right with God today? Are you sure? If not, I implore you, surrender to Him in faith now while you still can.