I’m doing an online Bible Study through LifeWay for the Armor of God. (It’s fab, check it out here. Not too late to join in!) Anyway, I’m just beginning Week 2 and am now learning about the Belt of Truth.
We’ve learned over the last week that the enemy is the devil (obvi) and that he is a tricky little feller. John 8:44 tells us that Satan is the father of lies. He is an illusionist giving us just enough truth to let our guards down. Then he pounces!
I was talking to a good friend a few nights ago and we got on the subject of Dave Ramsey. She was telling me about one of his illustrations using Cheetahs and Antelopes. Although Ramsey was using this illustration to show the dangers of Credit Cards, it also fits in pretty perfectly illustrating the devil. In essence, he says that although Cheetahs are much faster than Antelopes, the Antelopes still have a chance as long as they have their Cheetah tracker on. It seems that the Antelopes have discovered if they are alerted to a Cheetah in close proximity and bob and weave as they run away, they can survive! The Antelopes have figured out the Cheetah’s plan of attack and creates their own plan of survival. How cool would it be if instead of a Cheetah tracker alerting us to their proximity, we had a devil tracker. If we could know when he was getting ready to pounce, would we do things differently?
While we don’t have a neon sign letting us know when the devil gets near, we do have the belt of truth. You see, if we will start sifting our lives through truth (God’s word) we can tell when things don’t quite line up. For example, you meet this really awesome guy, he makes a ton of money, is handsome, is kind, and loves his momma. Awesome right? Then you find out he doesn’t love Jesus and you remember 2 Cor 6:14 about not being unequally yoked. You have a situation don’t you! Do you continue on ignoring the verse and hoping you can convert him or do you trust that God’s word, the truth, actually is truth?
I use this example because it’s the one that resonated with me best. Y’all, I was a pro at convincing myself that my way was right (still am, bless Tyler’s heart). But I used to be very good at explaining away the things I did that didn’t line up with God’s teaching. I still struggle with this all the time. Control is one of my biggest issues- don’t believe me, ask some of my High School Friends (Sorry again for being crazy pants guys!). There’s a difference in knowing the truth and girding your loins, or literally folding yourself, in truth.
You can wear the belt of truth all your life and never actually gird your loins with it. Just look at the illustration above, box 1 and box 6 make a huge difference in battle!
Which brings me to our bible characters for the day. Eve and Samson. I know I know, we all know about Eve and her epic failure. But when I was studying about the differences in right and wrong and right and almost right, I realized the devil has a lot more success using almost right then he does using wrong information. Let’s look at a part of Eve’s story found in Genesis 3:1-5.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
From the very beginning the devil has been crafty, little trickster. Do you see what he does? He asked a question that contained a half truth. The end of verse 1, read it again, I’ll wait……. He asks about any tree, not the one tree he knew to be off limits. And what does Eve do? She adds in her own stipulations. Oh not only can we not eat it, but we can’t even touch it or we’ll die. (Side not: They hadn’t even seen death yet, Adam and Even had no basis to know what death was so that’s kinda crazy pants!) The devil in his trickster ways responds with “Oh honey, surely you won’t die! I think God just got confused because all this does is let you see good and evil just like Him. Unless that is why he doesn’t want you to be like him?” TRICKY TRICKY LITTLE SATAN MAN. Do you see how Satan never actually told her the wrong thing, he didn’t tell her the right thing, he just told her the aight thing. And he minimized the consequences in doing so.
Now on to Samson. Y’all, he used to be one of my favorite characters and until I actually read his whole story. He’s still a really cool guy, but he was kind of a turd head. You can read his whole story in Judges 13-16, but for now I’ll just paraphrase.
Samson meets this Philistine girl and falls in love with her (not Delilah). During his wedding week festivities, he gives the attendees a riddle that if they solve it he owes them clothes and if they don’t they all owe him clothes. After 3 days they still can’t solve this riddle so they go to his almost wife on the 4th day. They threaten her and her father by saying they’re going to burn them alive. So she goes to Samson and begs him to tell her. For the rest of the feast, she cries and begs and cries and begs and cries and begs until finally on the seventh day he caves. He tells her the answer to the riddle, so tells those he challenged with it, and before the night ends on the seventh day Samson is indebted to them for all those clothes! So he gets mad, storms off, and doesn’t end up marrying almost wife. Flash forward to Chapter 16 and here comes Delilah! He notices her, the Philistines notice him noticing her so they tell her to seduce him. “Oh little Delilah, how about you use your wily woman ways to figure out how we can beat him? He has to have an Achilles heel, just figure out what it is.” So she tries to. Three different times she asks and pleads just to have him tell her a lie and finally she nagged him enough that his soul was “vexed to death” and he tells her about his hair. Keep in mind that after each of the 3 false alarms he gave her, she sold him out. Every. Single. Time. Every time she would wake him up after having done whatever he told her would zap his strength to be met by Philistines. Surely Samson wasn’t a dumb man, but come on. 3 different times this woman tries to hurt you and what do you do? You tell her the truth, jeez- men! (jokes)
Y’all, sometimes the devil is like Delilah. He just keeps nagging and nagging and no matter how many times we try to bob and weave our way away from him he just catches back up and starts again. The only way we can wake up to his nagging and schemes is by using something outside of ourselves to judge. If Samson had a best guy friend, the friend probably would’ve told him how crazy Delilah was and to not get involved in the first place. Luckily for us, we have an unchanging, objective standard by which to judge whatever comes our way. If we judge whatever decision, problem, or life happening we have by what is in God’s Word, it can give us a clear perspective of ourselves. Are we letting our emotions run away with us like Samson? Are we letting our imagination get the best of us like Eve?
If we affirm the Word of God above our feelings, our desires, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, and ourselves, then we’ll be able to resist the lies, schemes, and tricks of the devil. He will have no foot hole into our lives. If we know truth, there will be no room for almost right. If we have what is right, we can pick out what is wrong and what is aight (almost right) and learn to stay away from them.