Ephesians 6:14-15 Discernment, Reputation & Urgency
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In the above passage, Paul teaches the first three pieces of the armor, which is the ability to discern God’s voice, an impeccable reputation and the readiness to proclaim the gospel of truth by His power.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.
The belt of truth is the armor that gives the ability to discern the voice of Christ and to acquire truth. The first piece of the armor is the belt of truth. The belt of truth is not explicitly biblical knowledge, but the Spirit of truth. It is not about the right doctrinal understanding or dogma, but it is the right Spirit, the spirit, which acknowledges Jesus as Lord. A person’s spirit serves as eyeglasses, which provide perspective and interpretation to the subjects in view. Even as the subject matter or biblical writings are objective, but is required of the reader to interpret and derive the truth for himself. Therefore, it is important to first put on the belt of truth, which is the Spirit of Truth that enables the believer to receive the revelations of God and detect falsehood. What the Spirit of Truth does is to unite the reader with the attributes of Christ. For example, the spirit of falsehood interprets the blood covenant of Christ as the irrevocable grace of God that saves unrepentant sinners. But the Spirit of truth interprets the blood covenant as due to God’s faithfulness to save repentant sinners and the inevitability of God’s wrath upon the unrepentant.
In the days of Jesus, the Jewish leaders denounced Christ as a heretic and worthy of death. But Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27). True believers possess the belt of truth that enables them to hear the voice of Christ, to reject the voice of the enemy and to receive the truth.
And having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate of righteousness is the armor that represents a person’s impeccable reputation that protects him from the accusations of his enemies. While the belt of truth enables one to discern the truth and detect falsehood, the breastplate of righteousness relates to an impeccable reputation of integrity and truth. The breastplate of righteousness represents the impeccable reputation of the soldier; it protects and vindicates him from accusations. One may be capable and gifted, but if he lacks integrity, he is open to attacks and makes it hard to maintain his position for long.
And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
The shoes of readiness is the urgency to take hold of every opportunity to preach the gospel; it expands God’s kingdom and cede territory from the devil. The shoes represents readiness to take hold of every opportunity to preach the gospel, to uphold the values of the Kingdom, and to create opportunities for people to experience God. Without the shoes of readiness, the Kingdom of God will cede territory to the kingdom of darkness. We could say that the shoes of the readiness represents the lifestyle of evangelism and the urgency to take new territories for God.
- Water will find its own level. People tend to rise or sink to their true level of competence or character, no matter what they or others perceive them to be. Hence, it is better to know the truth that may not be all that rosy, but that leads to salvation and glory. Many people have a tendency to gravitate towards messages or half-truths that provide them a basis for a more prosperous and comfortable life without searching the word for themselves if that is truly the case. They work on the premise that if they would ignore the voice of opposition and celebrate the fulfillment of their desires, they would obtain them. Therefore, we must always put on the belt of truth; a desire to know the truth and nothing but the truth so that the truth can really set us free to live abundantly.
- If we have to choose between monetary gain and reputation, choose reputation! A good reputation is more valuable than great riches (Proverbs 22:1). Our greatest asset in the day of turmoil and judgment is a good reputation. When a man’s character is impeccable, the enemy can find no avenue to bring him down. If a man’s conduct conforms to both the spirit of the Law and the letter of the Law, he is impenetrable. 1 John 5:18 say that evil cannot touch a righteous man. Proverbs 16:7 say, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to God, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
- We are not ready to proclaim the gospel until we have truly experienced the power of the gospel for ourselves. The gospel is preached not by explanation but by an effortless demonstration of a changed life and through power and miracles. The more we are changed by the gospel, the more effective our witness will be. The secret to proactive evangelism is a daily experience of Christ’s life and power through obedience.
- Do you have a tendency to gravitate towards messages that are more palatable, emotionally up lifting, or do you listen to the voice of Christ within you? Do you diligently search the word to confirm the validity of the messages?
- Do you make use of every opportunity to do what is fair and just to all, or do you take advantage of situations for your own benefit? A reputable person will seek to do what is fair to protect those who are weak. He will use every opportunity to build a solid and impeccable reputation that will reap glorious and eternal rewards.
- Do you actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the love and the power of Christ? Or do you shy away from the opportunities fearing that you may be rejected?
Dear Lord, give me ears that hunger for the truth that will set me free. Give me the impetus to read Your word and to understand its truth. Teach me to conduct myself honorably and respectably before people, teach me what to say and what to do in critical situations. As I endeavor to proclaim the gospel, use me to demonstrate Your love and power in my family, workplace, school and church. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.