You may be aware of the full armor of God (above scripture) but did you ever stop to think about “the belt of truth” (i.e. what it represents and why it is listed first)? The belt of truth keeps us from giving in/being taken captive to the world’s beliefs. It holds the rest of the armor up; without it you are exposed and vulnerable to not just an attack, but to a spiritual death blow. Satan knows the easiest way to get us to act the way he wants is to get us to think the way he wants. If he can trick people into taking off the belt of truth (e.g. believe that truth is not absolute and just relative to the individual), then it won’t be hard for those same people to be deceived into believing God’s Word is not inerrant, and therefore, gratifying the desires of the flesh is not absolutely/necessarily wrong. Satan has convinced many that the belt of truth is “too constricting." Many Christians have listened to Satan’s lies and have loosened the belt; consequently, this has led to chinks in many Christian’s armor. Worse though, some have completely removed the belt by conforming to Satan’s relativistic (e.g. “there is no absolute truth”, or “morality and everything is relative”) “pattern of this world" (Romans 12:2).
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”--Colossians 2:8
Churches have deprived their congregations from a balanced diet of TRUTH for some time now. This negligence has allowed the empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense of our time (pluralism, and relativism) to metastasize. This mind cancer is in stage 4 now; it is spreading fast and is threatening our churches, our culture, and our nation. The empty philosophy of relativism has decayed the morals of our culture. It has led to the distortion of God’s Word and the U.S. Constitution which has resulted in rampant corruption of our leaders (in business and government), and a self-indulgent culture (our emotional feelings and body’s pleasures are paramount). Sexual immorality is so pervasive today that what all sane individuals once knew was deplorable, is now not only tolerated, it is cheered and encouraged! And let us not forget about the murdering of innocent unborn children for the sake of selfish convenience.
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’
But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when we must take [and talk about] a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take [and talk about] it because it is right.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. *Words in brackets [ ] were added to accentuate the next point.
Many Christians (including pastors) ignore, hide, and sometimes even deny the evil around us and with it the need for repentance; all in an effort to remain relevant in a godless culture (i.e. out of fear of becoming irrelevant and voiceless in this culture). These Christians have lost their saltiness (Matthew 5:13) through their complacency and refusal to speak out against evil; and if they do speak out against evil, they take the safe route and speak out against abstract evil (e.g. social injustice) that very few if any will take issue with. They avoid the hard-hitting issues that most of their congregation needs clarity on (abortion, pornography, and homosexuality) out of fear of who/how many they might offend. The result of this is a godless and decadent culture that is becoming more aggressive and persistent in their attacks on followers of Christ. Worse though, many “Christians” are now joining in the attacks on followers of Christ who are not conforming to the pattern of this world. This self-indulgent culture used to be more discreet in their attacks on Christianity, but with their new-found “Christian” allies, they are now brazen in their harassment, with no shame in violating the Constitution, or in many cases, their local laws in the process.
In the last decade homosexual advocates have gone from seeking tolerance to fascism and totalitarianism, and from wishing Christians would allow them to come out of the closet to wanting to force Christians in the closet. When they find out-of-the-closet Christians who do not affirm their lifestyle, they use tactics that resemble the mafia to punish them through intimidation, slander, and economic ruin. The message to Christians is clear: “Affirm us, stay in the closet, or else!” The gay community and their liberal allies are not even trying to hide their intentions anymore—they want to scrub all remnants of Classic Christianity from this masterpiece we call America. They’ll say they have no problem with Christianity. But the fact is the only Christianity they don’t have a problem with is their version of Christianity—a Christianity that removes all distinction between male and female, and a Christianity that views homosexual unions in a way that is just as legitimate as heterosexual ones.
It is both ironic and shameful that we live in a culture with such disdain toward Christ and the Bible while over seventy five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. How is this possible? Why do so many "Christians" have such animosity toward other Christians and their adherence to biblical orthodoxy?
How we got here:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of YOUR MIND. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12:2
For too long now, pastors have spent a lot of their time delivering messages of grace and hope (which are important), but those messages were not balanced with sermons that call out the evils of our time, or sermons that "destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5). As a result, many Christians bought into the "empty philosophies from human thinking" and removed the belt of truth. Now a mind that denies absolute TRUTH is like a compass that can't point north; it's broken and useless for providing meaningful direction and guidance. Therefore, rather than be transformed by the renewing of their mind (by accepting and seeking what is TRUE through the Word of God), many Christians disabled their mind and with it the ability to "discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God"(Romans 12:2). But this didn’t stop them from forming opinions about right and wrong (i.e. trying to interpret God's moral will) from their feelings and emotions instead of a renewed mind that accepts and seeks TRUTH.
In short, nonsense that comes from human thinking, and their heart's desires (which is"deceitful and desperately wicked"--Jeremiah 17:9), has shaped many Christian’s political ideology; their political ideology then shaped their theology. Instead of humbling themselves and examining their political ideology (i.e. opinions of how the world should work) in light of God's Word, Christians have elevated their political ideology and demoted their theology (view of God, His Word, and His will). In other words, many Christians turned their political ideology into an idol of sorts and turned their theology into its slave. As Christians, our political ideology should be shaped by our theology, not the other way around. But too many Christians seem more worried about standing with their neighbor on the right side of political history than they are about standing with their neighbor on the right side of eternity. So this is why we have such a large community of “Christians” (without the belt of truth) who have been taken captive by the world’s beliefs, and as a result have such animosity toward Christians (with the belt of truth) who refuse to conform to the pattern of this world.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from THE TRUTH and turn aside to myths.”—2 Timothy 4:3-4
If there is going to be a spiritual revival in this country it has to start at the pulpit with courageous pastors committed to THE WHOLE TRUTH (of God's Word, and moral will) rather than half-truth, ear-tickling sermons that appeal to emotions. For those of us who have the belt of truth buckled around our waste, “let us not become weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap”(Galatians 6:9). Let us continue seeking, serving, and fighting for Jesus—His kingdom, His moral will, and for those who call themselves believers but have been taken captive by the world’s beliefs.