Thursday, April 25, 2013

A DIFFERENT ANGLE

I feel fairly confident that many Christian believers have heard or read more than a few teachings on how important it is to be reading the Word of God (Bible) daily.  I have the same message today in this writing but a different spin or angle to present for your consideration.

You are responsible for you.  I know that might sound pretty elementary to all, but it needs to be said.  Some individuals go through every week and depend totally upon the Preacher of their church to feed and nurture them spiritually for the week.  I think it is an appropriate analogy to compare the physical need to eat daily with the spiritual need to "eat" or read the Bible daily.  So, those who only get spiritually fed on Sundays and occasional Wednesdays - their spiritman/spiritwoman is starving by Sunday every week.  I would like to call Sunday "Augmentation Day".  This is a day that we should be receiving support and/or confirmation from the Pastor about where we have been daily in our walk in Christ during previous days of the week.  Rick Renner, author of Dressed To Kill, supports this idea by saying,

"Let me ask you this question:  Do you still ask your mother to dress you?  .....that is exactly what many believers do!  When they come to church on Sunday or to midweek service, knowing they haven't been in the Word all week long, they are saying, 'Preacher, would you please dress me in my armor?  Would you put my belt on me?

Understand this:  The teaching of the Word from the pulpit should only confirm what you have already heard God say personally to you through His Word during the week.

It's intended by the Holy Spirit to pull the belt that is already on you a little tighter.

Their righteousness fits even better.  Their sense of peace is locked on even more securely." (pp.278-279)

God says through Paul - "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (v.11)  Pay attention to the fact that even though it is a spiritual armor, God's Armor, you have to put it on - daily.  In addition, Paul gives you the reasoning behind it all - expect all kinds of mind games and tricks from the enemy and BE READY!  That is what "schemes" means in the original Greek - mind tricks/games.

Did you notice what part of the Whole Armor of God Rick mentioned?  The Belt of Truth.  This piece is the first piece of the Whole Armor of God that is listed in Ephesians 6:10-20.  This piece must be pretty important.  To some, including me, it is the most important piece of all.  Why is that?  I am glad you asked.

First an understanding:  The Word of God in two forms - Logos and Rhema.

  • The Word of God in Logos form is the Written Word of God or Bible.  
  • The Rhema Word of God is the revealed or quickened Word of God that comes from being rooted or having your foundation in the Logos.

With this knowledge, most of the sermons and teachings I have heard on "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17) claim that the Bible is our "sword" or weapon of the Whole Armor of God that Paul spoke about.  This is incorrect.  If you research the original Greek word for "Word" in the phrase "word of God" for that verse - you will find it means the Rhema Word of God.  So, where does the Belt of Truth play in all this?  Again, thank you for nudging me to continue.

The Belt of Truth is the Bible.

"...Paul likens the Word of God [Logos] to a Romans soldier's loinbelt." (p.265)

"What does the loinbelt represent in Ephesians 6?  The written Word of God.  Therefore, this tells us that most of the time the 'word from the Lord' we need will come directly out of the Bible - just as the Roman soldier's sword came right out of a scabbard that hung on his loinbelt.  The loinblet and the sword were connected." (p.273)

"So do you need a special word from the Lord?  Do you need a rhema, a 'sword of the Spirit'?  This is how you get it:  Make it a priority to read and study the Word of God, and your rhema will most likely be quickened to you as you walk in the Word." (p.273)

Jesus is the Word of God which is always The Truth.  John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  Then Jesus said about Himself in John 14:6"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

So, with further closer, careful observation it is clear that The Belt of Truth is The Logos, The Written Word of God, the Holy Spirit's Word in print.  Meanwhile, over in verse 17 of Ephesians 6, The Sword of the Spirit is the Rhema Word of God - the Revealed, Unveiled, or Quickened Word of God.

A word about belts - they hold things together and things can be held from upon them.  Now-a-days cell phones and other gadgets clip to our belt for easy access.  Our belts today are also used to keep some of our pants up around the waistline.  When Paul examined the Roman soldier, he noticed the belt held the breastplate firmly in place, the shield and sword were stored on the belt when not in use and there was even a notch for a lance/spear to rest (the lance could be translated as prayer and supplication in verse 18, according to Mr. Renner).

"Only the loinbelt will hold everything together for us, both as individual believers and as the corporate Body of Christ." (p.266)

"When you affix the loinbelt of truth onto the center of your life and faithfully ensure that it stays in place, everything else comes together." (p.268)

So, the strong encouragement comes to both you and me - put your belt on....everyday.  Know thy belt.  Say it however you like, but I like how Rick says it.

"But if you lay aside your Bible (your 'loinbelt of truth'), in time you'll begin to lose your sense of righteousness.  Lay aside that loinbelt of truth, and you will slowly begin to lose your sense of peace.  Lay aside that loinbelt of truth, and you will feel the joy of your salvation begin to deplete.  If you toss that loinbelt of truth out of your life, you will begin very quickly to lose your ability to believe God and to walk in faith.

You absolutely cannot function as a believer without the Word of God having an active and central role in your life."  (p.265)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, - Ephesians 6:14