Oxford University Press (the dictionary publisher) recently named its international word of the year for 2016: “post-truth.” Oxford defines post-truth as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Post-truth is not to be confused with “truthiness,” a term popularized by comedian Stephen Colbert years earlier that described the phenomenon of “believing something that feels true, even if it isn’t supported by fact.”
If the observation of the Washington Post, “It’s official: Truth is dead. Facts are passé…” is true, we are in deep trouble as a society. Wildmen reading this blog need to establish a secure, solid, objective place to stand rather than on the sinking sands of emotions and personal belief. In the spiritual battle we are in, Paul exhorts us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph. 6:13b-14). “In this context the imagery is not that of a massive invasion of the domain but of individual soldiers withstanding assault” (NIV footnote). Jesus has won the battle. We are to stand in the truth.
The first two parts of the armor, truth and righteousness, point to a quality of character. A vital part of our armor in the spiritual battle is integrity and righteous living. They are qualities of Jesus and the new creation he brings (Eph. 4:17-24). Men, take note: character is absolutely vital in our stand against evil and the Evil One. When truth, the belt of the armor, which holds the armor together is missing, the armor is ineffective. The lesson for men is this: make sure you have the belt of truth on to keep your armor secure.
So, how do we employ the belt of truth? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Be absolutely clear in your mind that there is a sovereign, transcendent, loving God who is the author of truth. In Revelation, the worshipers declare, “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages” (Rev. 15:3). God declares in Isaiah 45:19, “I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.” The problem with truth today is expressed in Romans 1:25: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” God reveals his truth in Scripture. In matters of faith and practice, submit your mind to the authority of God’s Word.
2) Remember that God’s ultimate truth was incarnate in Jesus, enabling truth to be relational. This is a matter of the heart. “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). During times of doubt and uncertainty, literally cling to Jesus. He promised to be with you and in you. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). Therefore, learn to discern the truth being spoken to you and to stand on this truth.
3) Allow the truth of Jesus to set you free to be a truth teller. Jesus declares to us, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:12). What we desperately need today are men willing to take initiative guided by the truth in a loving and humble manner.