Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Eph 6:14-15 NIV)
The combatant fastens his belt as he gathers his cloak to strengthen his resolve as he gets ready to fight. Just as this belt holds together the cloak so also the truth binds a persons spiritual attire. Whoever fights the devil must have divine truth on his side – otherwise things are lost. This truth grants confidence and tenacity. It fortifies the Christian in battle. It even enables him to attack the enemies lines effectively as these assault him with lies, evil fabrications and terrible falsehood. Without divine truth you miss out on the first and foremost defence God has entrusted his people with. Without truth all else seems rather vague and meaningless – even the reason for warring is lost and all conflict seems futile. Part of this truth is righteousness and justice. Without these elements confession of faith is empty and apologetics of the truth would be in vain, never mind the use of polemics and faithful dogmatics. Our own unworthiness, sinfulness and guilty conscience would completely disqualify any attempts to stand up for the truth – if the righteousness of Christ would not justify us vicariously and most effectively covering us with this breastplate of most solid armour. The feet are readied with the gospel of peace – overcoming most efficiently and successfully the sly assaults and terrorizations of the treacherous foe.
O Lord our God! You have put us into a time of weighty issues and many complicated situations. There’s conflict and war going on. Battles for and against your truth too. Our conscience accuses us that in this battle of the Spirits we have often failed due to lack of zeal and faithfulness, seriousness and dedication, passion, trustworthiness and brotherly support. Grant clarity and give us the strength to make the necessary and right and good decisions. Create in us a clean heart o God and renew in us a right spirit. Amen. (O. Michaelis)
Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you, O Christians, lest the foe destroy you; For Satan has designed your fall. Wield God’s word, the weapon glorious; Against all foes be thus victorious. God will set you above them all. Fear not the hordes of hell, Here is Emmanuel. Hail the Savior! The strong foes yield To Christ, our shield, And we, the victors, hold the field.
Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure And boldly strive for heavenly treasure. Be steadfast in the Savior’s might. Trust the Lord, who stands beside you, For Jesus from all harm will hide you. By faith you conquer in the fight. Take courage, weary soul! Look forward to the goal! Joy awaits you. The race well run, Your long war won, Your crown shines splendid as the sun.
Wisely fight, for time is fleeting; The hours of grace are fast retreating; Short, short is this our earthly way. When the Lord the dead will waken And sinners all by fear are shaken, The saints with joy will greet that day. Praise God, our triumph’s sure. We need not long endure Scorn and trial. Our Savior King His own will bring To that great glory which we sing. (Wilhelm Erasmus Arends, 1677-1721 tr John M. Sloan, 1835 – 1890)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the twenty first Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 366 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.