Ephesians 5:13 - 16 says, Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Over the next few weeks we will explore the armor of God and Satan's counterfeit armor. Be on guard - Satan has counterfeit armor and he wants you to wear it.
The first piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the belt of truth. So, what is Satan's counterfeit? A belt of deception. Satan seeks to deceive us, and he will tinge whatever he tries to sell us with some measure of truth in the hopes that his deception will lead us to believe him and his lies. It is no accident that the belt is the first piece of armor mentioned. In battle, the soldier would use his belt to hold his other pieces of armor, so in a way, all the other pieces hang on this one - we must embrace truth - true truth - the truth of God's Word. By the same manner, Satan will start with a belt of deception and then the other pieces of counterfeit armor will follow. I know of many ways that we can be deceived by our enemy, but here are just a few. Deception says that we should live by our feelings not by faith. Deception says that prayer and studying God's word are not all that important. Deception says that life is all about the here and now and not about the hereafter. Deception says that God's love is conditional. Deception says that control is the answer. Deception will keep you isolated and prevent you from joining in Bible Study with other Christians.
None of us are immune to Satan and his deceptive ways, but I know One who is - Jesus. So it stands to reason that the more of Jesus I have, the more immune I will be to the lies of the devil and his deceptive practices. In John 14:6, Jesus makes this statement, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me." At least 81 times in the four gospel accounts of Jesus' life he says these words - "I TELL YOU THE TRUTH." Jesus and Satan stand in complete opposition to each other. One tells you the truth, the other lies. It is time to expose Satan for the liar that he is. Here is what Jesus has to say on this subject - "You belong to your father the devil and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me." (John 8:44-45)
Friends, we are living in the last days. Jesus warned us that in the last days deception would run rampant, and I believe that even God's own people walk in deception much more often than we think. In fact, another name I have given for the counterfeit armor is the default armor. Because of our sinful human nature, I believe that if we are not consciously and deliberately putting on God's armor then we are wearing counterfeit armor by default. We must evaluate our motives as well as our actions and see how they line up with the truth of God's Word. Anytime we allow ourselves to be decieved by our enemy then we are wearing his counterfeit armor. It is time to embrace truth and stop being deceived by lies. We must become so intimate with truth that anytime Satan tries to deceive us we will either run away from the lie like Joseph (Genesis 39) or refute the lie like Jesus (Matthew 4). Just saying the armor by rote is not enough. In Ephesians 6 we are told to put on the armor. The word "put" means to bind around onself, to enter, to sink, to go in or under. We must let the truth sink into the deepest places of our heart (see Psalms 51:6), then and only then will we be ready to combat the deception of the enemy. Trust me, Satan knows your weak point, that place where you can easily be deceived and he is just waiting to exploit it. Any place where you are not allowing truth to reign in you is a place ripe for taking by the enemy of your soul. Are you consciously putting on the belt of truth everyday or is it just part of the words that you say and when situations arise you evaluate what will serve you best and then act accordingly? I would encourage you to pinpoint one area of your life where you think the enemy might be trying to deceive you. Find Scripture that will give you truth about that struggle. Begin to meditate on those scriptures everyday. Write them down, let them begin to take root and keep a little journal of positive results you begin to see as you meditate on the truth. Finally, remember these words from our Savior, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) Put on the belt of truth daily, study the truth in the word of God, give the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of truth control in your life, and don't let yourself be deceived by the one who seeks to destroy you.