I work out at the gym about three days a week. Every time I work out, I work on my abdominal muscles (also known as the core muscle group). Without strengthening the core, all other muscle work becomes futile in the long run. A strong core brings balance – will keep us from falling and give us good posture. Core strength brings stability and stamina. If the core isn’t strong, standing upright for any length of time is hard. Eventually gravity will pull the shoulders forward unless we counterbalance those muscles with strength training. Balance, stability and stamina are essential for longevity.
These elements of a healthy, physical body are also essential for a healthy, spiritual body. In the Armor of God study (by Priscilla Shirer), Priscilla writes about the first piece of armor being the belt of truth. It is the core of our strength to stand firm against the enemy. We are to “gird our loins” by strapping on the belt of truth. With this first piece of armor, it carries the weight of all the other pieces. The enemy’s first line of attack is always with deception. The truth will shine light on the enemy’s lies.
In the very beginning of time, Satan knows exactly what is being said in the Garden between God and Adam. When Eve was questioned, she responds in generalities. God said you will die if you eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden (my paraphrase of Genesis 3:3). However, Satan counters with specifics as God told Adam. You will not surely die; you will be like God knowing good and evil (my paraphrase and emphasis of Genesis 3:4-5). Satan plays us like a fine instrument. He has been studying us all our lives. He knows our hot buttons and those things that will draw us into his trap.
When we know the Truth, we will have the first defense to know when we are under attack. Satan asks those little questions that cause us to doubt what we heard. Then he gives us another choice that will entice us by playing with our insecurities or our desires. It will meet a need in us or involve our senses or feelings. Satan will personalize each attack. His desire is to destroy our relationships; our families; anything that has to do with God; anything to get us off track. Maybe the choice we have to make doesn’t seem so bad in the present time, but in the long run is it worth it?
Even Jesus had to endure the half-truths in the desert when He was weak and vulnerable to Satan’s attack. He had not eaten in forty days. He was tired and alone. And Satan came to Him whispering in His ear “if” this or that, then “do” this or that. But Jesus stood firm on the truth – “It is written.” Satan knows the truth as well and will twist it for his purpose. Priscilla said in the video portion for week two, “Satan can craftily make you think that God does not mean exactly what He says.” He speaks with half-truths and will deceive us to believe his lie. Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”
We can’t trust our feelings or even our senses. We have to know God’s truth. We have to have a source outside of ourselves in order to know the difference between what we’re sensing and/or feeling and what God desires for us. Our core strength keeps us stable in an unstable world. It gives us the stamina to endure the pressures of this world. We need core strength for balance to keep from falling for the temptations from our enemy. Priscilla said in her simulcast and in this second week video “feelings don’t have intellect.” We need something more than intellect and our own perspective. God’s truth shines the light on the enemy’s schemes and will expose the lies.
God’s Word is our life-source; it is the strength of our core being. Let us not only know God’s truth and how it pertains to our lives, but let us put these things into practice! Let the truth of God strengthen us to endure and withstand every wind and wave that Satan uses to throw us off-balance. The rest of the armor counts on the strength we have in the Truth.
So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul. Hebrews 3:12-14 (The Message)