Never underestimate the potential importance of wearing a belt.
I learned that lesson many years ago, while working at a college in Indiana, when I accompanied the university president and other school officials to the home of two elderly brothers who were donating big bucks to the school. My job was to snap some photos of the check presentation.
As we prepared to take the pictures, one of the brothers slowly arose from his chair and when he finally got upright, his pants fell down. I mean all the way down.
Not possessing lightning reflexes at the age of almost 100, there wasn't much the poor fellow could do quickly to help himself. I didn't know whether to rush to his aid, run out of the room, or snap a once-in-a-lifetime photo of the bizarre scene unfolding before me.
I was the only woman there and wanted to keep my job, so I figured my best option was to quickly turn around and stifle a nearly overwhelming urge to laugh.
As the men in our group helped the gentleman pull up his britches, I heard them observe that he'd forgotten to put on a belt that morning.
I've always had more than enough hips to hold up my pants, so I was used to thinking of belts as optional accessories, not functional necessities. But not after that day, with the memory of that unfortunate man in his tighty-whities forever imprinted on my brain.
Remembering to put on one's belt can, indeed, be vital, which is probably why the Apostle Paul listed it first among the pieces of spiritual "armor" Christians are instructed to put on.
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.... Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth." (Ephesians 6:11, 14)
A study of the armor worn by first-century Roman soldiers reveals that the belt Paul referred to was a wide leather "girdle" (think "tool belt") that held swords, daggers and other essential equipment, and served as an anchor for the body armor.
In the same way, truth holds everything in place in the life of a Christ-follower.
Of course, that begs the age-old question: "What is truth?" -- a relevant question in a culture where we're all encouraged to embrace our own "truth."
But I'm just irrelevant enough to believe that there's no such thing as "my truth" or "your truth" -- there's only THE truth, and THE truth is simply this: what God says.
What God says about who He is, who we are, and what life, this world, and heaven are all about -- that's truth. His promises, His rules, His boundaries, His ways, His wisdom, His take on everything.
If we don't cling tenaciously to the eternal truth of God, in spite of constant and intense pressure to believe anything and everything but that, we are doomed to live within the tiny, hopeless and dangerous confines of our own inadequate minds.
How tragic to limit truth to what we can see and understand, when we can see and understand so little.
I choose to believe that God is the definition and dispenser of all truth, and I'm committed to a lifelong quest to learn all I can about Him and to conform what I think, feel and do to His unchanging Word.
One of these days, we'll be called to account for what we did or didn't believe. If we don't put on the "belt of truth" and keep it securely buckled, on that day we'll find ourselves with our proverbial pants down... and being embarrassed will be the least of our problems.
"Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth." -- Psalm 86:11.
Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at email@example.com.