Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


Being Girded with Truth

Most of the items of the divine armor of God in Ephesians 6 are for protection. First, we must gird our loins with truth (v. 14a). Truth here does not refer to the doctrine of the word of God, because the word is related to the sword in verse 17. Truth refers to faithfulness, sincerity, and reality. When we practice the church life, we must be real. I must be real to you, and you must be real to me. There must be no falsehood and no pretense. If we have pretense and falsehood, we do not have truth among us; that is, we are not real. A Chinese proverb says, “To have a pretense is to stand on melting ice.” In the church life, everything we do and speak must be real. Otherwise, we should not do it or speak it. If we love a brother, we should love in reality. If we do not love, we should not love in pretense. To pretend to love without real love is false. This causes us to lose the ground to fight the battle because the evil spirits will attack our conscience. The evil spirits know where we are, what we are, and what is in our hearts. Therefore, we must be real, not only before God but also before the enemy. Then we will have the ground to fight the battle.

Verse 14 speaks of being girded with truth. To be girded is to be strengthened. If we do not have truth, but rather everything in the church is false, we lose our girding up, and we can never be strengthened. A soldier must be girded up in order to be strong to fight. If we do not have truth but are pretending and false, not speaking real things or doing real things, we are finished; we cannot fight the battle.

In order to maintain truth, sincerity, faithfulness, and reality among the saints, we must do everything in a real way. We must do nothing in a pretending way. We must hate pretense. I am sorry for the situation among many Christians today. Even some of the spiritual persons play politics. They may speak well to a brother, but an hour later they may speak evilly about him to someone else. This is politics. If we want to realize the church by the grace and mercy of God, we must speak truthfully and faithfully to the brothers. We may say to one, “Brother, in this matter I do not agree with you. I feel you are wrong.” However, we must say this in the spirit and not in the flesh. If we are not able to say it in the spirit, we should not say it at all, but we should not pretend. We should not tell a brother that nothing is wrong and then turn around and say something different to someone else. This is falsehood. It makes the church false and not real. Then the church loses the ground to fight the battle.

We are defeated already if we speak lies to one another. If you pretend to love me, and I pretend to be nice to you, we have already been defeated by the enemy. How then can we fight the battle? We must be sincere to the saints. If we realize that a brother is unable to receive a word from us at the present time, or if we do not feel that we are fully in the spirit, we should not say anything. Do not play politics; do not be political among the Lord’s children. Of course, we should not lose our temper. We should not be angry with people, but we should be genuine.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

We also need the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14b). We must be righteous; we cannot be unrighteous. If we lose our righteousness, we lose the ground to fight the spiritual battle. If we lie to one another, for example, there is falsehood and unrighteousness among us. Righteousness must be maintained among the saints in the church. Otherwise, the enemy will take the unrighteousness in the church as the weak point to attack. This is why we must deal with all unrighteous things in order to maintain the righteousness in the church. If we do not have righteousness, we do not have protection for our breast. This has much to do with the conscience. We need righteousness as a breastplate to protect our conscience. If we do not have righteousness as a covering, there will be attacks on our conscience.

Being Shod with the Gospel of Peace

Verse 15 speaks of having our feet shod with the firm foundation of the gospel of peace. Here the gospel is likened to a pair of shoes. When we walk, we touch the earth, and there are many things that can make our feet dirty or hurt them. Therefore, we need a pair of good shoes to protect our feet from being dirtied and hurt by the touch with the earth. What are the Christian’s shoes? The Christian’s shoes are the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is a good pair of shoes to protect our Christian “feet” from being dirtied and hurt by the earthly touch. Therefore, we need to preach the gospel. Wherever we go, we should tell people that we are Christians and that they must believe into Christ Jesus as the Lord. If we do this, we will be protected. We must have some outreach through gospel preaching. This is a protection to us.

(Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)