When I worked as a street cop, I wore a duty belt. On my duty belt, I carried a handgun, holster, extra ammunition, nightstick, pepper spray, handcuffs, and a radio. Today, even more gear is carried. An average police duty weighs anywhere between 15 to 25 pounds. You perform all your duties carrying all that weight no matter if you are at rest or in a foot pursuit.
To keep that belt in place requires something called a “keeper.” A keeper is a small strap of either leather or dense nylon fabric with snaps that go around both the duty belt and your pants belt to keep your duty belt and all its gear in place. Without those keepers, you could not rely on your duty belt remaining in place in times of intense physical activity. I wore 4 keepers on my belt and never had a problem with my gear shifting.
When Paul addressed spiritual conflict one of the items that he described was the belt of truth, “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14). The “putting on” part of the verse is interpreted as “to equip oneself with knowledge of the truth.” Like a cop in the middle of a life and death struggle, so it is with a believer. Conflict is no time to discover your duty belt (the belt of truth) has swiveled out of place. We need keepers to keep the truth in its proper place, as the definition of “putting on” states, “to equip oneself with the knowledge of the truth.” These spiritual keepers allow us to be equipped with the truth able to address any situation that might arise.
The truth is something we carry. All matters pertaining to truth can be held in place by a number of things like tradition, historic context, maintaining a teachable heart in times of confusion, or a willingness of the individual carrier to not violate original interpretation for the sake of the current theological fad. Without these keepers in place, our interpretation of the truth is subject to the whims of individual and group interpretation or reinterpretation.
When keepers are not in place, our understanding and our interpretation of truth will begin to wander and shift during the conflicts of life or when a spirit of compromise is at work. The tools we need to reach for will no longer be in their proper place and will have shifted in the conflict or during a season of compromise leaving us in a place of unnecessary jeopardy.