Some Things to Take With You Throughout the New Year
TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18
So far, in this series, we have looked at four pieces of the armor which God has supplied:
1. The belt of truth — the truth of God’s Word is the foundation to any successful spiritual warfare.
2. The breastplate of righteousness — we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and we must determine to live in obedience to God if we are to be victorious in spiritual warfare.
3. The shoes of the Gospel of peace — part of our job as Christians is to faithfully carry the message of the Gospel wherever we go.
4. The shield of faith — our faith in God and in His Word will enable us to deflect and extinguish Satan’s fiery darts.
Today, we are going to look at the fifth piece of armor — the helmet of salvation. The Bible says, “And take the helmet of salvation…”
First of all, notice the verb “take.” This word lets us know that putting on our armor is a conscious choice. It is something that we must choose to do every day. Just being saved does not mean that we are automatically fit for battle. Some Christians go out in the world every day unprepared for warfare, and they wonder why, by the time they get home, they are defeated, depressed, and discouraged. The thing is, they let Satan beat up on them all day because they failed to put on their armor.
So, along with our other pieces of armor, we must choose to put on the helmet of salvation. The Greek word for “take” is in the aorist imperative tense which carries with it a sense of urgency. We are to pick up and put on the helmet — and do it now!
In this verse, Paul is not talking about receiving salvation itself, for we have already received that. Rather, he is talking about the need for us to not allow the devil to destroy our assurance of salvation. Now, once you accept Christ, you are saved whether you feel like it or not. (Jesus Christ makes sure of that because it is about what He did on the cross, not about what you have done or are doing.) However, you will be more effective in your Christian life and in spiritual warfare if you are confident of your own salvation. Just as a soldier who doubts his ability to fight is timid in his approach to warfare, just like the football player who is worried about being hurt, does not play with abandon, and ends up getting hurt anyway, if you have doubts and worries about your salvation, you will be timid in your approach to spiritual life.
When Satan wants to target our assurance of salvation, where does he attack? He attacks the mind. This is why the helmet of salvation is a necessity. Steven Cole writes, “Your head is a very important part of your body, because it contains your brain, which controls everything. Your head determines how you think about all of life. How you think in large part determines how you feel and how you act….To put on the helmet of salvation requires that you learn to think biblically… You must develop a Christian mindset, a saved mindset. Your head determines how you function in all of life. If your brain is not working properly, it affects how other parts of your body work.”
Someone once said, “What you think means more than anything else in your life. More than what you earn, more than where you live, more than your social position, and more than what anyone else may think about you.”
As you face each day, how do you think about yourself? Do you see yourself as a child of God, who is no longer a slave to the devil and sin? Do you see yourself as a believer who has the power of the Holy Spirit to help resist temptation? Do you see yourself as a Christian who has already overcome the world through Jesus Christ? The condition of your mind — what you think about your salvation and what you think about the devil’s lies — will determine how victorious you are.
Another reason why putting on the helmet of salvation is important is because it gives us hope for the future by reminding us about the second coming of Jesus Christ. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” In this context, Paul is referring to the return of Jesus Christ as our blessed hope. Living in this sin-cursed world can be a cause of depression and discouragement for the believer. If we are not careful, we can become so entangled in the affairs of this world that we lose sight of the great hope for the future that we have in Jesus Christ. That is where the helmet of salvation comes in. In his book, The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him, Warren Wiersbe writes that the helmet of salvation is “referring to the hope the believer has in the return of Jesus Christ.” He says, “Satan often uses discouragement and hopelessness as weapons to oppose us. It is when we are discouraged that we are the most vulnerable. We will make foolish decisions and be susceptible to all kinds of temptations. When the mind is protected by ‘the blessed hope’ of the Lord’s return, Satan cannot use discouragement to attack and defeat us. Discouragement is a lethal weapon in the hands of the enemy. Moses and Elijah became so discouraged they asked God to kill them. The psalms record some of the occasions when David was ‘in the depths’ and could only hope in God.”
Dear friend, let me encourage you to put on the helmet of salvation every day. If you are discouraged, it will encourage you. If you are depressed, it will lift you up. If you are doubting your salvation, it will reassure you. If you are losing sight of God’s plan for the future, it will remind you that we have a blessed hope and a glorious appearing to look forward to. Keep your head up and your helmet on!
One of the techniques that Olympic competitors use to increase their chances of victory is visualization. Before their competition, they visualize themselves performing in the way they wish to perform. In their mind’s eye they picture themselves flawlessly running, swimming, skating, skiing, etc. They picture themselves outdistancing and outperforming their competition. They picture themselves stepping up to the platform and raising a medal in victory. Why is visualization effective? Because it steels the mind against thoughts of negativity, failure, and defeat. Those who go into the competition thinking that they will be victorious are far more likely to win than those who go in already thinking that they will be defeated.
Ladies and gentlemen, we already have the assurance of victory because “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.” Believe the Word of God, put on the helmet of salvation, and be victorious in spiritual warfare.