SERIES -- Armor of God, Part One: The Helmet of Salvation
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6: 10-17, NIV)
To me, the armor of God was a cutesy Sunday school lesson. You know the one– complete with a coloring ditto, felt board lesson, and a foam craft. It was a practical analogy that was beaten to a dead horse when I was a child.
But don’t you love when God turns things on their head?
Recently, I was in a Bible study reading through Ephesians. In our final week of study, the armor of God came up as we read the last chapter. As we were discussing the passage, the Holy Spirit said to me, “You aren’t wearing and using your armor to its fullest potential because you don’t understand it.”
How could that be? I knew this lesson like the back of my hand: the armor was spiritual pieces to help us fight the enemy.
“It’s deeper than that,” the Holy Spirit challenged me, “Why would your belt be made of truth? How does making your salvation your helmet specifically help you to fight against the enemy?”
I brought these questions up at the Bible study and thus, the Holy Spirit began turning a rudimentary lesson I thought I knew backward and forwards into something far more mature than I originally marked it up to be. Over the coming weeks, I want to share what He’s been showing me, armor piece by armor piece, in the hopes that it will help you to better utilize and understand the amazing armor that God has given us to fight against the powers of darkness.
So why, specifically, is our helmet made from salvation? The answer is three-fold.
1. Salvation protects our heads, or more importantly, the minds inside them.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 2: 1-2, NIV)
First off, let’s get one very important distinction out of the way: Satan and God are not two equal rivals. Satan is not a negative God. He’s an angel that tried to make himself God’s equal, and as a result, he was cast out of Heaven.
Although he is not equal to God, he received dominion over the earth after Adam and Eve sinned. Ephesians 2: 1-2 names Satan the “ruler of the kingdom of the air.” While this is true, Satan’s main concern is not the general air, but more specifically, the airspace you occupy– the airspace around your mind. Satan is no idiot. He knows that if he can plant just one thought of doubt, low self-esteem, disappointment, or temptation, he can jam up our thought lives and keep us from seeking God. Satan can’t be omnipresent like God is, so he uses his thought-traps to keep us busy for years if left unattended.
But praise the Lord for our salvation– our first step in a relationship with Him. Once we accept Jesus into our hearts, we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and receive our helmet of salvation, which covers and protects our minds from attacks of the enemy. From the moment you take up your cross to follow Jesus, you are bought and paid for, and the enemy loses access to your mind so long as you maintain that salvation.
Does that mean we no longer struggle with temptations or dark thoughts? No, but it does mean that we now have the ability to designate something that’s not from God, especially when we know more of Him and His word. Suddenly, Satan can’t be so sneaky because Jesus’ light exposes him.
2. Salvation shows who we are fighting for and who we belong to.
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NLT)
According to studies on Roman armor, the feather plumes and designs in a soldier’s helmet clearly showed the nation the soldier fought for and his rank in that nation’s army. Just the same, our helmet of salvation shows the spirit realm, whose army we fight for and just where we are in the Lord’s army. It tells demons that we fight for Jesus and whether we are prayer warriors, worshipers, evangelists, new Christians, or seasoned veterans.
Our helmet gives us the identity we yearned to know before we knew the love of Christ. It shows angels and demons who God created us to be, and just how strong the Spirit man inside us is. It’s a spiritual warning shot to the kingdom of darkness that says, “Don’t mess with me, because the God I fight for is not having it today.”
3. Salvation is the lens through which we see the battlefield.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12: 1b-3, MSG)
Helmets don’t just keep things out, they also give us the opportunity to see beyond that barrier of protection. For a Roman soldier, the helmet had to protect his head, but it also had to give some pretty good visibility so that he could see the raging battlefield around him.
It’s the same way for us: Our salvation protects our minds, but also provides a unique opportunity to see our surroundings with spiritual eyes and clarity. Salvation, and the high price that afforded us that salvation, should be the lens through which we see our battleground, which is this world. Everything we charge into, everything we come against, and everything we attack or besiege should be seen through our salvation. If our salvation isn’t maintained, we won’t see things clearly through it.
Remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross and in the tomb gives us endurance and drive to push through those things that would try to crush us.
Today, I want to encourage you to take stock of your salvation. How do you regard it? Does it fall to the back burner more often than you care to admit? Do you maintain it by developing it and studying the Bible? Is it where you draw your identity from? Your salvation is precious and vital to your effectiveness on the battlefield of life. Don’t forget to put it on and take it with you.
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