UNDERSTANDING THE HELMET OF SALVATION
Before we dig into the helmet of salvation, we need to understand the purpose of the armor of God. Every day you encounter temptations, trials, situations, and circumstances that test your faith in God. The good news is that God never asked you to face these battles alone.
In Ephesians 6:10-18, the “armor of God” is presented as one of the keys to victorious Christian living. There are six pieces of spiritual armor that we can wear to withstand and overcome the attacks of the enemy.
A Quick Look at the Armor of God
- Belt of Truth: The belt holds all of the pieces of armor in place. The truth of God’s Word serves as the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. Because the Bible is true and never changes, we can depend on what it says.
- Breastplate of Righteousness: The armored breastplate protects some of the most vital organs in your body, including the heart. In your walk with the Lord, being righteous, or living a God-honoring life, is only possible with God’s help.
You can only be righteous because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. That righteousness protects your heart from sin and helps you to live for God from the very core of your being.
- Shoes of the Gospel: The good news of Jesus and His gift of salvation is referred to as the “Gospel.” As believers, God’s Word directs your steps and leads you to live a holy life, as Jesus lived. We are commanded and compelled to share the Gospel everywhere we go. (Mark 16:15)
- Shield of Faith: In Roman times, a shield was used to deflect anything that was used to attack a soldier. It was held out in front of their bodies and protected them from whatever was intended to cause them harm.
Whenever a soldier dropped their shield, they became vulnerable to attacks. Strong faith in God can protect you from fear and doubt that can make you vulnerable to attacks from the enemy, the devil.
- Sword of the Spirit: A sharp sword can pierce just about any object. The Word of God is powerful and can cut through even to the hardest of hearts and keep the enemy at a distance.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the final piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 – The Helmet of Salvation.
What is the Helmet of Salvation?
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~ Ephesians 6:17
The function of a helmet is to protect the head and, more importantly, your brain from injury.
The human brain controls movement, the function of vital organs, and memory and speech. It also controls your thoughts. If your brain is damaged, it affects your entire body. Severe injury to your brain can impact your mobility, stop organ function or even lead to death.
Helmets are a priority for construction workers, cyclists, and athletes because they drastically decrease impact injuries to the head and brain.
In battle, a soldier would be at a severe disadvantage without a helmet. In Roman times, the enemy would first attack a soldier’s head. Because the brain controls decision making and reaction time, they could gain an advantage if they were able to injure the soldier’s head and cause them to enter a state of confusion.
The devil operates similarly in your life. If you are confused or feel unstable in your relationship with God, then you are more vulnerable to his attacks.
The Purpose of the Helmet of Salvation
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8
This verse reminds you to “be sober” or sensible in putting on your spiritual armor.
When you wear the helmet of salvation, you are making a conscious effort to ward off fear and doubt, by allowing God to protect your minds. You are putting your hope in the confidence you have gained from accepting Jesus as the Lord of your life.
No longer are you left utterly vulnerable to attacks. Instead, God provides all of the protection you need to feel secure in times of spiritual battle.
Believers and the Helmet of Salvation
The helmet of salvation is only available to believers. Why? Because someone who does not trust in the saving grace of Jesus, would not want God to protect them from anything. Unbelievers inadvertently, or purposefully, decide to face life’s battles on their own.
As a believer, you can have complete confidence in the eternal salvation you have received from the effects of sin and death.
It’s not dependent on what you do or say, but on God’s perfect grace. You might fail, but God never will. When you face tough situations, you can put your hope in God and be at peace in your mind.
It’s not uncommon for attacks from the devil to hit you at times when you should be at peace. If you lay down at night and your mind races with thoughts of worry and dismay, you need to rest in the fact that God is always with you. He can handle anything that comes your way.
If you are in the midst of celebration and joy, but suddenly feel scared and troubled, remind yourself that God is guarding your mind. In order for fear to affect you, it has to pass by God first. Allow yourself to rest in God’s infinite love for you.
Wearing the Helmet of Salvation
In the Book of Isaiah, we read about a time when the Lord Himself fought against His enemies to protect His people and gain victory.
He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. ~ Isaiah 59:17
God had given the Israelites numerous opportunities to turn from their sin and turn back to Him. But when asked, not one person offered to step forward for the Lord. So, God Himself stepped forward.
This scripture says God “put on” the pieces of armor, including the helmet of salvation.
There is a direct correlation between the armor of God you read about in Ephesians 6 and the armor mentioned here in Isaiah. When Paul refers to the whole armor of God, he is referring to God’s actual armor – it’s belongs to God. As a believer, you have permission to wear His armor.
This passage in Isaiah is also a reminder that God is not dependent on man. He always desires to work through the life of a believer, but if you don’t step up, then He will step in.
Protecting Your Mind from the Enemy
God knows every thought you have ever had or will ever have. Sometimes your thoughts lead you away from God, and other times they draw you closer to Him. It’s always your choice. No one, including the enemy, can make you think anything.
The helmet of salvation protects your mind from the attacks of the enemy and helps you live victoriously every day. The battle always begins in your mind before it becomes an action.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, we read,
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”
When you focus your mind and heart on holy things, you are putting them under the Lordship of Christ. As a follower of Jesus, your goal is to become more like Christ. Every action reflects whether you are modeling His character or following your own will. When you surrender your life to Christ, you allow Him to be in control instead of choosing your own ways.
The goal is to honor God in your mind, as well as in your actions. You can’t control whether or not you have an individual thought, but you can choose to quash it and keep it from moving into your heart. In that way, you are “taking every thought captive.” It’s the difference between being ruled by your thoughts, or causing them to submit to the Ruler of your life.
Examining the Motives of Your Thoughts
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.(Proverbs 23:7)
Every thought has value. As a human being, you are not smart enough to control your mind. You need the help of the Holy Spirit. He can provide the strength and power you need to run every thought through the filter of God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit can also reveal what is at the root of your thoughts.
Here are a few questions to help you determine whether your thoughts are affecting your walk with God in a positive or negative way.
- Are these thoughts godly? Are they influenced by the world?
- Do these thoughts lead me closer or further away from God?
- Does the surrender of these thoughts provide an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God?
As a follower of Jesus, you are called to live separate from worldly desires that pull you away from God. You should continuously be in the process of developing the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5)
In times of battle, the enemy doesn’t want to hurt a soldier; he wants to destroy them. The enemy of your heart wants you to doubt your salvation and tempt you to live in your own strength. Until you completely surrender your mind to God, you will continue to struggle in your thought life.
The Hope of Salvation
Romans 6:14 says,
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
A helmet only protects your head; that’s why it’s essential to put on the entire armor of God. Your mind is protected by the assurance that God’s grace has saved you.
No longer will you face God’s judgment for your sin, but instead, you will receive mercy because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.