Finding Strength: Protect Your Head
February 21, 2021
I think we would all agree that what you put on your head is very important. When you are doing a dangerous job, or something where there could be a hazard of injury to your head, you want to be wearing the right gear. A hard hat or helmet is a very good idea. The reason why is because it only takes a split second for an injury to happen, and an injury to the head can drastically change your life. Having the right gear on is a must.
Just as wearing the right gear on your head will help save you and your brain from some potentially dangerous and life changing injuries, making sure you are wearing the proper gear spiritually will keep your spiritual mind safe.
I want to invite you to flip to Ephesians 6:17, where we will pick up today. And once again, a quick recap where we are at. We are in a series together (that will take us a few more weeks) about the fact that as followers of Jesus, we are engaged in a battle. It isn’t a physical battle against people. It isn’t a religious battle against those who we view as being against the Christian faith. 2 Cor 10:3-4 has a description of this battle. It is an internal spiritual battle. And this series is about us putting on the strength, the protection, and the armor of God so that we can face the challenges and battles of this life that seek to bring us down spiritually.
As we talk about this protection and armour, there are now five things that I think we need to remember that are crucial in our understanding of the battle and the armour we are told to wear.
1) The same grace that restores us to God through Jesus puts us into conflict with Satan. Our enemy does not like it that we are following Jesus and are in a restored relationship with God. So he will do whatever he can to stop us from having that closeness.
2) It is in the routine of life that we face the challenges from our enemy. It isn’t always some big, easy to spot attack. It is in the routine things where our guards are down and we aren’t expecting it.
3) You can’t get by on your own strength and being strong enough. We do not have it in us to be able to win this battle.
4) The Armor we are told to put on isn’t decorative, it is foundational. We need this armor to be able to properly live as a follower of Jesus and engage in the spiritual battle that comes as a result. The armor, because of who it belongs to, and because of who puts it on us, is a tool of victory.
5) We need to stand firm in what Christ has already done. The armour that we are being told to put on, the protection in the battle is possible because of what Christ has already done for us. Because of His love, His giving of Himself, His forgiveness, and the restoring of peace with God, we are able to have this protection and armour, and stand firm in it.
Are you wearing your helmet? Is your spiritual mind protected?
1) The helmet: The soldier’s protection and confidence
We have talked about many of the other important armour pieces, and how they all protected vital areas or did important things. Of equal importance was the helmet. The reason for this is because the helmet protected the head. The head is the control centre for the whole body. It is from the head that all your organs, limbs, and other body parts receive their marching orders. And when the head (specifically the brain) gets injured, your body might function dramatically different, or stop functioning all together.
The head was a vulnerable spot, and a soldier who left their head unprotected was a soldier who was asking to not return home. The helmet was needed for protection of the head and brain. It was generally made of bronze, like a bowl with padding on the inside that one wore on their head. And it covered enough to also protect the brow, cheeks, and neck. The helmet was strong enough that it would deflect much of the attacks that would come against it. The helmet brought protection.
As well, the helmet was traditionally the last piece of armour that they would put on after everything else was put on. And as a soldier went into battle, they could march in with confidence knowing that their head (which was vital) was fully protected from the attacks, as well as confident that they were fully dressed for battle.
2) The helmet: protecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions
Our spiritual mind needs protection too. What the brain is to the body, the mind is to the soul. The spiritual mind is the control center for our spiritual body. This is why it is so important to guard what we think.
What you think, you begin to feel. What you then feel, you decide to do. Thoughts lead to feelings, which then leads to action. And if you are thinking wrong, you will be feeling wrong, which then causes you to function wrong. And if you are not careful, out of functioning wrong, you drive yourself further into thinking wrong.
Let’s look at an example of how this works out:
a. The person who is on a diet, but decides they are hungry when driving by A&W. They are not hungry, but they start thinking they are as they drive by. And if they don’t check that thought as being false, they will begin to feel hungry. And if they don’t treat those feelings as just being a fickle thing, they will likely go in and buy the burger. They eat, and then feel bad afterwards. They may start thinking of themselves as a failure, then feeling like a failure, then act on it by not doing the diet anymore.
Remember how I said earlier that the enemy uses whatever tactic he can to stop us? This is one of those things, and it is very effective. If Satan can get us thinking wrong about ourselves, he is aware that unchecked thoughts lead to unchecked feelings, which then can lead to wrong choices. The mind is probably the most vulnerable spot because what happens in the mind can affect the rest of the body. Even this week as I was working on this message, this was a reality for me as Satan used something to put negative thoughts, thoughts of doubt, thoughts of inadequacy in my head. And very quickly I saw how those thoughts turned into feelings. And I had to bring those into check. And praise God, they did come into check.
This is why we need our helmet also. Our spiritual mind needs protection. And in it,
our feelings and actions also become protected.
3) The helmet: our confidence
Why does our helmet bring us confidence? It is because of what our helmet actually is. If you haven’t figured out by now, I am not talking today about a physical metal helmet. I am talking about what Eph 6:17 calls the helmet of salvation. It is the reality and assurance of what Jesus did for you by dying for you and taking on the cost of your sin and brokenness that you could not pay so that you could be made right with God, have your brokenness toward Him repaired, and live in a renewed relationship with Him. It is the assurance and reality of who we belong to that protects our spiritual minds from harm.
I like how 1 Thess 5:8 talks about the ‘helmet’. The future hope of salvation brings confidence. And when I say this, I am not saying that if you are saved now, you need to re-ask Jesus into your life again later. If you have done that, you have already received the gift of salvation. It is referring to the daily putting on of the hope of what you know will be coming in the future because of what you have already accepted by faith. The reason why your eternal position with God is called a helmet is because the hope of what you have through Christ undercuts every attack the enemy can bring into your mind. You see, if Satan can cause us to doubt our standing with God, we become vulnerable. The reality is that on a daily basis, our minds are bombarded with thoughts that challenge every notion of who God is, who He says we are, and what He has done for us.
But if we can guard our mind with the truth and assurance of what Jesus has done, it renders the enemy completely powerless. His attacks aimed for our minds hit and bounce off. It is only when we walk without guarding our minds that those attacks get through.
Are you wearing your helmet?
Sometimes keeping on our helmet is hard. We get distracted, we let our guards down, and the enemy causes thoughts to creep in. And I would suspect that even today, some of us are being taken captive by thoughts that we know aren’t right, things we know don’t come from God, and are not true. And we may have allowed them to take root in our minds, work their way into our souls, and come out in the way we live. Things like pressures of who we should or shouldn’t be, the heaviness of expectations, the need to overachieve, the lures of power and prestige, or the rawness of old emotional wounds and bitterness, the fallout of failures, etc…
So what are some ways that we can consciously keep our guard up and keep our helmets on?
a. Take every thought captive 2 Cor 10:5
Make use of the power you have through Christ to demolish and knock down those strongholds that come into your mind. Recognize the thoughts that are not from Him, call them for what they are, and ask God to take those thoughts from you and replace them with His truth.
b. Set your mind on things above – surrender your thoughts Col 3:2
Focus on eternity, the things of God, the things that truly matter. Don’t get bogged down in the nitty gritty of the daily grind here. Don’t focus on the small distractions. Focus on what it means to live as a follower of Christ.
c. Remember God’s character and proven faithfulness
God’s character and faithfulness do not change, even when everything else around us does. Focus on God’s unchanging character, and let that be a rock and anchor point for you.
d. Have your mind renewed and transformed Rom 12:2
Let Christ change the way you think. Let Him renew your mind and restore it from the brokenness of life and into a new pattern of healthiness.