When I was in second grade, my best friend and I thought it would be fun for her to try and flip me upside down through her legs while we were in gym class. I’m not sure what we were supposed to be doing at the time, but I’m confident the aerobatic feat we were set to accomplish had nothing to do with Mrs. Stater’s agenda.
It didn’t matter; there was no stopping us. With all the girly excitement two girls in pigtails can muster, I turned backward behind my friend, and we grabbed hands through our legs. One, two, three—she pulled as hard as she could, and smack! My head went straight into the gym floor.
I would tell you more, except I don’t remember much after that. I remember pain. I remember sitting in the school office waiting for my mom to pick me up, and I remember feeling my forehead, which felt misshapen. As I think about it now, there are multiple occasions when wearing a helmet would be perfectly appropriate, like biking, riding a motorcycle, or downhill skiing. I don’t think second-grade gym class is supposed to be on that list.
However, the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6 that the life we live in Christ absolutely needs to be on that list, stating in verse 17 that the fifth piece of our spiritual armor is the helmet of salvation.
The Real Battle Is in Our Mind
If Satan wants to get you down in a hurry, where do you think he’s going to strike? You got it, the three Ds—doubt, despair, and discouragement—all centered in the mind, making it imperative we wear a helmet. Not physically, of course, but spiritually we could all use a helmet of daily, intentional God-centered thinking.
More often than not, the battleground I find myself wading through is not outside of me but smack dab in the middle of my mind. If I’m down and out, it’s in my mind. If I’m focused and joyful, it’s a result of what’s in my mind. Anxious thoughts start in the mind, as well as trust-filled action. When I allow worry to have free reign in my head, it multiplies faster than a flu bug in an elementary classroom.
There is joy and peace when my thoughts are centered on Christ. There is also peace and assurance. When Jesus is at the forefront of my thoughts, I’m less likely to be persuaded by the enemy. But on the flip side, when I’m consumed with my goals and capabilities only (or lack thereof)—without any thought of Christ—then I might as well lay out the welcome mat for my spiritual enemy to waltz right in.
I’m not saying the devil or his cohorts can read minds. God alone knows our thoughts. But our spiritual enemy doesn’t need to read minds when body language and choices proceed from the mind. Our thoughts affect everything else we do. Romans 8:6-7 says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
So what does God do to help us? He graciously writes the law in our minds.
God Gives Us What We Need
The Lord says in Hebrews 8:10, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now that is a beautiful promise. In Christ, we have the opportunity to think and choose rightly because God puts what is good and right in our minds.
Listen, my friend, protection against our spiritual enemy is not just a matter of positive thinking; it’s a matter of God-centered thinking. It’s not just a matter of self-will but God’s will.
I can think positively until I’m blue in the face, but unless my thoughts center on Christ and His plan and purpose, my mind, and thus my heart and the actions that will follow are vulnerable to the enemy’s lies.
We’re more likely to despair over present circumstances when we allow the devil to distract us from who we are in Christ and the blessings we have through Him. But when we “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), the victory is ours.
It’s not flippantly that Paul calls this piece of armor the “helmet of salvation.” Protection over our minds begins and ends with the gospel—the fact that we’ve been redeemed and declared holy by grace through faith in Christ. Apart from salvation we’ve got no viable avenue to fight the devil, but with it we’ve got more than we need to declare victory in every circumstance.
The problem is instead of viewing our salvation as a present-day reality, we tend to view salvation as either a past event or a future one. But living every day in light of our salvation is what creates space in our minds for peace, hope, joy, and deliverance from all the crazy places our thoughts like to meander. And I don’t know about you, but my mind likes to wander.
It’s All Centered in the Work of Christ
Putting on my helmet of salvation every day means daily reminding myself of who I am in Christ. The many blessings we experience today are a direct result of what took place at Calvary.
In Christ, we’ve been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of light because of what took place then (Col. 1:13). We are filled with the Holy Spirit’s power, love, and self-control because of what Christ did then (2 Tim. 1:7). It’s these gospel truths that protect us from going astray. We can’t overthink it, nor can we overemphasize it—it all comes back to the gospel.
God hasn’t just saved us from going to hell. (Though if that’s all He did, it would be enough.) God has given us so much more, like the ability to live and think righteously. He’s also given us minute-by-minute access to the throne room of heaven and an adoption certificate.
Are we finding some good headspace yet?
Putting on our helmet of salvation means accepting the God-given assignment of daily renewing our mind with His promises and perspective (Romans 12:2). Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Why? Because it’s that important.
Take Every Thought Captive for Christ
Our thoughts make a difference. Those little rabbit trails of fear and frustration we let fester in our minds can be highly damaging. We must fight to think rightly about God and about ourselves.
Taking inventory of the things we’re watching, listening to, and accepting as truth is also a top priority. Are the images and words we allow our minds to feast on pleasing to God? If not, we probably shouldn’t give those things such premium headspace.
There’s a reason God tells us to set our minds on heavenly things instead of earthly things (Col. 3:2). Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.” Sister, you are a cherished child of God. One of the most proactive things you can do is meditate on all the blessings we have in Christ.
It’s true that helmets aren’t necessary for most of our daily activities, but a God-centered helmet of salvation is key for any follower of Christ. We may not be able to shield ourselves from every bad thing out there, but we can definitely protect our minds through purposeful scriptural reflection and persistent reminders of truth.
So don’t give into those less than worthy thoughts. Remember who you are in Christ, and let the helmet of salvation protect you.