Don’t Forget Your Helmet!
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17)
I hate wearing any kind of hats. I always think “my hair looks bad enough as it is, a hat will make it look worse!” Helmets are even worse! Plus they aren’t really comfortable, but when it comes to our safety and protection, we can’t toss it aside due to looks and comfort. In the winter a hat will keep you protected from the cold, frostbite and possible infections due to illness. Helmets protect your head and brain from injury. In battle, helmets have been used for centuries to protect the head of a soldier. Today we still use them in battle to protect against flying shrapnel and concussive shock waves from explosions.
In Ephesians 6, Paul gives a break down of the armor a Christian is to wear in spiritual battle noting the helmet of salvation. In Isaiah 59, Isaiah talks about the Lord coming to save the people wearing the helmet of salvation in vs. 17: “And a helmet of salvation on His head;” The enemy will always aim for the heart but must get there through the mind. If he can make us believe his lies, then he can destroy our heart. He works through our emotions and is good at deceiving us into believing his lies. He’s a master illusionist who can make something appear to be so real that we begin to believe it. And even if what we are seeing is actually happening, we must combat the negative thoughts and make sure the breastplate of righteousness is securely strapped on to protect the heart from destruction.
We know the objective of the enemy is to destroy our hearts, divide and conquer the body of Christ and take as many people away from God as possible. But what are the signs or symptoms we need to watch for? There are so many! Hate, pride, anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy, fear, depression, anxiety, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, idolatry, etc. If you notice, these are the exact opposite of the characteristics of God which is the fruit of the spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Anything that is opposite of what God says or does is coming from two areas…our flesh and from the enemy. We can’t overlook our part though. We are fleshly people. In battle, soldiers are trained to observe the enemy and watch their movements. In spiritual battle it’s the same. The enemy watches our movements, what affects us and what doesn’t, and then when they find our weakness, they will continue to pound in that area over and over to weaken us more. The enemy can’t work on anything that isn’t already there within us and must observe and tempt to see what affects us. He entices us to sin as he did with Eve. There was no sin in Eve until she was enticed in the garden. The enemy utilizes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. This is why we must learn to have self-control and utilize scripture when we are affected by something, surrendering it to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
If we leave it and do not face our issues, rest assured the enemy will attack that area over and over to weaken us and to try and destroy our hearts because he knows sin separates us from God.
We must be careful of poisonous thoughts about others which will bring unrighteous hearts and can lead us to do wrongful acts against others. It was a poisonous thought that went straight to the heart of Cain against his brother, Abel, due to jealousy and anger because God did not accept Cain‘s offering. God warned Cain of the following in Genesis 4:6-7:
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Due to Cain’s anger and jealousy which entered his mind and went to his heart, he led his brother out to the field and killed him (vs. 8).
We may not go so far as physically killing someone, but don’t we spiritually kill them by the way we speak or act? We do not realize how strong our words are when spoken aloud. If we can speak positively about someone or to someone and see positive results, why can’t we realize the same thing can happen when we speak negatively to someone and about them? Christ states in Matthew 5:44 the following:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
And in James 3:8-10 it states:
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
What does “curse” mean? The dictionary states one of the definitions of cursing as “the expression of a wish that misfortune, evil, doom, etc., befall a person, group, etc”. If we are told to declare out loud in prayer that our family member will be healed, and they are, what makes us think when we declare out loud that our son or daughter will never amount to anything that it won’t happen that way as well? If our words are strong when spoken positively, what makes us think our words aren’t strong when spoken negatively? This is why we must take every thought and concern and bring it to the Lord. We must take every negative thought and emotion and surrender it to Christ or it will go directly to our hearts and destroy us. When encountered with someone or a situation that causes you to feel angry, bitter, jealous, envious, etc, we must learn to recognize it and realize if we do not rule over it (as God told Cain to do) as soon as it occurs and we entertain it, it will eventually rule over us. It will be all we think about and soon it will become our idol, our god, because anything that we give more attention or thought too than God becomes our idol.
So how do we learn to recognize these things and combat them? Here are some tactics the enemy will use to get your mind away from God. Don’t forget, this is how he gets us to glorify him (because we won‘t do it willingly), by getting our minds away from God and godly things and getting us focused on ungodly things:
1. Out of the blue, negative thoughts come about someone or a situation causing you to become angry, hurt or sad when all has been going well in your day.
2. As you sit and read the bible or pray, your mind wanders to altercations you’ve had with other people causing you anger, jealousy, envy, etc. It could even be thoughts about addictions you struggle with.
3. On your way to church, which is a time to give glory and praise to God, you begin thinking negative thoughts about someone there or about a situation you are dealing with and by the time you get to church the joy you were experiencing has left and misery and anger has set in.
4. While at church you begin thinking about other things, not listening, to the nourishing word being fed by the Pastor to you which can help your situation. Or you begin thinking negative or even immoral thoughts during worship service.
5. You plan to sit down and read the bible and pray and the phone rings, the kids begin to fight, someone’s at the door and other distractions take you away from it.
There are more but these are just a few. We must learn to recognize how the enemy wants to remove our thoughts and focus from God to him through negative thoughts and emotions and combat them through recognizing them and stopping them as they occur and combating them with the Word of God with scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 10:5 (mentioned above) and some others:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
1 Corinthians 2:16
But we have the mind of Christ
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
When we learn to recognize the attacks of the enemy through temptations or negative thoughts, words and actions, then we can learn to combat them quickly before they settle in and reach our hearts. We serve a great and powerful God who is there to help us and won’t let us be tempted more than we can bear and who will give us a way out:
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Where is your weakness? If the enemy can recognize it, you must learn to recognize it, face it and take it before the Lord asking Him to heal you from it. Never take off your helmet of salvation. Ask the Lord to help you identify your weaknesses and provide you with the scripture to combat the negative thoughts when they come your way. Remember, these thoughts can even be about yourself. We must remember what Christ said about the devil and work hard and turning away from those lies and believing the truth of Christ’s words:
John 8:44 (when speaking to the Pharisees)
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
Lord, help me to identify the weaknesses in my life and surrender them to You so the enemy cannot use it to destroy my heart. Help me to remain close to you and strengthen me against the attacks on my mind. Strengthen my helmet of salvation and breastplate of righteousness that covers the mind and the heart and bring to mind the scriptures to combat these thoughts. Lord, I do not want an unrighteous heart and I repent of every negative thought, word and deed I have committed against You and others and humbly ask for forgiveness. As the tongue is untamable, I ask that you take control of me tongue and grant me self-control. I ask this all in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen.