Discouragement. Anxiety. Fear. Doubt. Insecurity. What do they all have in common? They all plague the mind. In the last post, "Armed for Battle: The Shield of Faith," we talked about the battlefield of the mind. The enemy's goal is always to conquer the mind because he knows it is the key to complete victory over the soul. One key way that he attacks us is through insecurity. Recently, I went through a time of being insecure. Not about my physical appearance (been there, done that). Not about my friendships. Not about my job (at least not this time). I was insecure about something that I should be most secure about: my salvation. It was only when I finally brought it to the Lord, that he gave me peace by reminding me to put on the helmet of salvation.
Helmets are used to protect the head, specifically the brain, from injury. They are very integral in many professions and incredibly so for a soldier. Whether on the battlefield of yore or of today, the importance of the helmet is profound. According to a paper published by the Journal of Military and Veteran's Health, "The primary role of the combat helmet is to protect the soldier’s head against injury. In modern warfare there are a variety of threats to a soldier’s head which include: gunshot wounds; blunt force trauma such as in hand to hand combat, motor vehicle accidents, aircraft crashes and parachute jumps; and finally, blast impact." Yes, a helmet doesn't always guarantee immunity from injury, but it greatly diminishes the possibility. We all know how dangerous head injuries can be. They can lead to disability and permanent impairment or even worse, death. Clearly, a helmet is of utmost importance to anyone engaging in any activity that may lead to head injury, but how does this relate to us? How are salvation and a helmet connected?
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! /O what a foretaste of glory divine! /Heir of salvation, purchase of God, /born of his Spirit, washed in his blood."
As I thought about the helmet of salvation, the first thing that popped into my head was the hymn by Fanny J Crosby, "Blessed Assurance." This immensely popular and well-known hymn begins,"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! /O what a foretaste of glory divine! /Heir of salvation, purchase of God, /born of his Spirit, washed in his blood." I believe these word perfectly capture the beauty and wonder of salvation, and the peace and joy we obtain from the "blessed assurance" that Jesus is ours. It is this blessed assurance that the enemy wants to steal. When we don't have confidence that we are truly saved and that we belong to God, we become plagued with anxiety, uncertainty, fear and of course, insecurity. This attack is not only targeted at new believers; all believers can fall prey. That is why the helmet of salvation is so important.
We live in a society, in a world where our worth is often judged by our appearance, our possessions, our success or lack thereof, and of course our works. We look at someone who gives to charity or who spends time helping others and label them good. In God's economy, works mean nothing. Nothing we can do or say, have done or have said, will do or will say, will ever be able to qualify us for heaven. The only thing that can do that is believing in Jesus and accepting his free gift of salvation.
The key word of course is free. The problem with free is that we don't know how to act when we get something priceless for free. We figure that there must be some kind of catch and we are distrustful. Of course God expects us to "work out our salvation," but we must accept that salvation is something that we could never "work" enough for. So what am I saying? The helmet of salvation is necessary because we are human and we mess up. We make mistakes, and we have flaws. This is where the egregiousness of the enemy comes into play. He tempt us and walks hand in hand with us to the sin. Encourages us while we're engaging in it, and as soon as we've fallen, he immediately turns on us. In my case, I was not spending as much time with God as I believed I should. I would be tired after work and studying the bible required too much concentration and focus, so I would tune into youtube or netflix instead where I could mindlessly waste a few hours. Of course, the same demon that talked me into shirking my time with God also began to plague me with guilt and insecurity. Yes, we definitely should spend time with the Lord and bible study is an absolute necessity. However, when we become overwhelmed with guilt, it builds a wall between us and the Lord. The enemy doesn't make us guilty so that we can go and repent. He does it to drive us away from God. Remember, that Adam and Eve hid themselves from God in the garden after they had disobeyed him and eaten of the fruit.
My insecurity was feeling that I had to be a perfect Christian and that somehow was tied up with my salvation. I didn't realize that that was the issue until that night when I poured my heart out to the Lord. I just knew that I felt a terrible burden and a lack of peace. This was affecting my prayer time, and I just felt as if I was constantly letting God down and that I would lose my salvation. It was the Lord who finally had to open my eyes to what was really going on and use the truth to set me free. He told me that I needed to put on the helmet of salvation. The enemy was using doubt and fear to bind me up as I worried about losing my relationship with God . He showed me how because of my guilt about not spending time with Him, I wasn't able to really get into His presence like before. Then He said that Jesus' blood covers every sin, mistake, flaw, imperfection, and weakness of the flesh that has ever and will ever exist. He said that when I accepted Christ, I became a part of His family and He will never let anyone or anything (even me), pluck me from His hand. He told me that His love is unconditional and everlasting. He reminded me that His grace is abundant and that his mercy is abounding.
Be encouraged today. We serve a beautiful, awesome, powerful, forgiving and faithful God. We serve a God who loves us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to suffer and die for our sins. If you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead then you are saved. Salvation is yours. Dwell in that blessed assurance. Jesus is INDEED YOURS! Don't let the enemy steal your joy or your peace. If you have sinned, confess it and ask God for forgiveness. Then go and sin no more, equipped with the helmet of salvation and the knowledge that God will never leave you or forsake you.