Day 21: The Helmet of Salvation
A few years back while I was on a mountain biking trip, we came across a steep hill on the trail. It was distinctly (and justifiably) called, “The Man-eater." We gave one another plenty of space, each going down the trail one by one. I was last to go and had the brilliant idea of neglecting to use my brakes. In doing so, my bike quickly sped out of control and I fell… hard. I went over the handle bars, stopping myself with my right forearm as I impacted the rocky ground. I acquired a few minor road burns, but had I not been wearing my helmet I could have been seriously injured. Besides the cuts and bruises, I would have also been at risk for a concussion. My helmet protected an extremely vulnerable and important part of my body: my head.
Our minds are important - not only for healthy functioning, but also in our spiritual lives. By using intellect, we interpret what God's will is. This reveals the significance of the helmet of salvation - it protects our ability to have discernment.
Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2 (NIV)
So what is the will of God and how are we to use discernment to identify whether something is of Him? God's will on earth is to be glorified, which He is largely doing through the salvation of mankind:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. -Philippians 2:12 (NIV)
Salvation ought to be on our thoughts constantly. Why is this important? There are several reasons. It is not only that the enemy has been defeated or that we are saved. I'm not sure I even grasp all the importance of meditating on salvation. It anchors me to reality and stuns me with the audacious love and promises from God. It fulfills my deepest and truest desires - to be in paradise - the desire for paradise that pornography falsely promises to fulfill. We need to be reminded that the enemy has been soundly defeated at the cross. We are saved by grace and not by works. By remembering this, we become unstoppable in the battle for our hearts.
THE TRAP OF SELF-PITY
The moment we neglect the truth of salvation, and how it applies to all mankind, is the moment we fall into guilt and self-pity. It is not wrong to feel sorrow over past sins or for the ways in which we've screwed up. The issue comes when we feel so much pity for ourselves that we completely miss the gospel message. This is not an instantaneous trap. Rather - a slow demise where we become more and more lost. We ought to sorrow over our offense to God, not over how we are ashamed of ourselves, got caught or were humiliated. The former focuses on God, the latter focuses on ourselves.
Is grace a free pass to continue in sin? No! It is, however, a call to cast out the lies of the enemy, who wants to render us useless through guilt and shame. It’s easy to confuse Godly sorrow with worldly sorrow. Remember the lesson on this? Our focus must be on glorifying God. Often the focus is on ourselves, however, on what we perceive as our best day we are still in need of a savior.
Without the salvation that comes through Christ, we are nothing. With it, we are made whole and blameless before God. Neglecting to recognize this makes you and I extremely vulnerable to attack. Putting on the helmet of salvation means shutting out Satan’s lies and focusing in on God’s truth. Satan lies and promises salvation, i.e. the fleeting "fulfillment" of lustful desire. On the contrary, God's offers the provision of true salvation - the hope of eternity in Heaven, the love and grace of God, and the true intimacy we long for.
LIVING WITH THE REALITY OF SALVATION
So often our salvation is in question, but not by God (ironically the one who controls it)... by ourselves. How can we be assured of what the bible says about the nature of our eternal destiny? Here are some ways to remind yourself that you are indeed forever and always saved by the blood of Jesus Christ:
- Know Your Place
Your place is in Christ, who redeemed us through his sacrifice on the cross. This allows us to enter the battlefield against sin with no shame or guilt of past offenses. God has forgiven us through His son therefore we can move forward with boldness.
- Pray Daily for Forgiveness
Begin to make a daily habit of praying a prayer of confession over your past sins. This humbles us and is a daily reminder of the of the cross. Through the cross we are blameless, washed as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Remember also that in the LORD's prayer, he asked us to say, "forgive us our trespasses..." Why would Jesus have asked us to pray this on a regular basis if we were expected to live perfect lives once we accepted him? He understood that even those who walked closest to him (his disciples) will stumble at times. How much more so is that true for those of us who are believing by faith and not by sight?
- Pray Daily against Temptation
I remember struggling all day long with temptation and thinking “when will it stop?” Yet in all of that I had neglected prayer. We must pray as often as we think to do so. In doing this we’ll start developing habits of godliness. These good habits will begin to slowly replace the old habits of our sinful nature. This again reminds us of how frail we have been from the start. We've always needed Christ and always will.
Day 21 Application
Have you ever questioned your salvation in Christ? What led you to this place?
Why is it foolish for us to question our salvation when we have genuinely given our life to Christ?
What would it be like for you to offer every thought you have today as a prayer? What might God hear? How does that make you feel? Have you been in contact with your accountability partner such that you were asked tough questions about purity?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?