The Helmet of Salvation

 

Paul and the Armor of God

 

Under house arrest and chained to a roman soldier, Paul contemplated the spiritual warfare raging in the world.   How could he teach Christians to be prepared for their spiritual battles to come?  Mulling this over in his mind, he glanced at the soldier bound to him by a long, light chain sitting against the far wall.  He took in his armor, his helmet, his breastplate, his sword, heavy roman sandals and his shield against the wall.  The man was dressed for battle in the middle of Rome, the capital of the world!  Even in the largest, most protected city in the world the man was prepared for war because he was a soldier of Rome.  That’s when the Holy Spirit whispered, "Isaiah 59:15"

And the Lord saw it, and  it displeased him That there was no judgment. 16 And he saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor: Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; And his righteousness, it sustained him7 For he put on righteousness as a breastplateAnd an helmet of salvation upon his head; And he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,

And was clad with zeal as a cloke.

 

Filled with inspiration, Paul began to define the armor of God.

 

The Helmet of Salvation

Paul began his introduction into the armor of God with the belt of truth.  However, I would like to begin my description of the armor of God with the helmet of salvation.  Why?  Why change the order that Paul listed the pieces of armor?  For the simple reason that I believe salvation is the key and the first step in obtaining the right to wear the armor of God! 

Why?  Because without Salvation there is no armor!

  • Salvation is the reason you need and want the armor of God.
  • Salvation is the conduit of God’s power, the strength of a Christians armor.

What is salvation?

Salvation refers to the act of God's grace in delivering His people from the bondage to sin and condemnation, transferring them to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col. 1:13), and giving them eternal life (Romans 6:23)—all on the basis of what Christ accomplished in his atoning sacrifice. The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

Salvation is being convicted by the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ died on the cross for forgiveness of your sins, was resurrected on the third day and ascended to Heaven sit at the right hand of God.  And, that you have accepted Him as Savior and Lord!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressionsit is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10: 9-10

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

John 14:6

 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Salvation does not mean believing in Jesus simply as a good concept or, “Hey that’s a good idea, I think I’ll pray the sinners prayer to get my fire insurance to keep me out of hell.”  James stated, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19

The blood of Christ

Jesus paid the price for our salvation through his blood and death on the cross.

 

Matthew 26:28

For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:14

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 John 1:7-9

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

 

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:2

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

 Colossians 1:20

And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

 

Revelation 7:14

…. “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

There are at least three keys to understanding the Helmet of Salvation and how it plays a critical part in the armor of God.

 

key #1 Absolute conviction Salvation

For Christian armor to be effective, you must believe absolutely that you are saved by grace though faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross!  That Jesus paid the price for our salvation.  That it is His Blood that has cleansed you for the forgiveness of sin.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrownot even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-38

Paul emphatically states, "I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  And Paul should know!  Let's take a look at Paul's resume of endurance

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27

This is the man who wrote, "I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love!"  Because Paul had been there, done that and walked through every kind of torment the devil could throw at him.  And Paul soldiered on, continuing to preach and teach the gospel of Christ in spite of intense persecution!  He was beaten with whips and rods and stoned with rocks.  Each of these punishments were capable of crippling a man.  The lash and rods ripped, tore and shifted muscles and vertebrae in the back, shoulders, buttocks and legs, often causing people who received such punishment to walk bow legged and stooped over.   

Paul received the thirty nine stripes five times and was beaten with rods three times.  And, tradition does states that he walked with a stoop and was bow legged exactly like a man severely beaten with rods or whips.  Paul was a man who had experienced spiritual warfare to the extreme!  He carried in his body the scars and torn muscles to prove it. Why?  He was punished for his belief in Christ!   Yet, Paul confidently wrote, "I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love."

How did the apostle Paul endure all this punishment and more and keep on preaching the gospel of Christ? 

Because Paul was absolutely convicted of his salvation through Christ who died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day.  In fact, Paul considered himself to be a bondservant of Christ

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,

Romans 1:1-5

What the Bible says of a bond servant.

"Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. "If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.

"If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. "But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,' "then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever."

(Exodus 21:1-6)

The description of a Biblical bondservant is an individual who chose to serve his master till death.  

 

Jesus as Lord

Paul learned from Jesus all he would suffer for Christ's sake!  And Paul humbly accepted his commission from Christ and from that moment dedicated himself as a bond servant of Christ.  Paul bowed his knee and accepted Jesus as Lord.

Look up the definition for lord. "Lord" is traditionally a term for a person or deity who has authority, control or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.

"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him, and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good please for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on the earth of things in heaven Colossians 1:16-20 --."

 

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place    and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,   to the glory of God the Father Philippians 2:9-11  New International Version (NIV)."

The Greek word "kurios", which is translated to "Lord",  and which meant master, possessor, supreme authority, king or owner.   What's interesting is the New Testament uses the term LORD over 600 times to declare Jesus as Lord.  While, on the other hand, the New Testament refers to  Jesus as Savior only 25 times.  The apostles understood the concept of Lordship.  They addressed Jesus as Lord and Savior. In their culture, they knew and understood that to refer to someone as their Lord, meant that the Lord was their master, or owner, or supreme authority and that their only function was to serve their Lord.

Lordship:  Receiving Christ involves a turning in the heart from sin and, as a part of faith, a submissive commitment to obey Jesus Christ as Lord. It also maintains that progressive sanctification and perseverance must necessarily follow conversion. Those who hold to the doctrine of perseverance of the saints see this not only as a requirement, but an assured certainty according to the sustaining grace of Christ.

The doctrine of lordship has implications for evangelism, assurance, and the pursuit of holiness. The grace of God in salvation not only forgives, but transforms, and a lack of obedience or transformation in a person's life is warrant to doubt that they have been born again. The grounds for assurance include not only the objective promises of God (like John 3:16), but also the internal testimony of the Spirit (Romans 8:16) and the holiness the Spirit produces in our lives (1 John 2:3-4,19).

  • Have you bowed your knee to Him and submitted your life to Him as Lord, or Master and Supreme Ruler of your life?
  • Do you acknowledge Him as the CREATOR of all things?

ROMANS 10:9--"That is you confess with your mouth JESUS AS LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved ".

key #2 Salvation as an anchor

With all the suffering Paul endured, severe beatings, foul prisons and more he could easily have become discouraged.  Yet, Paul had an anchor point to his salvation.  When times got rough and his body ached with pain and misery, Paul could visualize meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He could visualize his commission from Jesus Himself and renew his hope and faith.

Do you have an anchor point for your salvation? 

One of the enemy’s greatest weapons against Christians is "doubt. and discouragement"  What I mean by anchor point is, "What helps you stay the course as a Christian when you have doubts?"  For myself I have several.

  • Christian History: As a history buff I have researched the early years of Christianity.  According to human standards, Christianity should have never survived the first five years if it were a man made religion!  The apostles and early church had no wealth, no sponsors, no organization, nothing which would have given them an advantage to grow, and they were persecuted almost from the start.  Even more Christianity defied logic.  For example, history shows that the more Christians were persecuted the faster the church grew.  In fact, the early church had a saying, "The blood of the saints is the seed of the church." Would people die for a lie?  I don't think so.  Eleven of the apostles died gruesome deaths refusing to recant their beliefs in Christ.  This became my number one anchor for when the deceiver try's to plant seeds of doubt in my mind.
  •  My second anchor is the Fishing spider:  Once when I was going through a very difficult time in my Christian life, I was feeling defeated and depressed.   My whole world seemed dark and gloomy and my soul felt completely drained and exhausted.  I remember thinking to myself, "Is there really a God and am I doing all this for nothing"  Now I love the history and nature channels so I turned on the television to see what was on.  Flipping through the channels, I came across an interesting documentary.  The nature channel was showing an episode on "Fishing Spiders"  I sat in amazement and watched a spider first spin out a glob of web then extend it down to the water on a single thread like a fishing line.  Then I watched in stunned amazement as the spider bobbed the glob of web like a lure on the surface of the water.  Suddenly, a minnow raced to the surface and snagged the bait.  The spider rapidly hauled the fish up like a fisherman reeling in a fish.  In a flash, the spider grabbed the fish, wrapped its legs around it and began to eat it.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Then the commentator said the strangest thing.  He said, "Nature has evolved this spider species to fish." Again, I had to laugh because I am definitely not a believer in the theory of evolution!    I thought to myself, how could a spider "evolve" to learn to fish?  Does a spider mom or dad train their baby spiders to fish?  Do they teach them how to spin a fishing line and lure?  Do they teach them to bob the bait on the water?  No!  Each generation is hard wired to instantly know how to fish without training.  I thought, "That spider can fish because Goddesigned that spider to fish!  Instantly, the darkness fled from my mind and my spirit was renewed.

Now when I fell myself getting down, I remember the fishing spider.

 

  • The miraculous events in my own life.  There have been so many miracles in my life it would take a book by itself to list them. But when I get blue or depressed I think back on all God has done in my life.

Can you think of any miracles that have happened in your life or witnessed or known of happening in someone else's life that you can use as an anchor?  There will be times in your life when the devil whispers in your ear, "God has forgotten all about you!"  That’s when its time to go back and remember all that God has done in your life!

Key #3 Salvation protects the Head

Your head is the most important and very delicate part of your body. It houses your:

  •  Eyes, with which you see
  • Ears, with which you hear
  • Nose, with which you smell
  • Mouth, with which you taste, eat and speak
  • Brain, with which you think, analyze, plan and make decisions, controls all your muscles, allows you to learn, analyze and make decisions and it determines your personality and more.

 

Nowadays, you can replace a lot of things in the body through transplantation.  For example,the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, intestine, and thymus. Tissues, bones, tendons (both referred to as musculoskeletal grafts), eyes, corneas, skin, heart valves, nerves and veins can all be harvested and transplanted.  But there is still no such thing as a head/brain transplant.  Why? Because at the present time it’s impossible to link the millions of nerves properly and in the correct sequence to the spinal cord or other nerves. So, no head, no body.  Why? Because without the head your dead.  

Think about this.  Your brain is a stimulus response super computer that is hardwired to your body.  Simplified, that means your brain is tuned to your body and stimulated by what you see, smell, hear, taste and touch.  Which makes it Satan's first line of attack. Remember that little song:

  • Careful little eyes what you see
  • Careful little ears what you hear
  • Careful little hands what you do
  • Careful little feet where you go
  • Careful little mouth what you say

 

Simple maybe, but think about it. It’s amazing how much information the brain absorbs every second from your senses.  It then filters out what it needs and stores what it has to remember.  You may forget a memory but it’s still there lurking among your neurons waiting to be brought out.  A familiar sight, smell, sound or touch can bring a long buried memory rapidly back to the surface.  It’s also interesting how the brain processes information.  Some sights, sounds, smells, and sounds stimulate pleasure, fear, sympathy, rage or hunger which in turn causes your body to respond in a specific way.  For example, if you see or hear something that scares the living daylights out of you your body instantly reacts.  Your heart starts wildly pounding, pumping adrenaline rapidly throughout your body, Chills run up and down your body, your muscles tense preparing you for action.  In a fraction of a second your body has been instantaneously put on hyper alert waiting for your decision, "Fight or flight." That’s stimulus response.

Satan and his demons are masters of stimulus response.  They study their victims searching to find a weakness, a desire that can be stimulated to result in sin.  Then they organize their attacks placing temptation in your path, whispering in your ear, enticing your senses, stimulating your craving.   Remember James description of the process of sin. “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

 

Let’s take a closer look at the sin process

  1. Each person is tempted. James also used the word δελεάζω  (deleázō bait") –  which means to  bait a hook or set a trap with bait; (figuratively) entice a victim into a moral trap, luring them in through their own selfish impulses.  Like a fisherman using a fishing lure designed to catch a fish.  Only in this case the lures are designed to hook people.
  2. Own evil desire: First, there has to be a desire/hunger within the individual to begin with.  The Greek word here is ἐπιθυμία • (epithumía) yearning, longing, desire, craving; especiallyfor what is forbidden,  a yearning, contrary to God's will and laws.

These desires span the whole of human experience:

  1. Sexual - which covers a multitude of temptations
  2. Financial
  3. Physical, food, clothing, drinking, drugs, houses
  4. Coveting

Only “You” know your secret desires that are outside the will of God.  God's laws and commandments are for your protection, not to deny you pleasure!  Remember it was God who invented pleasure in the first place!  Does deny you pleasure just to be mean?  No! God knows the consequences of acting on pleasure outside His guidelines.  Think of the consequences and price of sinful desires.  For example:

  • Adultery - tears apart relationships and families
  • Alcohol/Drug abuse - destroys bodies, lives, families, careers

Satan always tempts with the pleasure’s he knows is destructive to your life.  His temptations always come with a cost.

  1. 3.      Temptation - Let’s say it’s something you can see:  As a Christian you're convicted, "Hey now that’s not right!" But it triggers a pleasant stimulus, a quick little thrill that flashes through your body.  Your heart skips a beat.  Your mind goes hmmmmm that felt good, and releases all those wonderful little feel good chemicals that stimulate all the parts of your body. 
  2. You look again: Your heart beats a little faster and your body begins to tingle. 
  3. So you look a little more:  Satan whispers, “Go ahead, it feels Sooooo Gooooood!  Feel the pleasure coursing through your body?”

Has it become sin yet? That is a point of debate in the churches concerning what point sin begins.  According to James, it seems it's not yet sin at this point.  However, you have set yourself up for enticement.  Remember the fishing lure.  Lures always look alluring and tantalizing to their intended victims.  The important thing is to remember is that lures always come with hooks!  Satan and his demon hordes know how to manipulate and throw out the lures they know will entice you because they have studied you.

  1. Your mind begins to build mental fantasies around your desire, stoking and building a fire of longing and hunger.   
  2. The more you look, the more you become stimulated and excited until your desire blossoms into full blown lust and your body becomes more and more stimulated.  Your heart begins to race and your palms become sweaty, little chills of excitement race up and down your body.  That’s when you start to rationalize, “Nobody will know! I won’t become addicted, I won’t get pregnant, it can never happen to me!” 
  3. Choice - when you decide to act on that desire, Then, “… after desire has been conceived it gives birth to sin (James 1:14). ”  So you act on your desires.  I wonder how many countless millions have regretted those spontaneous decisions asking themselves later, “What was I thinking?

Even if you don't act on your desire, the thought was planted in your mind, waiting to be stimulated again.  Each time it's stimulated, you are edged closer and closer to acting on your desire. 

 

So how do you learn to protect your head?

First, know and learn the sin process, study some of the great leaders in the Bible who gave into sin.  For example:

  • Sampson and Delilah  Judges 16
  • David and Bathsheba 2 Samuel  11
  • Elijah's servant 2 Kings 5:19-26
  • Coveting; Joshua 7
  • Ananias and Sapphira  Acts 5

 

  1. Notice how sin was presented for each person and circumstance. 
  2. How did they act and what happened as a result? 
  3. What could they have done to protect themselves?
  4. Study their choices and the consequences of their choices. 

For example let’s take a quick at Sampson and Delilah and David and Bathsheba:

Sampson and Delilah (Judges 15 and 16)

Sampson had a weakness for women and though he was a judge of Israel he was terrible at choosing women.  In fact, Sampson had a distinct knack for choosing the wrong women.  Delilah was the perfect example.  She must have been everything that makes a young man’s heart beat faster, pretty eyes, pretty face, pretty hair and curves to make a man’s eyes jump out of his eye sockets and dance. The rulers of the Philistines noticed Sampson’s extreme interest in Delilah.  They approached Delilah with a proposition; trap Sampson and each of them would pay her 1,100 pieces of silver, a fortune in those days.

Delilah’s decision showed her moral character.  Four times she used her womanly wiles and  seductively whispered to Sampson, “What makes you so strong? And, how you can be overpowered and captured?”  Now I don’t know about you but I think I would take that as a red flag of danger.  But, Sampson was either arrogant, ignorant or thought nothing could ever happen to him.  Sound familiar?

 

Not once, but four times Sampson had a choice to make.  1. Run as fast and far as possible from Delilah, 2. Mislead her (which he did three times) 3. Tell her the truth. You would think Sampson would have learned from the first three times Delilah tried to trap him.  But not Sampson!  The Bible says Delilah nagged and nagged and nagged Sampson until he was sick to death of it and he blurted out his secret, ““My hair has never been cut, for I have been dedicated to God from the time I was conceived. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be just like all other men.”

Sampson made a bad choice.  His price?  His hair was sheared off (losing his strength),  his eyes were gouged out and then he was forced to push a heavy grinding stone like a donkey.  He did obtain revenge by literally bringing the house down on thousands of Philistines and their leaders. He paid a high price his own life.

 

David and Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11

King David: The Bible says that in his youth, King David was a man after God’s own heart.  Yet, one night David fell for Satan’s Lure.  That fateful night, David walked out onto his luxurious rooftop/patio and to his surprise saw a beautiful woman taking a moonlight bath in all her glory on a roof top below.  His eyes must have nearly popped out of his head. David was instantly stimulated and enticed.  At that point David had a choice.  He could have turned and walked back into his palace and entertained one of his eight wives or many concubines and avoided a life time of extreme family problems.  Or, he could continue to stare down and let his lust grow to the point of committing adultery.  What did David do? He sent one of his aides to inquire who this beautiful woman was.  The aide reported back that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah, the Hittite.  Uh oh, she’s a married woman.  Not only was she married, but she was married to one of David’ mighty men..   Uriah was one of the thirty seven elite heroes of David’s army, a warrior of renown and accomplishments and completely dedication to his king.  And to top it off, Uriah was in the field fighting for David in a war against the Ammonites.

Bathsheba:  Bathsheba also had a choice.  Certainly she knew that she could be seen bathing on her roof top and taken precautions to screen herself from scrutiny.  Or, was her moonlight bath a conscious choice, aimed at enticing a king?

Knowing Bathsheba was married to one of his champions, David made a series of bad choices. He went ahead and summoned Bathsheba to the palace with lust on his mind.  Did Bathsheba protest?  The bible doesn’t say.  What the Bible does say is that Bathsheba became pregnant.  Now the two adulterers’ were in a pickle. 

Then David made another bad decision, he recalled Bathsheba’s husband Uriah back from the war.  His plan? Get Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife so Bathsheba could claim the child as Uriah’s.  David even sent a gift to Uriah.   However, brave, loyal Uriah refused to go home to the comforts of his wife while the army was at war.  Instead, he slept in the servants quarters in the palace so that he could be close to his King if he was needed.  The next day David, when Uriah refused to go home, David got him drunk and tried to send him home again.  Again, loyal Uriah slept in the servant’s quarters. 

David was desperate.  Uriah would not go home to his wife.  So, David made the worst of his decisions.  David sent sealed Uriah back to war with a sealed message.  David’s message, “Put Uriah on the front lines in the most intensive part of the battle."   And, just as David had planned Uriah was killed in action. When Bathsheba ended her period of mourning, David married her.

David and Bathsheba both made bad choices and both suffered the consequences. 

1st The baby died.

2nd David suffered discord within own his family for the rest of his life.   Through Nathan the prophet God commanded, “Now, therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own wife.’  This is what the Lord says, “I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family:  I will take your wives and give them to another before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them publically.  You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.” 2 Samuel 12:1-19”

  • Tamar, David’s daughter, was raped by her half brother Amnon, David’s first born son (2 Samuel 13).  David did nothing
  • Absalom, Tamar’s brother, murdered Amnon his half brother for raping his sister (2 Samuel 13:21-29)
  • David finally pardoned Absalom but never forgave him.
  • Absalom rebelled against David and raped David’s concubines (2 Samuel 16:20-22) then, drove his father out of his own kingdom.
  • Absalom was defeated and killed. ( 2 Samuel 18:9-15)
  • David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die.  However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.”

Here is an interesting point. David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die.  However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.”

 God can and does forgive sins in His followers.  However, He also makes them to suffer the consequences of their actions. 

The Bible is a fascinating book.  It offers biographies and examples of great leaders in the Bible illustrating their tremendous accomplishments and their mistakes and sins.  Study the lives of men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Gideon and many more.  Learn from them and their mistakes.

 

Study yourself 

Second comes the hard part, studying yourself.   Why? Because, unless you plan on joining a monastery and separating yourself from the world, you will have to learn to deal with sin and temptation.

  1. What is your weakness in regard to sin?  And yes we all have them.  Be honest with yourself!
  2. What are your triggers? 
  3. Learn to avoid tempting situations
  4. Change your environment if necessary.  Does your work place put you in temptation?  For example if you struggle with alcohol, you definitely don't want to work in a bar. 
  5. Are your friends and family providing or stimulating your temptations?  Find new friends and confront family. If necessary, move away from them.  Addicts and alcoholics are told, to overcome their addiction, it is best to remove themselves from an environment that will cause them temptation.
  6. Capturing and stopping sinful thoughts before they can lead to sin.

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 New International Version (NIV)

Remember the old computer adage, "GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT?" Meaning, if you input garbage programming into a computer, you get a garbage program response. Are you letting garbage into that incredible computer that is your brain?  Are you allowing garbage to filter in through your eyes, ears, mouth or body?  If you pollute your mind and body with garbage, the garbage tends to leak into your life and make it stink.

  1. Prayer -  Ask God to help you avoid temptations. Keep in mind however. that "YOU" are the one who must accept or reject temptation. God wants "YOU" to learn and grow as a Christian.
  2. Learn to walk away.  You know when temptation strikes. God always allows a way out."No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" 1 Corinthians 10:13.
  3. Never underestimate the allure of forbidden fruit because, unfortunately forbidden fruit has an intense appeal. 

Satan and his demons have had thousands of years to perfect their beautiful, pleasant, enticing, stimulating lures.  They know how your body responds to sight, sound, taste and touch and can manipulate your senses like a conductor leading an orchestra.  Remember when we talked about the sin process?  Part of Christian growth and maturity is learning to discern Satanic lures.

Remember as a Christian, demons study you for any and every weakness and ways to exploit it! Only you can recognize their lures and avoid them.   Only you can protect your mind.  A careful soldier keeps his eyes open at all times for traps, mines and the enemy.  His life depends on it.  Don’t tell yourself "It can never happen to me!" or,  "I am too strong to let anything happen to me!"  Some of the greatest of Christians have given in to temptation.  Did that make them a non Christian?  No!  it means they’ve tripped and fallen for the snares of the enemy.  Their ministry may have been drastically impacted in a negative way.  But, remember God is in the restoration business.  If we ask for forgiveness, He is willing and able and can put us back on our feet again.

Christians may be defeated in few of the battles of life but we can never be defeated in the war.  Why?  Because Christ has already won the victory.   Paul knew this when he said, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." So if you get knocked down, get back up,dig your heels in and stand firm.

 

THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND

Third, it’s time to begin training through the renewing of your mind.  Paul said,

 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform 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 12:1-2

Renewing your mind, put simply, is a learning, training and exercise process.  For example, I’ll use Marine Boot Camp as an illustration having experienced it myself.  When you join the Marine Corps, your first step is Boot Camp!  Whether you arrive by airplane, train, bus or car,you are loaded onto a Marine Corps bus that takes you to the Marine Corps training depots.  You walk on that bus a civilian and the second you step off the bus you instantly begin the renewing of your mind (and body).   That first night, and it is generally late at night for a reason, you're given your uniforms, equipment and a Marine Corps Training Manual. For the next twelve weeks you carry this manual with you everywhere (except the showers).  Every spare minute you are not marching, exercising or training, you read this manual from cover to cover trying to memorize as much as you can.

Some of the fun things you learn:

  • Military rules/regulations
  • Military etiquette
  • The military chain of command
  • Military dress
  • General orders
  • Field Survival
  • Emergency Field Medicine
  • Weapons - how to use, strip and clean them
  • Troup movement signals
  • Hand to Hand combat
  • Everything Marine

And there is always a helpful drill instructor to remind you! 

It is seventy two plus days of total immersion.  When you come out you have been transformed by the renewing of your mind from a civilian to a Marine.  And a large portion of what you learn, you learn for life.

The renewing of your mind is a re-training of your mindIn the Marine Corps, it is the re-training of your mind from being a civilian to becoming a Marine.  In the Christian life it is re-training your mind from its sinful nature to becoming Christ-Like.  For the Christian, life is a Christian Boot Camp.  And, the Bible is your training manual and it is filled from cover to cover with essential information pertaining to the Christian life. 

The Old Testament:  Is filled with Character studies illustrating both good and bad.  Study the lives of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, King's Saul, David, Solomon and more.   Learn from their examples and their mistakes. It is also filled with all the prophecies pertaining to Christ, His ministry and His personality to help you understand Him better.

The New Testament: The gospels tell you about the life and teachings of Christ.  Acts teaches early Christianity and its growth. The letters of Peter, John and Paul are filled with instructions on living and growing as a Christian. They provide guidelines for Christian leadership.

For example Paul offers an excellent summary of Christian living in Romans 12:3-21.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

If you are a new believerhungry to grow as a Christian life.  First, find yourself a good Study Bible that you can read and you can understand (for example, the NIV Study Bible).  A good study Bible is filled with commentary notes, historical notes and added information to help explain difficult verses and situations.    Second, if you want to dig deeper, also buy a Thompson Chain reference Bible or a Naves Topical Bible.  The Thompson Chain reference Bible cross references every verse of the Bible and it list's every conceivable Bible topic you can think of plus Character studies along with verse references for you to look up on those characters.  The Naves Topical Bible is exactly that.  All the major topics of the Bible grouped together. Third, also buy a Strong’s exhaustive concordance that also contains the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries which list every single word of the bible and provides their Hebrew and Greek definitions.  These three tools used together will open up a wealth of information to you concerning the Bible. 

The key is to take time to study.   Not just to sitting down to read and let the information pass through your eyeballs, bounce around in your brain for awhile then exit out the ears without taking up residence.  Think about what you are reading then put it into action!  The nice part of it is you are not on a deadline, pace yourself.

The Ultimate Goal for the Renewing of your mind it is to

Learn to become Christ-Like:

Study the writings of the men who walked with Jesus for three and a half years and the letters of the apostle Paul. The original apostles learned and then defined how to become Christ-Like because they lived, studied under and traveled with Jesus Himself.  They learned by watching Jesus’ example, day in and day out, for over three years and through on the job training, they learned that becoming Christ-Like involves learning’combined with action. When the apostles set out to define the development process of becoming Christ-Like, they listed these attributes found in Romans 12:1-21, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 2 Corinthians 6:6, Galatians 5:16- 26 Eph. 4:1-5:21;Colossians 3:12-15, 1 Peter 1:22-23 and 2 Peter 1:5-8.

Notice these passages stress personal effort using phrases such as; add to your faith or clothe yourself in the following attributes of Christ:

Love

Gentleness

Forgiveness

Mercy

Joy

Self-Control

Purity

Encouragement

Peace

Meekness

Understanding

Generosity

Kindness

Compassion

Knowledge

Hospitality

Goodness

Humility

Charity

Truthful

Faithfulness

Patience

Perseverance

Long suffering

The apostles also stressed rid yourself, or put to death these negative attributes of the sin nature:

Malice

Envy

Rage

Sexual immorality

Deceit

Slander

Filthy language

Lust

Hypocrisy

Anger

Lie’s

Evil desires

Greed

Impurity

Wickedness

Gossiping

 

 

 

 

Each of these attributes both positive and negative requires daily choices, decisions and actions on the part of each Christian. We must choose to act in kindness towards others.  We must choose to offer mercy. We must choose not to use filthy language.  We must choose not to gossip, we must choose to control our anger.  Is it easy? Not by a long shot.  It is easy to show kindness and consideration to people who are kind and considerate to you. However, becoming Christ-like means learning to show love, kindness and consideration to people you may not like or who actively persecute you!  That's a great deal harder to learn and even harder to practice. Jesus taught, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Mat 5:44-45 NIV). ”

The renewing of your mind is the process of learning and working to become Christ-Like.  Our coach/mentor/training instructor is the Holy Spirit.  He whispers and instructs daily, hourly, and minute by minute.  The Holy Spirit however, is the ultimate gentleman, He does not command.  He whispers in mind and heart the correct thing to do.  We, on the other hand, have the option to choose to obey and act according to His will and the guidelines of the Bible or reject it.  That’s free will and that is what we as Christians are accountable for.

I like to use the illustration of muscle memory for becoming Christ-Like.  What's muscle memory? Muscle memory is basically programming your mind and body by repeating an exercise over, and over, and over until your body reacts to a situation without thinking about it. Athletes, dancers and musicians all practice moves or exercises repeatedly for hours every day until their movements becomes encoded into their muscle and mind so that their body reacts without thinking.  That’s muscle memory.  

How can you work on your muscle memory to become Christ-Like?  Study your Bible and learn  to submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and actively choose to exercise and follow His commands.  Study the attributes listed above. If you Work at choosing to practice self control. Offer Kindness and forgiveness. 

Do you have an issue with anger? 

Do you cuss like a sailor?

Do you gossip?

First pray and ask God to help you with your problem.  If you have anger, take an anger management class; then work on controlling your anger.  Because, believe it or not, people watch you every day and react or learn from you!  I once worked in a warehouse with some other guys while we all went to seminary.  One of the guys was already a preacher working part time to supplement his income because he had a small congregation who was not able to pay him much.  He was known for having a vicious, explosive temper. If he didn’t like something you said or did he would scream and throw things.  One day he almost beaned me with a stapler as I was walking down the hall past his office.  Luckily I heard the thing whistling through the air and ducked. He’d become angry at a mistake in some paperwork he had made himself.

A few days later I was witnessing to another non worker and he hissed, “Why should I become a Christian?  Why do I want to be like him?” as he pointed at the preacher on the other side of the warehouse.  He had based his idea of Christianity on that preacher and his actions.  Feeling convicted, I talked with the preacher and told him what had happened and what the man I had been talking to said.  He was devastated.  Up to that point he had no idea the impact his anger and witness had on the people around him!  From that day forward he began to work on controlling his anger and outburst.  A few months later we did get the opportunity to lead the other guy to Christ.

 If you cuss like a sailor choose to correct yourself.  It can be done.  I cussed like a Marine for the first few years I was in the Marine Corps because it was part of the Marine culture.  Every other word that came out of my mouth was a cuss word.  When I felt compelled to enter the ministry I prayed to God and asked for help with the cussing.  And, God helped make it uncomfortable for me to cuss.   But, I also had to choose to change my vocabulary.  Did anyone notice?  Are you kidding?  In the Marine Corps?  Of course they noticed.  At first, they gave me a hard time and called me a goodie two shoes.  But what was amazing is that these same Marines started to trim down their cussing around me.  Did I command them not to?  NO!  Because I stopped cussing they stopped cussing around me.  Of course they cussed everywhere  else but not around me which was their choice.  Did stopping cussing make me less of a Marine?  No! In fact, many of the Marines that worked under my command made comments about how much they enjoyed working with me.  That was over thirty years ago.  Do I cuss? Every once in a while I slip if stressed, but very rarely. 

Think of the Helmet of Salvation as a muscle.  You have to exercise, train (through Bible study) and work it daily to build strength.  If you do nothing, muscles begin to lose strength until you are as weak as a baby.  Spiritual muscles also require exercise and training.

 

Accepting Jesus as savior IS JUST THE BEGINNING

The Helmet of Salvation is one of the vital elements of a Christian's armor.  Maintaining the strength of the Helmet of Salvation requires ongoing study, application and learning on every Christian's part.  Key #1 is absolute conviction of your salvation that you have been saved by grace through faith. One of the devils most effective tools is trying to discourage or depress believers during difficult time by whispering. "God doesn't love you anymore, after all why would he allow this to happen to you?"  Which is absolutely not true.  Christ taught that we would go through adversities, trials and challenges.  Yet, Christians become surprised when they do.  Key #2 Develop the anchors that help remind you of those miracles during your times of trials and stress. key #3 Study and learn the Bible through the renewing of your mind so that you can grow and strengthen your belief and not be deceived by the devil.   

Refecting Christ's Light

RECOMMENDED READING

DEALING WITH ADVERSITY

Both of these books available on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 
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