A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on the first pieces of our spiritual armor: the “breastplate of righteousness,” the “belt of truth,” and the “shoes of peace.” (https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/putting-on-your-armor/)
Today, I want to share some insights on our primary defense weapons: “the helmet of salvation” and the “shield of faith.”
Prior to studying in detail the armor of God, I used to say, “We need to put on our armor,” but I didn’t really understand what I was saying. I knew it had to do with God’s Word, faith, righteousness, and peace. But what specifically did those things mean in relation to how I was to live my life victoriously? I understood them in theory but not completely in actuality.
The following is a quote from Kay Arthur in Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand:
The belt, breastplate, and shoes were essential clothing, but the shield and helmet were the soldier’s primary defense against the enemy’s attacks. The breastplate alone couldn’t shield a solder from the enemy’s fiery darts, but the shield of faith was able to extinguish all of the them.
Back in ancient warfare, the enemy would often use fiery darts to attack a soldier. Before going into battle, a soldier would prepare for battle by soaking his shield in water. A soaked shield would extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy. In fact, every dart would be extinguished when encountering the prepared shield.
In the Bible, God says that we have a “shield of faith.” So what prepares us to resist the attacks of the enemy? Faith!
I think it is also important to clarify what those attacks are. What is the real attack? Is it difficult circumstances, wounds inflicted by other people, disease, etc…? So often, we “drown” in the “deluge” of our circumstances because we think that the attacks are the circumstances, the people, the events, or the objects. In reality, the attacks are the lies that enter our minds in relation to the events, people, objects, and circumstances.
(Yes, the attacks may come as physical objects, circumstances, or people, but our battles are not fought in the physical realm but in the spiritual — the lies that are associated with those events, people, and objects.)
Let me repeat that because it is so relevant:
The attacks are the lies that enter our minds in relation to the events, people, objects, and circumstances that we face.
This is what we often do not understand and as a result, why we often do not live the “victorious” Christian life. We don’t understand our enemy’s attacks.
Living victoriously is also more than knowing that his attacks are insidious lies, aimed at us personally to penetrate our “weakest links” in our armor.
Living victoriously involves knowing how we can extinguish the lies and guard against all manner of weapons in a full-frontal assault. It means holding fast the position of victory that Christ already won for us at the cross.
Every piece of armor is vitally important for the well-being of the soldier against all attacks from the enemy. If any piece is missing, the soldier is at risk.
Let’s look at the “Helmet of Salvation.”
Without a helmet to protect a soldier’s head, all attacks threaten to be mortal.
The “Helmet of Salvation” represents our position in Christ, otherwise known as our “identity” (who we are in Christ).
The following is a quote from Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand:
The helmet is the assurance of salvation, the confidence that salvation brings. The helmet is symbolic of the fact that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and are a member of His forever family. When you put on the helmet, you demonstrate that you know and embrace your position in Christ.
…When you put on your helmet of salvation, you acknowledge that the enemy cannot crush you, touch you, or do anything to you without your heavenly Father’s permission.
How important is it to understand your position in Christ? Vitally!
There are three aspects/”tenses” to our salvation. I love the way Kay Arthur summarizes them so clearly so I am going to borrow her wording:
The first is justification — you have been saved from sin’s penalty. That’s the past tense — something which happened in your past, and because it did, you’ll never be condemned.
I recently wrote a blog post on the issue of eternal security. I believe this is belief is vitally important for protection against the potentially mortal attacks of our enemy. See: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/the-lie-that-a-lack-of-eternal-security-reveals/.
The second is justification — the present tense of salvation. You are being saved from sin’s power moment by moment as you live under His control and allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead you into all righteousness.
from Kay Arthur in Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand
We can “quench the Holy Spirit by not letting Him carry out His will in our lives or by singular acts of sin … Your fellowship is broken but not your relationship.” (Kay Arthur in Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand)
The third is glorification, and it is future. You will be saved from sin’s presence and given a new body. Someday, you’ll die and be at home with your heavenly Father and the family of God. You’ll sin no more.
from Kay Arthur in Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand
So what gives us confidence to “hold our head high”? It’s the “protection” of understanding our identity in Christ. No one can take that from us!
How do we practically live this? We “walk according to the mind of Jesus Christ which became [ours] at salvation.” (from Kay Arthur in Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand)
Here’s an amazing quote from James Fraser, a missionary to the Lisu tribe in China, in the book, Mountain Rain:
…deliverance from the power of the evil one comes through definite resistance on the ground of the Cross.
To live a victorious Christian life, we have to be more than “name-only” Christians. We need to believe the truth of God’s Word and understand our relationship to it and more importantly, to the God of the Bible — our God!
Let’s look at the “Shield of Faith” now and how that relates to us personally.
Earlier, I alluded to how the “Shield of Faith” was an essential piece of equipment for protection against the fiery darts of the enemy.
I think this refers to belief in God’s Word. In other words, there is a difference between knowing the truth and being able to recite Scriptural truths and/or passages and actually believing/living according to them.
You can tell others about trusting in God and that He is a good God, but when difficult times come, you can actually walk in doubt, questioning God’s “apparent” neglect. You can judge God’s actions based on the seen rather than the “unseen” of what He is working within the spiritual realm.
There are purposes God has that extend beyond the present difficulties of your present circumstances to work something exceedingly better. This is why we “walk by faith and not by sight.”
The physical realm is temporal, but the spiritual realm is eternal.
Faith is the key to seeing God’s purposes, operating simultaneously within the spiritual realm while using events within the physical realm to accomplish them.
The “Shield of Faith” uses the Word of God, through the power of God (Holy Spirit), to “quench” the attacks of the enemy.
The “Shield of Faith” is embracing the truth of God’s Word and living in the reality of it.
Without a steadfast faith in God, you will be unable to reject, resist, or “extinguish” the lies of the enemy from penetrating past the other pieces of armor into the vulnerable areas of your soul. The enemy knows where those weak “links” are, and he will go for them, using many different means. Each of his attacks can be defeated by effectively using the “weapons” God has given to us.
We often think the battle is out there, but the real battle is fought within.
If we take captive our own thoughts with the “weapons” God has given to us, we’ll have guaranteed victory. Our victory is not dependent upon others and their responses, upon the difficulties of our circumstances, the physical sufferings we might be experiencing, and the wounds of our pasts.
Our victory is always won within us.
Today, let’s embrace the truth of God’s Word, live confidently as His sons and daughters, have the faith to see the “bigger picture,” and be “refreshed” by the Presence of His Holy Spirit that enables us to walk by faith. May today be lived in the victory of Christ!
2 Corinthians 10:4
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 5:7
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
1 Corinthians 2:5
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,