And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
On the 4th of July, 2011, a motorcyclist taking part in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he tragically flipped over his bike's handlebars, and smacked his head against the ground. State Troopers told the Post-Standard of Syracuse that the accident happened in the town of Onondaga where 55-year-old Philip A. Contos of Parish, New York, was driving his 1983 Harley-Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing their helmets. The police said that Contos hit his brakes sharply causing the motorcycle to fishtail. The bike spun out of control, causing Contos to topple over the handlebars. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Troopers told the media that the rider would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.
As this story so starkly underscores, failure to wear a helmet can be the difference between life and death. And what is true in the realm of motorcycling is also true regarding spiritual warfare. According to Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, failure on our part to don the helmet of salvation on a daily basis will leave us vulnerable to Satan's attacks (Eph. 6:17). The image of the Roman soldier's helmet and its implications are pretty straightforward, and uncomplicated. Just as it is imperative that a legionnaire protects his head in battle by wearing his helmet, so Christians must actively and aggressively guard their thought life. Their thought life must be made subject to the Lordship of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Peter 1:13). The Bible makes clear that the mind is a battlefield, and a target for satanic attack (2 Cor. 4:4; 10:1-6; 11:3). Not surprisingly, since the mind is the command and control center of life (Prov. 23:7). Every action begins with a thought, consequently who and what controls our thinking gets to shape our lives. Distorted thinking naturally leads to mangled emotions, and twisted lives. Lives that give off a foul smell are usually the result of stinking thinking.
Given the vital importance of the mind in spiritual warfare, we therefore need to clad our minds with gospel truth; we need to put on the helmet of salvation. In the face of Satan's strategy of attacking the mind, we urgently need to deepen our knowledge of the doctrine of salvation. In the good fight of faith, it is imperative that we preach the gospel to ourselves (Rom. 13:14; Eph. 4:17-24). Victory lays in embracing who we are, and what we have in Christ. The gospel is not the ABC's of the Christian life, but the A-Z. To come to faith in Christ requires that someone preach the gospel to us, but to grow in faith we must preach the gospel to ourselves. Let us remember that the gospel is not something we outgrow, but something we grow in (2 Peter 3:18). That is why for our soul's safety and satisfaction, we need to rehearse again and again the benefits of Christ's saving work for us (Eph. 1:3-14). That is why we need to appreciate afresh the power and authority that is ours through having been raised with Christ (Eph. 3:16, 20); a power greater than that possessed by our enemies (Eph. 3:10)! Listen! A Christian without a solid and sound grasp of the gospel is as vulnerable as a soldier without a helmet. Be a victor, not a victim by renewing your mind in Christ (Rom. 12:1-2).