The Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation

“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (KJV)
The Helmet of Salvation
“Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. The first redeems us; the second restores, protects, and shields us daily from the attacks of the enemy.” ~ Priscilla Shirer

Welcome back to the Armor of God blog series.  In this session, we are going to “take the helmet of salvation” as Paul states in Ephesians 6:17a KJV.  Why do you think Paul chose to associate salvation with a helmet?  To understand this, let’s take a closer look at the example of the Roman soldier’s helmet.

The Roman soldier’s helmet reminds me of a football helmet.  It’s basically a skull cap but instead of being made from hard plastic, it is made out of iron then typically covered in bronze.  The helmet not only covered the head but was designed to come down in the back to protect the neck as well as have extended cheek guards to protect the face.  When the helmet was in place, very little of the soldier’s face was exposed except for eyes, nose and mouth.  Can you imagine going into battle without a helmet?  It would be like a football player going into a game without a helmet or a motorcyclist on an interstate without a helmet.  The helmet is designed to protect one of the most important organs to a human, the brain.

So, let’s think about the human brain.  The human brain controls everything of the human body.  All the nerve endings and impulses are centered in the brain and controls every movement and every thought.  Here’s another way to look at it…what the brain is to the body, the mind is to the soul.  One of the easiest places for the enemy to attack is in our thinking.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that has had my mind fill up with negative thoughts or insecure feelings of inadequacies.  Those thoughts don’t come from our loving, heavenly Father.  Those are from the enemy and he is strategically seeking those he can destroy.  The Bible tells us that, “The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,” John 10:10a KJV.  Paul also reminds us in 2 Corinthians 10:5b of “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

I think this is why Paul used the analogy of the bronze-clad iron skullcap of the Roman soldier so that with this helmet of salvation on, we can deflect the arrows of the enemy targeting our minds and filling us with those negative thoughts and feelings.  If we go back to the beginning of Ephesians, Paul is writing to the church of Ephesus to remind them of who they are in Christ and the price of their salvation (Eph. 1:4-14 and Eph. 2:1-10).  We, also, in today’s present world, need to be remind ourselves of who we are in Christ and to know the price of our salvation.  Once we start replacing those negative thoughts with the true thoughts of who we are in Christ, we defeat the enemy for our minds.

My friends, we are the battlefield.  And, the battle is for our minds.  The enemy knows that when we don’t have on our helmet of salvation, he will take advantage of that opportunity to fill our minds with lies that are aimed to destroy us.  When our helmet of salvation is securely in place, we can then take those thoughts captive and that means that we control our thoughts instead of letting our thoughts control us.  Replacing those negative thoughts with true thoughts of how the Lord sees us is how we defeat the enemy.  This will not happen overnight, and sometimes, it might even take years.  But, as we do this repeatedly, and even if we have to shout it out loud, the enemy has to flee.  “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”, states James 4:7b KJV.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 KJV

“My inheritance and identity in Christ:  I don’t recall where I came across this particular list or who gave it to me.  It’s been in my study notes for years.  I just know I love it, and I share it with you, hoping it will give you great confidence and encouragement in Christ.” ~ Priscilla Shirer
 
I am a child of God (John 1:12)     I have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)     I am reconciled to God (Rom. 5:11)
I have Christ’s righteousness (Rom. 5:19)     I am Christ’s ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20)     I am sanctified (Heb. 2:11)
I am completely forgiven (Col. 1:14)     I am tenderly loved by God (Jer. 31:3)     I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)
I have been made completed in Christ (Col. 2:10)     I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph. 1:5)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)     I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21,22)     I am a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20)
I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need (Philippians 4:13)
 
The Armor of God
Published by LifeWay Press®
© 2015 Priscilla Shirer


The Armor of God: The Shield of Faith

The Shield Of Faith

“Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so.” ~ Dr. Tony Evans

“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted by the sea; and it should obey you.” Luke 17:5-6 (KJV)

Welcome back to the Armor of God blog series.  The next piece of armor that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6 is the shield of faith, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”, Ephesians 6:16 KJV.

The Greek word for faith that Paul references here is Pistis.  Pistis is translated as conviction, commitment, and faithfulness (being full of faith).  Simply put, faith is acting like God is telling the truth.  This act of faith is what becomes the shield of protection to guard against the enemy’s attack.

“Faith is not hoping that God can.  It is knowing that He will.” ~ Toby Mac #speaklife

Let’s talk about the enemy’s attack.  The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  However, we are children of the King and the enemy knows that he can’t destroy us because we are eternally secure in Jesus.  However, we have learned that the enemy is really good at distraction and can sidetrack me and you and turn our focus and attention away from Jesus.  Those are the fiery darts of the wicked that Paul was referring to in this passage.  Do any of these tactics sound familiar:  insecurity, fear, doubt, temptation, anxiety, worry, discouragement, questioning your ability, guilt, hopelessness, etc?  These are what the enemy will use to distract you and keep you unfocused so you won’t notice him sneaking up on you.

Here’s the good news, with the shield of faith, we can quench all of those fiery darts that the enemy tries to throw at us.  In the analogy of the Roman soldier, part of their battle armor was a shield.  This wasn’t part of their daily uniform; this was something they would take up when they were preparing for battle.  These shields weren’t some round metal shields from Medieval times.  These were shields were made from wood with a metal frame around them and be the size of doors that would entirely cover the soldier in a kneeling position.  The shields were also dipped in water to create a damp, dense barrier of protection.  Once those flaming darts hit the water-soaked shields, they would penetrate enough to be quickly extinguished.  Just like the wet shields, our faith causes the fiery arrows of the enemy to fizzle out.

“Your shield of faith works because it is directly connected to the faithfulness of your God.” ~ Priscilla Shirer

Far too many times, we are swayed by our feelings and this is how the enemy likes it.  We become so focused on our insecurities, inabilities and being afraid instead of following the truth of God’s Word.  “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”, 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV.  When we have those thoughts come upon us, we can be sure that the enemy is at work hoping to distract us from obtaining all of what God has already intended for to do for us and through us.  

So, I encourage you to be bold and courageous and to step out in faith.  Faith reveals a reliance on God.  The “faith place” is stepping into a situation or circumstance where we put ourself into a position for God to have to come through.  Remember, if God has called us to it, He will see us through it and will equip us to see victory in quenching every fiery dart from the enemy.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20 KJV 

The Armor of God
Published by LifeWay Press®
© 2015 Priscilla Shirer


The Armor of God: The Shoes of Peace

The Shoes Of Peace

“Whenever you feel an overriding sense of unrest inside or overwhelming distress in your relationships, the enemy is somewhere in the middle, stirring it up.  Anywhere peace is lacking, you can be sure the enemy’s at work”. ~ Priscilla Shirer

“And let the Peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Colossians 3:15 (KJV)

In this session of the Armor of God blog series, we are going to talk about the shoes of peace as described by Paul, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace;” Ephesians 6:15 (KJV).

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure, at one point or another as young children, we can remember walking around the house in a pair of one of our parent’s six-sizes too big shoes.  We wanted to be like our mom or our dad and wearing their oversized shoes and oversized clothes made us feel like them.

When I read this passage that Paul wrote about our feet being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15), I’m reminded that now, as an adult, I should be walking around in my heavenly Father’s shoes.  But, not just any shoes, I should have my feet covered with the Gospel of peace.  Where there is peace there is stability.  For many years, I wore the most uncomfortable shoes but they sure were cute.  My feet would hurt so bad that walking was a struggle and even standing was difficult.  I was pretty unstable on my feet in those shoes.

The metaphor of the shoes Paul is using are those of the Roman soldiers.  The footwear of the soldiers were very distinctive in that they were like half sandal and half military boot.  The soles of the shoe had several layers of leather in order to clench in nails to the bottom of the sole similar to what we would see as metal cleats on the bottom of certain athletic shoes.  What these spikes do are provide a firm grip to the ground to keep the soldier sure-footed and stable when holding his ground or even advancing against an enemy.

When our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, we can remain stable against the enemy’s attack.  In Philippians 4:7 (KJV) it says, “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.  This is what Paul is talking about in this letter to the Ephesians.  We cannot withstand the storms of this life without the peace of the Lord in our hearts and in our minds.  When God’s peace is locked in our life, it will become our guard, our protector, our calm and our stability.  Christ is our peace.  In Christ Jesus, we have peace with God.

Peace will not only be your guard; it will also become your guide.  As you continue to let God’s peace reign in your hearts and in your minds, it will direct your steps as you navigate life in this unpeaceful world.

The armor of the soldier not only served to protect the soldier but it was also meant to impress and to intimidate the enemy.  Satan knows that where there is no peace, he can use that to his advantage.  But, we have the advantage when we live in peace, we have the victory.

So, live victoriously!  As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him (Colossians 2:6).

The Armor of God
Published by LifeWay Press®
© 2015 Priscilla Shirer


The Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness

The Breastplate of Righteousness

“Righteousness literally means justice—the quality of being upright, fulfilling the expectations set in a relationship.  In our case as believers, this relationship is with God Himself.  Righteousness, then, is upright living that aligns with God’s expectations.” ~ Priscilla Shirer

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Ephesians 4:23-24 (KJV)

Welcome back to the Armor of God blog series.  This installment of the Armor of God reflects on the breastplate of righteousness.  “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6;14 (KJV).

Continuing with Paul’s analogy of the Roman soldier’s armor, after the soldier is fitted with his belt, he would then put on his metal shield (or breastplate) that is worn from his neck/shoulders down to cover his midsection to help protect the vital organs.  Since the breastplate was usually made from bronze, the weight of it would put too much strain on the neck and shoulders.  So, to help distribute and balance the weight from the breastplate, it would hook onto the soldier’s belt.

For us as Christians, when we gird ourselves with the belt of truth, the Word of God is our foundation and our standard of living.  Then, when we put on our breastplate of righteousness, we are aligning our beliefs and our life to our foundation and standard of living.  We are aligning our daily living with righteousness or righteous living with the truth of God and the expectations of God found in the Word of God.

The breastplate of the soldier’s uniform offers protection for vital organs.  One strike of the enemy to the most vital organ, the heart, and the soldier is fatally wounded.  As Christians, it is vitally important for us to protect our heart.  The heart is the centerpiece of our soul and that is why the enemy is after our heart.  The enemy know that if he can get our heart then, he can fatally would our walk with the Lord.  By making the daily decision to put on the breastplate of righteousness, we are placing a blockade between the enemy and the area he most commonly targets and our most vital organ—the heart.

When we come forward for salvation to receive Jesus, we ask him to come into our heart and to cleanse our life from sin.  The Holy Spirit now takes up residence in our heart and the sanctification process begins to shape and mold us into the image of Christ Jesus.  The job of the Holy Spirit is to chip away at any and every thing that doesn’t look like Jesus.  This is why the enemy is after our heart because he knows our heart is where Jesus lives.

For further study, here are some scripture references as a guide for righteous living:  humility/meekness (Matthew 5:5); wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-6); honoring the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13-14); honoring parents (Ephesians 6:2-3); obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-6); delight yourself in the law of the Lord (Psalms 1:2-3); and, sowing spiritual seed (Galatians 6:8).

The Armor of God
Published by LifeWay Press®
© 2015 Priscilla Shirer


Esther

This past year the CrossFire Assembly Women’s Ministry went through Charles Swindoll’s Bible study on Esther: A Woman of Strength & Dignity. I love Esther. What an inspiring role model for women today. If you haven’t read about Esther, I would encourage you to do so. It’s a small book in the Old Testament…only 10 chapters long. But, it weaves a tale much like something you’d find right out of a blockbuster movie today with everything from extravagant celebrations to evil villains to murderous plots.

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Running From God

Running from God not only puts you in danger, but also everyone around you. Jonah is a prime example. He was not only a danger to himself but to everyone on the ship. Backsliders can not only destroy themselves but can also bring others down with them along the way.

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Keep On Walking

Do you ever get tired of walking? I want to take this time to encourage the body of Christ to be steadfast in your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and to guard your hearts in the time of which we live.  I remember when I first became a born again Christian, it was all new to me and I had many unaswered questions about my new found walk with the Lord. The people that really encouraged me were the older, gray haired Christians.  They had walked much of life and weathered the storms in there lives that many my age had not.  I knew if I was going to go forward with my faith and be victorious, I needed to look to people that had been walking their faith out for years and living their lives according to what the scriptures taught.


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