Maybe it’s just the way I think, but it seems like something is always trying to discourage me. Fortunately, I've learned to put on the helmet of salvation. I need to, for discouragement is an enemy holding me back.
But still, it’s easy to get down if I watch too much news, my circumstances are testing my patience, or friends or family are struggling.
The Helmet of Salvation Defeats Discouragement
This is exactly where the armor of God comes in, especially the helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:8, Ephesians 6:17)
When I wear the helmet, I am full of confidence, trusting God. But when I don’t have it on (and sometimes it slips off without my noticing), I get disheartened and a little depressed.
But then I see it, “Oh, I’m down and feeling overwhelmed.” So I remind myself, “You are not wearing your helmet. Put it back on. God still reigns!”
The Helmet of Salvation Is the Confident Attitude of the Warrior of God
Without it, we don’t have the will to fight. So, keeping that helmet buckled on our heads is vital to finishing our work on earth.
The Bible tells us we must “take” the helmet, the hope of salvation. In the original language, a couple of words can be translated take. In this case, the word doesn’t mean to seize it by our own efforts, but rather to relax and receive what the Lord has graciously done and will do for us.
Paul associates the helmet with hope in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, as we'll see below. By faith in His Word, we receive the hope that comes from God. And that hope puts a spring in our steps, a joy in our hearts, and a confident word in our mouths.
Paul also prayed, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
What follows is an excerpt from my book, The Armor of Light, regarding the helmet of salvation. It's taken from Chapter 19, “How to Really Put On the Armor of Light,” pages 155-158.
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An Excerpt from The Armor of Light
Like modern soldiers, Roman soldiers wore helmets to protect their heads from injury during battle.
We need a helmet to protect our minds in spiritual warfare. But wait a minute! Every piece of armor we’ve described so far protects our minds.
The truth of God’s Word defends us from lies and deception.
The breastplate protects us from feelings of unworthiness, lack of acceptance by God, guilt, and shame.
Putting on the shoes means laying down our wills to walk in God’s paths.
The shield of faith extinguishes the troubling thoughts launched into our minds.
So what more can the helmet do that hasn’t already been done?
How Does the Helmet Protect You?
Paul gives us a clue in First Thessalonians 5:8 where he calls the helmet, “the hope of salvation.”
Hope in modern English is a weak word. When we say, “I hope so,” we often mean, “I wish it were so, but I’m not sure it will work out.”
But hope in the original Greek meant a confident expectation with an optimistic outlook.
Christian hope says, “With God on my side, all this trouble will work to my advantage.”
The world lives in cynicism, skepticism, pessimism, discouragement, and despair. They say, “What’s the use?” “Why try?” “Just give up.” “Have another drink.”
But Christians who strap on their helmets have a positive attitude of hope, a confident expectation of victory.
They are cheerful in the midst of trouble and with God’s help expect to win every battle.
Why? They have full trust in the power, faithfulness, and reliability of God.
Paul pointed out Abraham’s amazing posture of hope, “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations…” (Romans 4:18)
Even when it looked impossible to have a child, Abraham believed God.
Putting on the Helmet Means Adjusting Your Attitude
You can have on the best armor in the world, but if you don’t have hope that inspires your will to fight, you are defeated before the battle starts!
Putting on the helmet means adjusting your life’s attitude from being negative, wounded, and pessimistic, to being strong, conquering, and victorious in Christ.
Nobody goes to war hoping to lose. They go to war because there is something to win, something to gain, some spoils to gather.
You put on the armor of God to win something!
What are some “spoils” of winning in Christian conflict?
Personal freedom from the enemy! Salvation of souls! Being a blessing to all nations (starting in your neighborhood)!
We learn from experience that the Lord brings us through every difficulty and trial. (Romans 5:3–5)
So, as we grow in Christ, our attitude should change from hoping for a little victory once in a while to expecting victory all the time.
The Apostles of Christ Wore the Helmet
Paul wrote that God “always leads us in triumph in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Wouldn’t you agree that “always” is a strong but inspired word? Paul should know—he went through more trouble than anyone I know. (2 Corinthians 11:23–33)
John wrote, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Both Paul and John wore the helmet, the confident expectation that salvation would work everything to their advantage for the benefit of the kingdom of God.
The Winning Attitude
In our culture the closest thing to the helmet of salvation is the attitude of soldiers and professional athletes who prepare to overcome adversity and win every battle and game. They never give up.
I love fourth quarter, come-from-behind victories. What a thrill when my team rallies, scores, and seizes the day.
A basketball team may trail the whole game, but a buzzer-beating three-pointer changes a loss into a win. It’s never over till it’s over.
You may think you’re losing, but a champion lives in your heart—Jesus! He never gives up and doesn’t want you to let go of your dream.
You can do it. You will make it. You are an overcomer!
Professional Athletes Think like Warriors.
A sports reporter once asked winning Stanford football coach David Shaw about his team’s prospects against a higher-ranked team.
He answered something like this: It’s not who we play that we focus on. It’s how we play.
He gave intimidation no place by focusing on his team’s strengths.
Our God is a big God, and the weapons He has given us are more powerful than the enemy’s.
Professional athletes must live in the present, not the past.
A quarterback who throws two interceptions in the third quarter can still win if he shakes off the mistakes, doesn’t get rattled, and keeps his head in the game.
But if he gets tied up with self-condemnation, he’ll become ineffective.
Putting on the helmet of salvation means forgetting the past, focusing on the present, and preparing for the future.
Paul voted to kill and imprison Christians in his past, but he learned not to let the enemy keep bringing their faces before his mind.
He kept his eyes on the finish line and the prize. (Philippians 3:13–14)
The Hope of Salvation in Temporal Difficulties
We are to put on the helmet of salvation. The essence of the word is “being made safe.”
Christians often narrow the meaning to having an eternal home in heaven, but Jesus wants to “save” us in temporal things as well.
In the Bible, the words save and salvation also speak of healing, physical safety, and deliverance from calamities, demons, storms, and prison.
In all things, then, both eternal and temporal, Christians are to strap on a confident expectation and a winning attitude.
Through faith in Christ we have a home in heaven, but while we are on earth our Savior heals, delivers, and provides for us in earthly, temporal difficulties, too.
Sometimes people think God does not care about the temporal things of earth, yet He was the one who made every material thing and declared it very good.
He is touched with the feelings of our (temporal) infirmities.
Yes, the eternal is all that ultimately matters, but God loves us enough to care and provide for us while we live here on earth.
Three Easy Steps to Keeping a Confident Outlook
- Don’t be alarmed or surprised by resistance. (John 16:33)
- Encourage yourself in the Lord by remembering how God helped you in the past. (1 Samuel 30:6–8)
- Prepare for victory by confessing your faith. (1 Samuel 17:26, 36–37, 45–46)
Putting on the helmet, the confident expectation of salvation, defends us from the discouragement and depression so common in the world.
When we have on the helmet, we see the glass half full (not half empty) and won’t quit or throw in the towel.
Because our hope is in the Lord, we remain upbeat, confident, and willing to move forward in battle.
Return to God's Protection
PHOTO CREDIT: Jori Avlis
Used by permission under the following license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Image cropped to fit.