No. 301. Thanksgiving and the Helmet of Salvation.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No. 301. Thanksgiving and the Helmet of Salvation.

We were talking yesterday about the need to be aware of allowing the information that we gather throughout each day to trigger the ‘old man’ reactions in us. Things like jealousy, anger, impatience, lust/greed, etc. This is especially the case in our 21st century digital age when so much information is coming at us, right into our homes and private lives 24/7. The world of social media, particularly the advertising sector, is designed to make us feel inadequate, discontented and hungry for all kinds of things that we don’t really want or need. {Limiting its access to our minds is therefore not a bad idea.}

The advice the psalmist gave, in a far less media intrusive age, was to make sure that God’s words are hidden in our hearts, Psalm 119:11. The Message paraphrase of those verses reads like this. ‘Don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.’  If we have done that, if we have stored the word of God in our heart and mind it will there for us to check out any reaction that we might have, in order to see where it is coming from. So, for example, if I spend time meditating on and memorizing the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22, when I am tempted to react with ‘my old man’ in a situation, I can take note and take action.

My friend and helper the lovely Holy Spirit can use that word that I have stored up in my heart to help me. This is not in order that I should feel condemned, or in order to make me try a bit harder to be like Jesus, but so that I can recognise when it is the ‘old me’ reacting. When I recognise that the ‘old me’ is starting to react, that then is the time to radically make that choice to i) ‘reckon that the old me is dead’, Romans 6:11. ii) turn to the Lord, thanking Him that I am now a ‘new creature in Christ’, and iii) invite and allow the Holy Spirit to infuse and fill the new ‘born again’ me. Then I can produce that good fruit, and that will now increasingly become my natural, and eventually my new normal.

Paul’s advice to the Ephesians was that they should be ‘made new in the attitude of your minds’, Ephesians 4:23, and to the Romans he wrote ‘be transformed by the renewing of your minds’. Romans 12:2. In Proverbs, we are told that if you are around someone who is ‘mean in their thoughts’ don’t be surprised if that is how they behave. ‘As he thinks in his heart, so is he’. Proverbs 23:7. Even modern psychologists, (who usually take a while to catch up with biblical truth!!) now teach people, (by way of therapy), that the thoughts that we allow into our minds and agree with, will affect how we feel, and also how we then behave.

In C.S.Lewis book The Screwtape letters, he depicts an older devil teaching a young devil how to make sure that the information he feeds into the human’s mind and spirit, to whom he is assigned, does just that. The young devil is taught how to whisper lies and half-truths into the human’s mind to bring temptation and agreement with ‘the old man’, which will eventually then lead to bad fruit in thought, word and deed.

So this is why we need that ‘helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’. Ephesians 6:17. It is interesting to note that these two pieces of armour are mentioned together in the same verse in this famous passage describing the spiritual armour that is ours ‘in Christ’. The helmet defends our minds against those lies and insinuations of the enemy. It helps us repell the temptations and provocations to react from the ‘old me’. While the ‘Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God’, helps us to see what is the truth from God’s point of view.

If Eve had trusted in, and used, God’s words to her correctly, she could have fought off the devil with his insinuations, but she made the wrong choice as we know. If I can store up God’s word in my heart, making sure that my mind is being renewed by the Spirit, I am more likely to recognise when the enemy is tempting me to go down the wrong path in my mind. I can then ask the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth, and show me the better way. John 16:13.

In those moments when we are feeling under pressure by external circumstances, or by the ruminations in our own minds, let us press a pause button, by giving thanks to God that we do have ‘the mind of Christ’, that we can choose now how to react, and that we have not just the helmet of our Salvation to protect our mind but that we also have the mighty sword of the spirit to cut down any enemy lies with the truth. Then above all let us thank the Lord that he has given us His Holy Spirit, to check us and remind us what ‘good fruit’ looks like, to lead us into all truth, and to infill us and enable us to produce that fruit and live as those ‘new people’, who we now are, giving glory to Jesus.


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