While I sojourned through the jungles of jr. high and high school, I lost my wallet six times. Each time, I had to re-order my driver’s permit or license, my social security card, and my hunter’s safety card. One occurrence, while I was passing out the latest gorgeous portraits of yours truly, someone stole my wallet from its position on the top of my desk. I stood up at the front of the class and demanded my wallet back. I announced, “Keep the money and return the wallet to the principal’s office—no questions asked.” It never showed up. Of course, losing my own wallet was a frustrating matter. However, my dad would always seem more frustrated about it than I would. He would say, “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached to your body.”
Interestingly, that wasn’t the only thing my father said regarding my head. When I was in sixth grade, I concluded that it would be thrilling to ride a broken skateboard in the middle of the street, down the hill next to our house. Unaware of the car bearing a patient driver behind me, I proceeded down the hill in a slow, but steady manner. Seeing this display of idiocy, my dad stepped out on the front porch and yelled, “Shawn, pull your head out of your butt.” Once again, my absent-mindedness, tendency to be easily distracted, and inability to focus contributed to frustration…more so the frustration of my father than myself…but frustration nevertheless. If I continued to lose sight of the vital things in my life or if I had remained unaware of the dangers that surrounded me—if I kept my head inside my own butt—I would have become more and more vulnerable to destruction. On the other hand, keeping my wits, avoiding distractions, and focusing on that which protects me from the enemy, could prove to be lifesaving.
Helmets protect our melons—they keep our extremely vulnerable minds from being squashed like a pumpkin on All Hallows’ Eve. In battle, the helmet protected the Roman soldier from downward cuts and glancing blows. The helmet also protected the soldier from falling debris or projectiles from catapults. The enemy knows how weak our minds actually are—he’s been tempting us for many millennia. He knows how frequently we all ride down the middle of the street on broken skateboards with our heads up our own butts…and he thrives on it. Salvation is an ongoing process. The Apostle Paul’s soteriology (the study of salvation) was “already—not yet.” The Scriptures teach that upon a confessing faith in Jesus, his death and resurrection, we are “already” saved from the consequences of sin. Faith in Christ saves us from eternal death (Romans 6:23; 8:1). However, that confessing faith is “not yet” complete. Salvation is an ongoing journey—a process of spiritual maturity that will eventually culminate once we see Christ face to face. Paul writes:
“The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
In a nutshell, Paul is instructing us to remember that our salvation is a process toward completion. It involves loving others as ourselves, behaving decently, and keeping our heads out of our own butts. Wearing the helmet of salvation is consistently keeping our minds in tact by remembering that we were once sinners on our way to destruction, and by the grace of God we were saved by believing in His Son. As we remain walking on this planet, we continuously profess our loyalty to Christ as our Lord—as our General. Salvation is our confidence and assurance that our General will always be there to protect us from the enemy. Wearing the helmet of salvation protects our mind from the enemy’s attacks. Doubt, fear, carelessness, the desires of the flesh, sticking our heads up our own butts…all these things can thwart our journey and progression toward the arms of Christ. By wearing the helmet of salvation, we prevent the downward cuts, glancing blows, falling debris, and flailing projectiles from squashing our melons and keeping us from the hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.