I never served in the military, so I never wore a soldier's helmet. When I was about 13 years old my dad got us a mini bike. I rode that thing all around the country roads where we lived, but I never wore a helmet. I went out for the 7th grade football team. I don't believe they cut anyone who tried out. I had a helmet, but never got into a single game, so I never wore a helmet in a football game.
It's a wonder I'm still in my right mind! (Of course, sometimes my family wonders that, too!)
Helmets are for protecting the head and the brain. A traumatic head injury can leave us severely limited in thinking, movement and speech. My mind thinks through things and brings order into my life. A messed up mind leads to a messed up life.
Scripture speaks of the need for renewal of our minds. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)
A Godly mind does not conform to the patterns of the world's thinking. The world tries to convince us that life is all about me. I have to look out for number one. I am urged to be true to myself. Frank Sinatra's classic song proclaims, "I Did It My Way." My individual self is the highest authority in the world's thinking. But that doesn't match what God calls us to.
A Godly mind, rather, is transformed by the renewal of God's Spirit. A Godly mind is transformed to be like Jesus. Jesus did not live His life for Himself. He lived His life for others. Jesus gave His life away. Jesus sacrificed His life on the Cross for the sins of the world. A Godly mind is so fixed on our love for God that we love others with God's love and think of others before ourselves.
Shirley and I had lunch at a nice restaurant yesterday. The server took our drink orders. He brought our drinks and the complimentary stuff that restaurant offers its guests. He took our order, then disappeared. We noticed after he left the table that he did not bring us small plates for the complimentary stuff. We waited. And we waited. We were feeling abandoned. Finally at one point the server came by us to tend to something at another table. I got his attention and asked for small plates. He apologized, brought us the plates, and tended our table more attentively throughout the rest of the meal.
We felt neglected compared to the usual service of that restaurant. We talked about the delay. We didn't castigate the server. We wondered if something had happened in the kitchen or with another table that distracted him. Because we thought of him and not just about him, we didn't get especially angry or rude. I believe that is the work of the Holy Spirit, transforming our minds to think like Jesus, even in simple, everyday things.
The helmet of the Armor of God is the helmet of salvation. Having a right relationship with God through faith in His Son saves us. It also begins the process of transforming us. Knowing we belong to Jesus protects our minds from the accusations of the enemy of our souls.
When Satan whispers, "You'll never be good enough," the Holy Spirit counters, "You are a beloved child of God." When Satan says, "God could never love you," Jesus says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
Faith does not know what storms lie ahead, but faith knows Who holds us in His strong hands when the storms rage. Faith understands that the entirety of the years of this life compared to eternity are like one sentence in a novel. Faith believes death is not the end, and eternal life awaits those who trust in and follow Jesus. The helmet of our salvation transforms our minds. That's a very good thing, because messed up minds lead to messed up lives. And transformed minds lead to transformed lives.
Come, Holy Spirit. Transform our minds to make us more like Jesus.