Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
The last piece of armor that I believe we would “put on” is the helmet of salvation. Not that it is less important, but practically, when getting dressed, we put on a hat after we put on our shirt. At least I would, if I wore hats.
What does a helmet protect? Our head, of course, a very vital part of our anatomy! Our head contains our brain, our mind! It is our control center, sending signals to all the various body parts – our heart to keep pumping blood, our legs to take us from here to there, our facial muscles so we can smile or frown, and so on. If the head is gone, we’re dead!
We’ve already learned that the enemy is a liar. And he tries to mess with our minds! That is one of his main tactics. He even used it on Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus was baptized. What did Jesus do? He refuted the lies and temptations with the Word of God.
Our situation is a bit different. Jesus could see Satan. He could see his “lips.” And we know that if Satan’s lips are moving, he’s lying. Every time! We can’t “see” Satan (and I’m not sure we’d want to.) That is why I believe scripture tells us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) What exactly does this look like? Let’s explore.
The gospel of John contains many references to truth. Right from the beginning, John writes, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The Greek word translated as truth is aletheia. Strong’s G225 defines this as “what is true in any matter under consideration.” Merriam-Webster lists the meaning as “the body of real things, events, and facts: actuality.”
Later, in chapter 14, John writes, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Jesus isn’t just saying He speaks truth, He is saying He IS Truth. He is reality.
Our thoughts are influenced by everything we experience through our five senses – past and present. We may forget what someone said to us years ago, consciously, but those words are still buried in our subconscious mind. Not everything said to us or about us is true. And not everything we hear, read, or think is true. There are LOTS of opinions out there! Opinions are not truth.
The writer of Romans warns us, 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)
Part of renewing our mind is knowing what God says is true and letting that override what the world says. No matter how it looks, the Word of God is always true.
But sometimes, we’ve heard the lies so long, we don’t know they are lies. A good example of this is “God helps those who help themselves.” Sounds good, but not in scripture. God helps those who can’t help themselves. God helps us even when we’re not doing everything we should. God helps us to know what we can do and what we cannot. After all, Jesus said He would send us the Helper, Holy Spirit – and He has!
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5,
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
So, the question is, “How do we bring every thought captive so we aren’t conformed to this world?”
Be aware of what you are thinking.
How? First, choose what you think.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 Emphasis mine) We can choose the thoughts we think!
Second, be aware of your what you are feeling. Are you fearful, angry, anxious, depressed?
If you are fearful, what are you thinking about? Suppose you are watching the evening news. There are troubles here and everywhere. You feel yourself getting anxious, fearful of what the future holds for you and your family. Even if you choose to turn off the news, your mind still churns with “what if’s.” You can choose to redirect your mind and heart from “what if’s” to “But God.” Yes, this is happening, that is happening, the enemy is at work in people and the world, “But God!” He is faithful. He is mighty. He is not caught unaware by any of this. He is faithful to His promises. He is our provider. Jesus defeated death and hell on the cross. He has promised to guide, protect and provide. And so much more!
If you are angry, what or whom are you angry with? And what are your thoughts feeding these emotions? Have you forgiven? Give those hurts to God. Forgiveness puts the “payback” in God’s hands, not yours. Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12.)
If you are feeling rejected, Jesus chose you from before the foundation of the world. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)
If you are feeling insecure, picture yourself surrounded by His loving arms and angels He has assigned to you. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11)
Are you feeling unworthy, full of shame, guilty – even though you’ve received Jesus as your Savior? He paid for ALL our sins, once and for all, forever.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Satan is a liar, and the accuser!
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down. (Rev 12:10)
So, after we take notice of our thoughts and emotions, we must choose to remember what God has said, over the lies of the enemy. Quote scripture, even if it’s not word-for-word. (You’re not going to use the Hebrew or Greek words of the original text anyhow, so don’t worry about quoting exactly.)
For example, Psalm 91:1-2 says:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Focus on what God says. “I will say of the Lord” …. I will focus on what He says. I will meditate – chew – on His words. The “saying” is important. Not only are you thinking the truth, but you are hearing yourself SAY the truth. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17) The spoken word releases power into the atmosphere. Are we speaking God’s truth or the negative lies? Speak His Truth!
Sometimes we just need to preach to ourselves!