Watch Your Head!
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
~ Acts 16:31
Perhaps the most common thing someone says when letting someone else hold a newborn baby is, “Watch his/her head!” Why? Because a baby’s head is extremely fragile. They have not yet developed the muscle tone in their neck to be able to hold it up or really control it much at all. Their skull hasn’t fully formed and hardened to protect their brain. So we cradle a newborn baby in our arms telling young siblings to be careful and gentle.
The need to protect our heads doesn’t go away when we get older. Perhaps that need isn’t always appreciated properly, but it is still there. It’s why certain sports require helmets. It’s why we duck when we think something might hit us in the head. Our bodies are designed to reinforce this instinct. We experience pain, something pretty much no one finds enjoyable, when something hits our head thus motivating us to avoid letting something hit our head in the future. There are an incredible amount of blood vessels in our head which cause us to bleed when we break the skin which covers our head. Our eyes and ears are both located on our head giving our senses of sight and sound the best chance of detecting an approaching danger to our head.
All of this is because our heads are important. The reality is that if our head is severely damaged or injured, the rest of our body has a hard time functioning. Doctors can use machines to keep us breathing, re-start our hearts, and do surgery to repair most of our internal organs. We can even survive losing some of our internal organs or our limbs. But when our brain is damaged there is very little they are able to do to help. It is important to protect our heads.
The Roman soldier also knew the importance of protecting their head. The helmet was the last piece of armor they put on their body. It was also one of the most personal pieces of armor as it was made for each individual soldier. It needed to fit correctly so, when on, the soldier was still able to see, hear, and move their head freely. It needed be solid enough to protect the soldier from a direct blow to the head but not so heavy to cause them to be unable to lift their head for the entire duration of the battle. For a soldier to go into battle without their helmet meant almost certain death. Similarly, the last piece of spiritual armor the Christian is called to put on is their helmet of salvation.
At first glance this can seem rather odd. Why would we put on salvation? Wouldn’t a Christian already be saved? Most scholars agree that Paul isn’t talking about the act of trusting and believing in Jesus when he is talking about the helmet of salvation. Rather, Paul is referring to the hope of salvation, to living life with confidence that God will work in and through us because we are His adopted children. Putting on our helmet is an acknowledgement that salvation isn’t’ exclusively about deliverance from sin or living in eternity with God, but living forever AS A CHILD OF GOD.
Putting on our helmet each day protects us from doubting our salvation. Perhaps one of Satan’s greatest weapons is causing us to doubt the promises of God, including the promise of our salvation. You can see the doubt creeping in when you start to wonder if you are “good enough” or “worthy enough” to call yourself a Christian. Or when you judge your faith, and the faith of others, more by the actions easily seen than the condition of their heart. Or when you are terrified of death because you feel like can’t know for sure what comes next.
Those who are confident in their salvation, who have daily put on their spiritual helmet for many, many years, live their life confidently as a child of God. They have no fear of death because they are confident they will find themselves dwelling in heaven with God. They know that nothing they have done or ever could do earns salvation because Jesus paid the price with his death on the cross. They humbly acknowledge that they are not perfect but striving to be a little closer to the person God has called them to be with passing day. They are confident that they are forgiven and nothing they do will cause God to stop loving them. Their hope is not in anything this world has to offer but in anchored firmly in the promises of God.
So before you step out the door, don’t forget to put on your helmet.
Follow Up –
- It’s easy to be confident in our faith when things are going well. It’s a little harder when life keeps throwing us curve ball after curve ball. Challenge yourself to really, honestly take the hardest stuff you are facing to God in prayer on a daily basis. Over time you will develop a habit of looking to God and trusting him for the answers making it harder and harder for whispers of doubt to be heard.
- A common saying I have heard is, “Whenever life feels overwhelming, I just pick up my Bible and read the last chapter to remind myself: God wins.” Find a way to remind yourself that, ultimately, God wins.
- To be focused on salvation is to be focused on something we will not fully experience on this earth because it can only be fully experienced in heaven, in eternity. Ask God to show you his eternal perspective for those things which cause you fear and/or anxiety.