(Day 6 of our 8-day study, “The Struggle”, on the armor of God)
My one-year-old son loves the toilet, so I wasn’t surprised when he had an earth-shattering melt down when I lovingly diverted him from the “John.”
He screamed, crawled between my legs, banged on the door, and tried to squeeze under it. He was determined to get back to that commode even if he had to fight me.
My hardheaded child made me think of an obstinate woman in the book of Mark. She had been dealing with an “issue of blood,” for twelve years (Mark 5:25). We can assume that since she had been bleeding for 12 years without dying, this was a menstruation problem.
First of all, that is just terrible.
And secondly, according to Jewish culture, a woman who was menstruating was considered unclean and should be separated from society during that time, in her case-- more than a decade.
But then she heard of Jesus.
He was traveling, thronged on all sides by his disciples, followers, priests, believers, and highly respected religious people. Who was she, the unclean, to speak to him?
Regardless, she clawed her way through the crowd. Desperate, determined, and totally taboo, she managed to reach out and touch the hem of his garment.
She was healed… her faith had made her whole (Mark 5:34).
While my son's tussle with me would ultimately lead him to yucky disappointment, her relentless pursuit of hope led her to victory.
Dear mother, what is deep within your mind that itches each day, calling you to take up arms and fight against the tide?
Is it that neighbor that needs Jesus, but you don’t have the guts to walk across the street?
Is it that habit that you are dying to kick, but it keeps getting easier to let it slide one last time?
Is it a bold prayer of healing that you don’t believe is possible?
God has given you the same relentless drive and determination to overcome these struggles as the woman with the disease in the form of the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17). No, not a, metal head covering used on a battlefield, but a tool used in spiritual warfare, and with it you will achieve her same victory-- a closeness to Christ.
But how do you use it?
The helmet of salvation protects your mind; it is the first line of defense when facing a battle head-on. It protects your thoughts from doubt, disbelief and ideas of unworthiness because your salvation is secure in the fact that it was a gift and had nothing to do with your ability to earn it. Once you have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, your sin is dead once and for all (Romans 6:10).
Believe there is a solution.
The helmet of salvation protects your eyes and gives you clear vision of the battles in front of you. Once you have received this amazing gift, the Holy Spirit gives you the power of discernment. You have the ability to see your battles with new eyes and you can effectively find a way to overcome them while giving God all the glory (Philippians 1:9-10).
Focus on the goal.
The helmet of salvation protects your ears and allows you to hear from the One that can cast all doubts aside. How many times have you not fought for something because you were told it’s impossible? The world, Satan, and even your very own human nature will tell you that you should give up; you are weak and like the poor woman-- dirty, but with salvation you are washed, sanctified and justified by your Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 6:11).
Ignore the naysayers.
With Christ you have the power to face your battles with a hard head. Take up your helmet and elbow your way through the throng of doubts, temptations, and obstacles that lay between you and the victory that is found in Jesus.
In order to achieve victory over struggles, you must trust Jesus, the giver of your salvation, to prepare you with the confidence, drive, and determination to face them head-on. Have faith in your own salvation so that thoughts of doubt and fear have no place in your mind, and focus on your goals with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).
1) Think of instances where you have been called or pushed to fight against all odds. What is keeping you from making that first step towards victory?
2) Take a few moments to encourage yourself. Make a list of battles you have already won, thank Jesus for the courage to overcome them, and know that you have it in you to do it again!
Thank you Jesus for offering me the gift of salvation. I am eternally grateful for what you went through to give it to me. Please help me be firm when facing hard decisions, doubt, and daunting situations that seem out of my control. Help me to face them with the confidence of knowing that you have my back by covering my head. In Jesus’ name, Amen.