"Bunker Up - Part 4"
"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 (NIV)
One of my most favorite studies is on putting on the “full armor of God.” A little over six years ago, I wrote an eight-week series on these verses from Ephesians. I wanted to re-work them a little and re-present them in our now-monthly format. So, rather than taking eight months, we will look at these verses over a four month period. This is the fourth installment of the series. If you missed the first three, check out the STRESS RELIEF archives.
This month, we will look at two more things: “The White Helmet” and “Offensive or Defensive Attack.”
We have been studying the above verses and learning about GOD’s personal protective gear. The SOG for Life, The Bible, calls this PPE ‘the whole armor of GOD.’ Today, we will look at the “helmet of salvation” and the “sword of the spirit.”
First - “The helmet.”
Some of the more memorable times I have had on a fireground as a Chaplain happened when I would show up on scene when one of my favorite captains was there. You see, he couldn’t stand to see a clean helmet… especially when my Chaplain’s white helmet was new. Every time he would see me on scene, he would grab my helmet, walk over to some charred area and rub my helmet in the soot! He would come back and hand me my helmet with a big smile on his face.
The funniest instance was during salvage and overhaul on a house fire. The origin had been in the kitchen. Cans of food had exploded everywhere due to the fire. Well, my buddy grabbed my helmet, as usual, and disappeared inside the smoking ruins. When he came back, the top of my helmet was covered in soot… and bits of creamed corn! It was hilarious. Now, when he sees me, he simply asks, “Got any corn?”
The helmet is one of the most recognizable features of modern-day bunker gear. When something thinks, “what is a fireman?,” I believe two images immediately pop into mind - a big red truck and a firefighter’s helmet. And, the helmet has been part of our history of the fire service… think about the tall, leather helmets like the one worn by Benjamin Franklin.
There are all sorts of helmets… for firefighters, bikers, skateboarders, military… well, the list goes on. The helmet is designed to protect our brain… our mind. You have read it and heard it on the news following an accident, “If they had only been wearing a helmet.”
I believe that is exactly what the “helmet of salvation” is for… to protect our mind from the thoughts that our enemy throws at us. Thoughts like; “you’re never going to fall in love” or ” you’ve been too bad a person for CHRIST to love you.” The devil bombards your mind with every distraction he can come up with to keep you away from a relationship with GOD. But, we can put on our “helmet of salvation” - our promise from GOD that our REAL CHIEF provided for our salvation by dying on the cross for us. We can never be “good enough” or “earn our way” into Heaven. Only when we cry out to GOD and ask forgiveness and accept HIS free gift of salvation can we “put on” our helmet… the “ultimate white helmet” of the salvation HE made available to us.
Next, let’s look at the “Sword of the Spirit.”
You might remember that the pieces of armor, the PPE of GOD, have, for the most part, been defensive equipment. Just like in the fire service - our helmets, bunker gear, boots, gloves, air packs… are all designed to protect us. But, our REAL CHIEF also issues us a “hoseline” called the “sword of the SPIRIT, which is the word of GOD - the Bible.”
A hoseline, as you know, can be used both offensively - to “slay” the fire - and defensively- a fog pattern - to keep the “the enemy” off of you. Well, so it is with GOD’s hoseline for us… HIS Word. The Scriptures can be used to keep evil, our real enemy, at bay. The Word of GOD is also used as a weapon to fight the spiritual battle that rages on in each of our lives.
Our REAL CHIEF knew this… you might remember that early in HIS ministry on earth, HE was out in the desert and our enemy, Satan, went on the attack by tempting CHRIST. Here is what happened;
"After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ “
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ “
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:2-11 NIV)
Notice that each time the devil would strike with his sword of lies, our REAL CHIEF struck back with Scripture… with the Word of GOD. Notice, too, that the enemy even knows Scripture and tries to use that against JESUS. But, our LORD stuck back with THE SWORD. Can you see the sparks flying and the hear the clang of the swords in this battle?
We have been equipped, fellow soldiers. Well equipped. We now have the most powerful weapon known - HIS Word. Study this weapon. Get to the point where it is studied daily. Become proficient in its’ use.
So, brothers and sisters of the badge and of the faith. Put on ALL of your gear. Put on the “whole armor of GOD.” Then, we will be prepared to stand…
…On HIS Shift,
Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.
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2012 Year to date Stats as of Aug 26th:
Total Contacts - 2521
Total Hrs Worked - 2705
Total Hrs On Call - 9348
Miles Driven - 20108