Our marriages need protecting. And God has provided us with His full armor to keep us safe and make us strong. This Couples’ Bible Study series looks at each piece of armor as seen in Ephesians 6:10-20 and how it helps us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
This week we want to study the fifth piece of armor that God reveals to us through Paul’s writing in Ephesians 6:17a: “Take the helmet of salvation.” What exactly does he mean, and why has he waited so far into the list to include this?
Well, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I’ve saved the best for last.” For instance, my wife prepares and serves dinner. And I tell her, “Honey, that was absolutely wonderful.” To which she replies something like, “I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I’ve saved the best for last.” Then she brings out the pièce de résistance–my absolute favorite dessert.
Perhaps that’s what Paul is doing here–saving the best for last. Except this is not the last piece of armor he writes about. He has two more to go. But the final three combined certainly are of utmost importance–salvation, the Word of God, and prayer. So let’s focus today on the first of these–our salvation.
Salvation is not something that just takes place at one time in our lives. The moment we give ourselves to Christ–whether recently or many years ago–He does forgive us of all our sin forever. But our life with Him is only beginning. I gave my life to Christ almost 50 years ago, but I have been living with and for Him ever since.
This salvation gives us the first and foremost tool we need to live the Christian life. It is what allows us to take our stand day in and day out “against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). God uses the Holy Spirit to lead us to His gift of salvation. And then when we receive this salvation, He sends His Spirit to live within us forever–with all His armor needed to stand firm against Satan’s attacks.
In Galatians 4:4-5, Paul wrote that God sent Jesus so we could be saved from eternal death–which we deserve because we are sinners–and so we can be adopted into His family when we accept Him as our Savior. Paul then goes on to say: “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:6-7).
We have this Holy Spirit when we give our lives to Christ, as Jesus promised in John 16:13: “‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.’” With the Holy Spirit living in us, we can fight off the attacks of Satan. All our past sins are forgiven and He gives us strength to overcome sin today and in the future.
Protecting Our Minds
Where does Satan focus many of his attacks? It is in our minds. He certainly attacks our bodies, our finances, our emotions, and, yes, certainly our marriages. But in all of those, he is attacking our thoughts.
If we get some serious illness, for example, we may begin thinking God doesn’t care about us or wonder why would He let us become so ill? What if we get into financial trouble? If God loves us, He’ll remove the situation, right? Isn’t this what we hear taught by preachers on TV all the time? And if God doesn’t bail us out, then Satan starts attacking our minds with thoughts like, “God doesn’t really care for you.” Reread how he attacked Adam and Eve that way in Genesis 3:1-7.
If Satan can attack those things, he believes he can make us think terrible things about our co-workers, friends, fellow church family, and even our own family members–including our spouse. This can lead us to begin thinking terrible things about God as well.
When successful, Satan has us going down a destructive path. A path that can lead to the destruction of our marriage. I have counseled many couples who are on such a path. This is why we are warned in Scripture about the need to guard our mind.
We find this truth again and again in God’s Word. Paul warns us about the importance of this to our Christian walk in Philippians 4:8: “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.”
Can you honestly say this is true in your life? Is it true about what you read, what you watch on TV, what you look at on the internet, what you listen to on the radio?
I am pointing the finger at myself first. Is it helping my walk with Christ? Is it helping my marriage to grow? If not, it is probably hurting them. So why do I keep them in my life? Why am I taking down defenses God has given me, and giving weapons for Satan to use against me, my precious marriage, and my walk with my Lord?
We also have this instruction from Paul in Colossians 3:1-2: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Am I living by this command from God?
If my life and marriage are a mess, I have no excuse for wondering “why” when I don’t follow God’s truths. James warns us about this in James 1:13-15: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
When our marriages have problems, we need to look to God for the solutions. Don’t look to God as a scapegoat or a cause. That will get you nowhere, except playing right into Satan’s hands and continuing down the path of destruction.
Instead, God gives us the solution in Romans 12:2: “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.”
Again, the answer is in our minds and our way of thinking, as clearly stated 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.”
The weapons we have are the full armor given us by God Himself. This includes the helmet of salvation that protects our minds–our thoughts. This protection keeps us focused on Him and His way–the only way that leads to the strong marriage we want and He desires for us.
Christ’s way is through that helmet of salvation. He tells us about it in Matthew 7:13-14: “‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’” If you are still trying it your way, you do not have the helmet you need for your life and marriage. You can find out how to put on that helmet of God’s salvation here.
We learn how to have the mind of Christ, and how to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ as we study God’s Word.. This is the only way to have the beautiful marriage God has designed for us. That’s why next week we will study the penultimate piece of armor God promises us in Ephesians 6:17: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Questions for Discussion
- Read the post together, focusing carefully on the Scriptures. Discuss together the importance of salvation to your marriage. If either of you have not surrendered your life to Christ, or are uncertain about your salvation, go here.
- Honestly discuss together the things that you watch (TV, movies, etc.), what you listen to, what you read, etc. How do they impact you? Discuss ways you may need to change some of this.
- Confess to each other any thought problems you might be struggling with. It may seem too minor to mention, or too great to admit to your spouse, but it is important you work together. Listen with love and compassion to each other’s struggles. Do not become angry or blow them off as too insignificant. Pray for each other’s struggles. Commit to continue to pray for each other in the week ahead. Commit to check with each other, and to hold each other accountable. Do not become angry when your spouse inquires about how you’re doing during the week ahead. Thank them for being true to the commitment they have made.
- Commit to God and each other that you will be good stewards of your time, and study God’s Word together and as individuals instead of watching so much TV, etc. Use Couple Connect for your time together. (You can download our free ebook here: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.) Commit to hold each other accountable in a loving way to spending time individually with the Lord.
May God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other post in the PROTECTING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE ARMOR OF GOD series:
Part 1–We’re in a Battle
Part 2–The Belt of Truth
Part 3–The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 4–The Shoes of God’s Peace
Part 5–The Shield of Faith
Part 7–The Sword of the Spirit
Part 8–The Power of Prayer
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.