Priscilla Shirer made a good analogy in the devotional section I read today. She compared a football player’s helmet to the helmet of salvation.
You see, when a football player’s helmet is knocked off or even just knocked loose, he needs to step off the playing field for a bit–check his helmet, make sure nothing’s damaged, reposition the helmet firmly on his head, maybe sit on the bench and rest for awhile. Then he can jump back into the game.
Why? Because the helmet is vitally important. Without it, he most likely won’t score the winning touchdown; without it, he won’t be able to play right; without it, he’ll be seriously injured. He can’t play without his helmet.
And we can’t “play the game” without our helmets. The enemy, the opposing team, will come at us with lies and doubts: you’re not good enough; you’re not loved, you’re unlovable; you’re not really forgiven; etc. Maybe we’ll sometimes (or a lot of times) get tripped or tackled to the ground.
But when we’ve got helmets of salvation on. . . the enemy can’t really hurt us. We’re protected. We can tuck our heads down, body-slam him out of the way, and cross the goal-line. The helmet is vitally important.
Maybe sometimes our helmets will be knocked loose. Maybe–quite likely, at some point or another–we’ll doubt our salvation; we’ll forget exactly who we are in Christ, and what He’s done for us. We might forget His promises, forget the freedoms we’ve been given, forget that salvation is also for the here and now instead of just ensuring we go to Heaven for eternity.
That’s when we need to step off the playing field. Leave the “game” for a bit. Check our helmets, reposition them firmly on our heads. Maybe sit and rest for awhile. Then jump back in and start striving again.
I keep coming back to the idea of sitting out for a time, of resting.
Sometimes the football player will want to just tighten his helmet and plunge back onto the field, but his coach will make him sit down. Take a drink, take some deep breaths, take a break. Make sure you’re not hurt. Give your body some time. Now you can go.
And perhaps that’s what we Christians need to do.
We got hit and our helmet was knocked loose. Maybe we just want to tighten it and plunge back onto the field. “I’ve got to get back out there, Coach! I’ve got to fight them, gotta make that touchdown, gotta–“
“No.” Our Coach won’t let us. “Not right now. Sit down. Take some deep breaths, take a break. Give yourself some time. Your teammates are still out there, resisting and defending and going on the offense and making touchdowns. It’s okay. Just rest.”
It’s hard to fight when you’re hurt. When your head’s spinning and your vision’s blurring. When the breath’s knocked out of you. You’ve got to sit and rest.
But I feel fine, you protest. My helmet was just cockeyed; I fixed it. I’m good now, so let me back in the game.
Maybe the adrenaline is just covering the problems. Maybe you feel fine now but will pass out later, in the middle of the game. You’ve got to sit and rest. Make sure nothing’s damaged. Listen to your Coach; trust He knows best (because He does).
Your teammates are still out there. Your Coach is still watching, still directing, still in control. The outcome of the whole game is already determined; your side will win.
So sit. Rest. Breathe.
Then get back out there!