Fully Clothed, Spiritually Speaking
Read Thessalonians Chapter 5
1Th 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
Pr 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In this small verse from Thessalonians, Paul gave us some deep thoughts. Even though he didn’t say it in these words, his message was clear. We must guard our hearts and minds. The verses from Proverbs and Philippians echo the message. Our hearts and minds are where our decisions are born and nourished. Our hearts and minds are where we store our values, morals, and our deepest beliefs. From the very beginning of our lives, two forces have been battling for control of our hearts and minds – God and His enemy.
As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he wrote from the assumption that Christ had become the dominant force which had won their hearts and minds. Under that premise, he gave them some great tips on how to maintain their belief and trust in Jesus. Our hearts are not yet made perfect; therefore they must be carefully guarded so that they will remain firmly planted in truth, or more correctly stated, in Truth.
His first admonition was that they should be self-controlled. I know some men who have taken the stance that God is 100% responsible for their ability to remain pure. There is some truth to that, in that without the Holy Spirit within us we would immediately revert to our old ways of a sinful life. However, it’s not quite that cut and dried. We have a responsibility as well. We still have the ability to make wrong choices in life. That being the case, we have to constantly be on guard against making those wrong choices. Self-control is something we do, with God’s help. We call upon Him in our times of temptation, asking Him to safely guide us through them.
Next, Paul asked his readers to put on faith and love as a breastplate. A breastplate protects the heart. If a Christian continues to have faith in Christ and love Him as commanded, our hearts are protected. The man or woman who knows that God will never desert them will be much less likely to make wrong choices in life. The man or woman who loves God and loves others (the two greatest commandments) will add another layer of protection over his or her heart. We cannot keep ourselves sexually pure if we have little faith and little love. Both are necessary to guard our hearts.
Lastly, he reminded the Thessalonians to put on the hope of salvation as a helmet. This one touches me most. For much of my life I questioned and even doubted my salvation. It is extremely difficult to effectively carry on in the Christian life if there is doubt about one’s salvation. Without the hope of eternal salvation, why would anyone wish to follow Christ and adhere to His word? Without that hope, who would have any reason to follow Christ? That’s the reason He came to earth and suffered on the cross.
We must firmly attach ourselves to the truth from God’s word; that truth which gives us solid proof of our eternal destiny. If God said it, we can count on it with an unwavering assurance. There are numerous bible verses which give us complete confidence that we belong to Him. (If anyone wants a list of some of those verses, message me). There is no reason to question God’s word. As we gain more and more assurance of our own personal salvation, we are putting on our helmets. Our mind will then be impervious to the wiles of our enemy. We will confidently continue to defeat our same-sex temptations, and we will confidently continue down our road to purity. We will not abandon our journey out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
Prayer: Lord, help us to keep our breastplates and helmets on. We are weak, and without them we will not stand. We thank You that promises abound in Your word which can keep us fully supplies with faith, love, and assurance of salvation. And, with those promises, we have all we need to remain self-controlled.