In the movie (I was going to say “old movie”, but I’m not sure if something from 2000 qualifies as old), “X2: X-Men United”, the villain Magneto explains to another mutant that his signature helmet prevents his rival (Professor Xavier, a telepath) from reading his mind:
Pyro: That’s a dorky looking helmet. What’s it for?
Magneto: This “dorky looking helmet” is the only thing that’s going to protect me from the REAL bad guys.
Of course, this is from a work of fiction: We know that Ian McKellen can’t move metal around with his mind, and Patrick Stewart can’t read our thoughts. (Having said that, imagine what these actors’ other characters could have done with those superpowers!)
However, there is a real sense where we need protection from external forces:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
If we’re playing in a sport or taking up an activity that puts our cranium in danger, we generally know how to protect ourselves. A solid helmet, with the right accessories (like padding, a face mask, or even a radio), will usually do the job.
However, unlike Magneto, even a solid metal helmet can’t protect our thoughts or our feelings (depending on how we interpret “heart” in the proverb above). I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of “voices” that try to get into my head. This isn’t the kind of voices that Magneto tries to avoid, though, nor is it the same as those who suffer – in a very non-fictional way – from certain mental conditions. Instead, I think that there are many negative messages and words that are whispering or shouting for our attention, ranging from the din of marketing and commercials, to the temptations of evil forces. These voices tell us that we aren’t good enough or that we aren’t loved enough. While those trying to sell us good or services just want our money, Satan wants something much, much more valuable: to keep our souls (or the souls of others) apart from God.
When it comes to advertising, we can just usually switch it off (and maybe read a book, instead). Still, that won’t protect us against all evil messages and temptations. Thankfully, the Bible gives us guidance on how to protect ourselves from threats that are not corporeal. Consider this verse, for instance:
But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 NLT
Now, I must be careful to not make the Bible say something that it does not. These are metaphors for what happens in the battle between God and evil. However, here are a couple of thoughts:
For one thing, our salvation is the ultimate way to refute voices that tell us that God doesn’t love us. As John 3:16 and so many other passages in the Bible explain to us, God loves us an incredible amount, even when we were sinful (see Romans 5:6-8). In fact, He loved us so much that He came to earth, and gave up a perfect life for our salvation, securing our place in Heaven once and for all.
Any message that says we “aren’t good enough…” to be restored into a healthy, eternal relationship with the holy God is only fully correct when it finishes with “…on our own”. We are absolutely not worthy of God’s salvation, but He offers it to us freely anyway. We honor and glorify Him when we accept that gift, and when we live in the freedom that it gives us.
Secondly, we can push aside the wrong voices by filling up our minds with the truth. Pouring as much of God’s Word into ourselves by reading and listening to the Bible, along with sound teaching from the Bible, is a great way to drive out any remaining room to entertain falsehoods. And, if we make the time and effort to listen to the Holy Spirit (who seals us – i.e., marks us as “certified” – for our salvation, per Ephesians 1:13-14), we find that God’s voice speaks nothing but grace and truth in love.
So, if you’re struggling with messages in your mind today, take hold of your salvation: study it, remember it, appreciate it, celebrate it, and be thankful for it. That is the helmet that you need.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.