Tag Archives: disillusionment

Are You Wearing God’s Helmet?

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Are You Being Protected by God's Helmet of Salvation?

Are You Being Protected by God’s Helmet of Salvation?

We are now ready for the fifth piece of God’s armor as explained in Ephesians 6:10-17–the Helmet of Salvation. For the previous article on the Armor of God, click here.  The most obvious purpose of the Roman’s helmet was to protect the head. Most of the helmets were constructed of metal and sometimes included two additional pieces: a protective plate for the cheeks and a metal piece to cover the back of the neck.

But how is the helmet linked to salvation? First of all, we need to acknowledge that our minds are modern day battlefields. How well we perform at renewing our minds with God’s Word will determine whether we are wearing the helmet or not. First Thessalonians 5:8-9 offers insight:

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

You probably have noticed when watching biblical movies depicting brutal war scenes that the last piece of armor to put on was the helmet–only then was the soldier considered ready for battle. Not wearing the helmet would of been a fatal mistake.

Like the helmet, our salvation is supposed to be impenetrable, but only when we put it on. Think of salvation as an ongoing state of being, rather than one event in time. The connection between the helmet and salvation reveals to us that Satan’s blows are meant to destroy the Christian’s confidence and security in Christ. Like a helmet that continually protects, we must also continually protect our brains from worldly influences. Philippians 2:12 says,

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Hope. Sacrifice. Salvation

In the spiritual realm, we must be continually cultivating our faith. This ‘working out’ our salvation  shields the mind from attacks of confusion that would cause a Christian to remain in a state of doubt and deception.  When we’re working out our faith, God will reward such faith. The helmet also offers hope – hope that originates from our heavenly Father doesn’t break or decay. God’s form of hope is permanent, unlike worldly hope that is fleeting– His promise of salvation is also permanent– made possible only by the sacrifice that Jesus made. Lastly, Jesus’ sacrifice also is permanent. It will never become irrelevant or obsolete. Hope, Sacrifice and Salvation are three sure treasures that won’t disappoint. Put your faith into what is the only sure thing, because He is the way, the Truth, and the Light.

Faith Helmets

However,  we run the risk, when not wearing our faith helmets to be blindsided by discouragement and doubt. One way Satan does this is by bringing to the surface all that is wrong or negative in our lives. This has the potential to cause us to lose our confident (trust) in our heavenly Father. Wearing our spiritual helmets is vital for protecting our brains, which is the control center for our bodies. By wearing the Helmet of Salvation we are better protected to survive, and spiritually speaking, to be victorious against Satan’s attacks. God will enable us to reject doubts that arise in the circumstances of our lives and will reward our faith with more faith.

Salvation as a Treasure

An aspect of our helmet of salvation is that when we perceive our salvation as a treasure, we more often tend to live a life pleasing to the Lord. This zeal for the Lord extinguishes many of Satan’s fiery darts. But how can we keep our zeal without working out our salvation? When we’ve programed our minds to think on God’s Word and simultaneously work out our salvation on a daily basis, we deliberately choose to wear our helmets–and this honors Christ. (Philippians 4:8).

Pray this prayer for the Helmet of Salvation and as you pray, visually picture yourself putting God’s Helmet of Salvation on your head.

 Lord Jesus Christ

Protect me from those who plan evil against me.

Your Word says in Psalm 140:7: “O LORD, my Lord, my strong deliverer, you have covered my head in the day of battle. I trust that You will stand by me. Help me to take every “proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God” captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Help me to fix my thoughts on You and to the honorable task of working out my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Three Subtle Attacks on Military Marriages

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A sailor kissing his new wife.

Use your marital struggles to grow together not further apart.

In 1987 I was a new Navy wife–straight from the land of Oz. And I didn’t know the first thing about the Navy lifestyle; There are no warships in Kansas! So, when I moved to California and met and later married my husband, Ray, I became a member of the larger military family and Uncle Sam became my father-in-law. Thanks to my friend, Vernel, a Navy wife I met at my new job upon arriving in California, she offered a quick lesson one Saturday afternoon on Navy life 101. I learned to expect occasional squalls between my husband and I brought on by rotational deployments with following seas of emotional anxieties. I realized there would be repeated adjustments, unique challenges unlike traditional marriage, intermittent miscommunication, with large doses of trust a certain requirement. On the up side, moments of well-deserved joy at homecomings would be the pinnacle of pride and honor in our beloved military member, all to say this lifestyle is worth it. Either way, I embraced my new role as a supportive Navy wife, determined not to throw up the white surrender flag when the stormy seas crashed in.

Marriage is hard in the 21st century, but a military marriage is not for those with one-sided expectations or a casual commitment. Like a warship undergoing sea trials to test the limits of the workings and maneuverability to determine its seaworthiness, there are also difficult hardships inherent in  military marriages. These challenges will test a military marriage to see whether or not it is seaworthy. Three of the top concerns for today’s military marriages are outlined below.

Selfishness. Last year while driving to work one morning I heard that selfishness is the number one destroyer of relationships. John Paul II said, “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” In any marriage, selfishness is a deterrent to a lasting relationship, but in a military marriage, its tolerance is short-lived, potentially sinking your military marriage soon after it departs the pier. Other than infidelity, selfishness left unaddressed, is the fastest channel to sabotaging your marriage, deeming it unworthy for a sea-faring relationship.

There is a new viewpoint out there in our marital culture. Dr. Brad Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, has written about this new perspective of marriage and its enemy, selfishness. “In the new psychological approach to marriage, one’s primary obligation was not to one’s family but to one’s self; hence, marital success was defined not by successfully meeting obligations to one’s spouse and children but by a strong sense of subjective happiness in marriage–usually to be found in and through an intense, emotional relationship with one’s spouse.1

This new view, contrary to the Christian belief of marital love, which highlights Christ’s love for the church, involves freely giving of one’s self to his or her spouse, is short on roots of generosity but deep in self-serving motives and entitlement. One way to stop or prevent selfishness is to focus on spiritual readiness. Instead of asking, “what will make me happy and fulfilled in my military marriage?” ask, “what will make us blessed and fulfilled in our military marriage?”

Unwarranted Expectations. Like selfishness, having idealistic expectations will send tempests into your marriage. Young military marriages in particular will benefit from recognizing that your military spouse has a job unlike most civilian jobs. Even on shore duty, he or she can’t be expected to always be available for wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, or even funerals for in-laws. Although the military understands the importance and value of these milestones and events, they can’t appease every request, nor can they be expected to. They must continually balance the needs of the military with military morale and sensitivity to family. I recall halfway into my husband’s military career, he was underway three consecutive wedding anniversaries. I was disappointed, but when I reflect back, was there really anything he could do about it? Try the following to increase the sea-worthiness of your military marriage:

  • Focus on the purpose and value of faith and discuss together whether or not your expectations are warranted and fit the example of faith Christ modeled.
  • Resist the urge to punish your spouse for what he or she can’t change or control.
  • Refuse the impulse to blame your spouse for being in the military.
  • Comparing your military marriage and family’s rhythm and schedule to that of civilian marriages only creates discontentment and plants negative thought patterns that the military lifestyle isn’t honorable service. Even in the civilian sector, there are unattractive job requirements. Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live; you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Deception and Distrust. These two undesirable traits are linked. If there’s deception, distrust soon follows. In  military marriages, getting to the first base of trust between you and your spouse is a must. Trust is a raw material that has to be cultivated. Trust is the cornerstone of marriage. It is what binds and links the other walls–unconditional love, commitment, transparency, communication, and honesty together. Conflict is inevitable in marriage. And our jobs as marriage partners is to navigate through trust issues, with sound resolutions, not around them, believing they will fade away on their own. Otherwise, the same storm returns over and over again, threatening to shipwreck your marriage. For trust issues related to infidelity, a couple can’t go wrong with biblical counseling. It may be a needed first step. Doing so will take hard work. There are no easy fixes, but if you’re committed it can lead to necessary discovery and growth. Pastor Chip Ingram, author, and radio host of Living on the Edge said about marriage, “conflict is an opportunity to grow.” Other ways to build trust are:

  •  Be transparent – While on deployment or even short underway periods, be emotionally responsible with your spouse to maintain trust. Share your day, the good and the bad. If you’re the spouse at home, tell your husband or wife what you did that day or week, where you went, people you met with, the money you spent, the bills you paid as well as those you forgot to pay. If you’re the spouse underway, do the same. If on a port call, share the places you went to, venture out in groups with the same sex, how much money you spent, and interesting events you encountered.
  •  Forget being right or wrong. We’ve all been there, but there comes a time when this mindset has to end if what is truly wanted is a healthy and working marriage. Strive for solutions that steer you in the direction of unity.
  •  Reconfirm your commitment to your spouse throughout the deployment. Think of ways that honestly convey emotional trust. Start with “I appreciate that you ________________ (fill in the blank).
  •  When failure happens, don’t give up. If trust was breached, it’s normal to feel hurt and want to shut the offending spouse out. However, if you’re willing, let your spouse know he or she can earn your trust back, but genuine changes that bear results must happen. Put accountability steps in play, but be realistic about time frames. Seek out a counselor trained in dealing with military marriages. Rebuilding trust takes time on the part of both spouses.

 Unfortunately, in a military marriage there are no sea-trials to determine if your marriage will be seaworthy. Once married, the marriage must depart from the pier and the challenges and complexities of this military lifestyle will prove its readiness. But with the support of Family Readiness Groups (FRG), churches that offer a military ministry, and keeping your military marriage as a high priority will help ensure it is lasting and fulfilling.

Blessings,

Lisa

Lisa Nixon Phillips is a retired Navy wife and author of Faith Steps for Military Families – Spiritual Readiness Through the Psalms of Ascent. Visit Lisa at www.LisaNixonPhillips.com and check out her blog page for additional articles on the military lifestyle.

You can also find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/faithstepsformilitaryfamilies.

 Notes:

1 Richard P. Fitzgibbons, “The Selfish Spouse/Relative, www.maritalhealing.com/conflicts/selfishspouse.php (accessed 17 June 17, 2014).

 

Three Spiritual Battles that Undermine Spiritual Readiness (Part 2: Disillusionment)

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Disillusionment can lead us into the valley of disappointment.

Disillusionment can lead us into the valley of disappointment.

Disillusionment is the second spiritual battle that can undermine your spiritual readiness. We’ve all experienced a state of disillusionment at one time or another,  in which something or someone failed our expectations. For example, the trip to France was supposed to include seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but it was a misprint in the itinerary and a sense of disappointment or dissatisfaction settled in, or the person you dated held certain beliefs, but later found out that this was not true.

 Spiritual Readiness as I define it is: Incorporating one’s Christian faith in preparing for adversity or living under difficult circumstances, and includes how well a military member or military family can bounce back.  A sailor by the name William A said this online about disillusionment: “It is like joining the Navy to see the world and getting stuck with latrine duty on a nuclear submarine and not seeing daylight for 30 days at a time.” Obviously, the Navy didn’t live up to this man’s expectations, or his expectations were false, perhaps because someone didn’t paint the correct picture of life on a submarine. It’s very possible he was fooled into a false belief of what to expect in the Navy and became dissatisfied. His real experience didn’t line up with his initial belief and became disillusioned. If he doesn’t recover from his initial disillusionment, his spiritual readiness is undermined.

 Vocabulary.com says this about disillusionment: “Disillusionment is when the hard truth of reality makes you lose faith in your dreams and ideals.1 The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition has this definition for disillusionment: Disappointed, Dissatisfied.2

Disillusionment is when we no longer believe in something–a goal, an aspiration or ambition or a passion. What we thought was real turned out to be false. We believed in the illusion, but we were fooled. As a result, we become dissatisfied because we’ve been disappointed. We often see this in relationships too.

 People Disappoint Us

When a couple marries they’re excited about their future together. They make plans and begin to work those plans for a certain common result. But as time passes one aspect of a partner’s true character surfaces, such as a bad temper or a habit of deception or one’s beliefs don’t line up with their behavior.  The expectation or hopes of one or both partner’s turned out to be an illusion and has the potential to undermine spiritual readiness.

We can also become disillusioned about our parent’s love and acceptance. As children, we had their unconditional love, but as an adult, we discovered their love had conditions or limits. They may have disapproved of the person we chose to marry or condemned a certain belief we held, and it triggered a disconnect or a rejection in the relationship. Led to believe from childhood that we had our parent’s unconditional love and approval, we learned it was only real to a certain point. Beyond that it was an illusion. Our faith, too, can be subject to an attack of disillusionment.

 Prayers that Go Unanswered

 ve been waiting a long time, perhaps years, for God to answer a prayer need, like David in Psalm 13, it can wear us down. In Psalm 13, David expressed his feelings to God and he found strength in doing so.

In our waiting, it seems like God takes too long to turn the tide of our circumstances, or move in the heart of a loved one or bring relief from loneliness due to long separations, or a chronic condition, but if we let our impatience deeply trouble our souls, we’ll become disillusioned about the life of faith – and our role as a supportive military spouse. The same can happen when we see God move or answer in a way that isn’t to our liking. We become disappointed and we begin to doubt God’s ability to come through for us. The valley of disappointment is barren and void of contentment. In this state, we become disillusioned about God and our disillusionment will undermine our spiritual readiness if we don’t “draw near to God” (James 4:8). Do not pull back in doubt; move forward in faith. By studying God’s Word, we discern how God sustained the faith of those who also became weary of disillusionment.

King David went to God regularly and reaffirmed his trust in Him no matter what and no matter how long God took to answer his prayers. He was a learner of God’s ways to prevent doubt from leading him down the path of disillusionment. I thank God for David’s examples because it reveals that if we abide in His Word we will stay out of Satan’s camp of disillusionment. If we succumb to a state of disillusionment, it will take us into one of Satan’s valleys – the valley of discouragement.  This is no place we want to find ourselves in. Come back for how to avoid this detrimental place in part 3 of “Three Spiritual Battles that Undermine Spiritual Readiness.”

 “Keep your eyes focused on the Victor and your mind filled with His word.”  -David Jeremiah

Blessings,

Lisa

For part 3 click here

Notes

1Dictionary definition of disillusionment, http://www.vocabular.com/dictionary (accessed 13 July 2014).

2 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, s.v. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2005).