I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’d rather not wear a helmet while cycling. After all, I tell myself, I’ve ridden thousands of miles in the past few years and have never had a problem.

Oh wait… there was that one time.

It was one of those long-awaited days in early March, several years ago, when the temperature in northern Indiana finally reached 50 degrees, the sun was shining, and I could practically hear my bike calling to me from the garage. So, after donning my coat and airing up my tires, I headed out. I had

debated whether to wear my helmet, since I was just planning to ride on some lightly traveled county roads. But my Wiser Self won the debate, and I put it on.

An hour later, just a half-mile from my house, I saw a lady walking two large golden retrievers. They were each on a leash, but as I got close, one of the dogs broke away from her and charged at me. However, its timing was a little off, so instead of biting my leg as I thought it was going to do, the dog ran right in front of me. The next thing I knew, I went flying over the handlebar and landed head-first on the pavement.

Kudos to my Wiser Self, because even though my helmet was cracked in the incident, my head was not!  Thankfully, neither was any other part of my body.

It’s important to protect our heads. And while that’s certainly true in a physical sense, it’s just as true in a spiritual sense, if not more so. That’s why the apostle Paul tells us in his well-known “armor of God” analogy to put on “the helmet of salvation.” (Ephesians 6:17) But what does he mean by that, and why does it matter?

Well, while Paul is obviously using military imagery, he’s not talking about strictly human warfare, as he makes clear just a few verses earlier: “For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

And what’s the main attack strategy of these enemy forces? I think many of us would agree that it’s to cause us to doubt our very salvation in Christ, such that we’re constantly wondering if we’re good enough or have done enough of the right things to measure up to God’s standards, even though the Bible tells us over and over that our salvation isn’t something we can earn. Rather, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, which is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, so that no one may boast.”

So, let me ask: Have you accepted this gift for yourself? If you haven’t, why not do it today? And if you have accepted it, but you still find yourself questioning whether you’ve done enough, or whether you are enough in God’s eyes, maybe it’s time to go back to this powerful truth and, shall we say, fasten your helmet on a little bit tighter?

Prayer: Loving God, thank you so much for your gift of salvation in Christ. When I struggle with feelings of doubt and unworthiness, help me remember the promise of Romans 8:39 that nothing in all of creation can separate us from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school