I’ve always been embarrassed about this, but I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 12. I’m not sure why I didn’t learn sooner. Maybe it was fear or just a lack of motivation, but there’s my shameful confession.

Nevertheless, I learned, and soon I was dashing out the door to get on my bike—not before my caring mother would call out, “Put your helmet on!” Like a good boy, I’d do as she said… until I turned the corner. Then the helmet would spend the rest of the journey perched on my handlebars, swaying in the wind with every pedal push. It’s not that I didn’t want my head protected; it’s just that I looked like a dork wearing it. Thankfully, helmet style has come a long way since I was a kid.

While we know helmets provide protection, they are often seen as something to make us look foolish. But our heads weren’t designed to take a direct hit with hard concrete! And when they do, guess what? Concrete wins every time. Still, the hard reality of concrete didn’t influence me at all. Instead, I trusted my ability to ride a bike and not crash, while my helmet sat on the handlebars.

The Bible informs us of a helmet for us to wear, one is wearing if we have been rescued by Christ. This is the helmet of salvation, described in Ephesians 6:17. Jesus is the one who saved us, and it’s the salvation of Christ that guards our heads and minds.

I often treated salvation like I treated my helmet. I felt like I needed it at first until I felt confident enough in my own abilities to take it off and go without. I believed salvation got me in and I stayed in by becoming “good enough” not to need it anymore. But the salvation of Jesus is something we never grow out of. 

How foolish I was, to think I could grow out of needing Jesus every day! If Christian maturity has brought me anything, it’s caused me to realize how desperately I need Christ every second. Our world says, “You can save yourself, you don’t need to wear a helmet, and your head can take the direct hit by the hard knocks of this life.”

Besides, even if we could get through this life here and now without a helmet, that won’t help when this life is over.

The helmet of salvation is always a necessary piece of our armour. It guards our minds against the thought that we don’t need Jesus. That’s why the armour described in Ephesians 6 is the permanent reality of the believer—we need it all the time. Don’t be the foolish Christian I was, putting the helmet of salvation on the handlebars of life and pretending that I’d matured beyond its need.

Salvation is made possible only through the perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf. This is salvation; we need it every day to maintain and sustain us. Wear your helmet proud as we bike through this thing called life, knowing that though we may crash, we are never crushed. Christ has you and is keeping you preserved and whole in Him.