A few days after Hurricane Harvey came through, looters decided to try to come through and do more damage. Our neighborhood put up signs saying looters would be shot. Teams of people in the neighborhood road around armed on patrol, people sat armed in their yards and others in their homes. They were guarding their belongings and against invasion. It’s that kind of vigilance we need in order to protect what God has given us and against an enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy. We need to be alert and sober minded to be on guard. The word used for “guard” in the Bible has a militaristic idea behind it about being vigilant. God is serious when he tells us to be on guard.
Here are some Bible verses about being on guard.
1. Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith].
2 Peter 3:17 AMP
2. The one who guards his mouth [thinking before he speaks] protects his life; The one who opens his lips wide [and chatters without thinking] comes to ruin.
Proverbs 13:3 AMP
3. Then he (Jesus) said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Luke 12:15 NLT
4. So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23 TPT
5. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
Chris Hodges, pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, likes to say that the systems in your life are designed perfectly to take you where you are today. If you want to change your direction or outcomes, you will need to change the systems you have in place. If you want to climb Mount Everest, you would need systems in your life that would prepare you physically and mentally to make such a climb. Climbing Everest is a pipe dream for most people because all it is is a dream to them. When it becomes a goal, that’s when you put a system in place to begin accomplishing it. The things that you are accomplishing right now are a result of the goals you have in your life whether they’re conscious goals or not. What you are accomplishing right now is a result of what you pursue. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, change what you pursue or the systems you have in place.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus put it this way, “For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure” (TPT). Too many times, you and I are valuing the wrong things or we’re not valuing the things we should enough. When we’re easily distracted or constantly changing our mind, we find ourselves going in circles in life. We’re constantly moving, but find we’re going nowhere or we’re way off target. The things we have and where we are in life are based on what we pursue, value and think about most. Brian Tracy says that we are like a magnet in that we attract things into our life based on our most dominant thoughts. If we want to change the things in our life, we must change our thoughts.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” The Good News Translation says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” What are you pursuing right now? Is it money, better cars, better relationships, a closer walk with God? What do you think about most? Paying your bills, a better life, how to make more money or bringing God’s Kingdom to earth? Are your thoughts and pursuits of your heart in line with what God wants? If not, begin to change what you think about and pursue. Ask God to show you what He wants you to value and think about. The systems in your life may be great at getting you the things you want, but they’re ultimately unsuccessful if they’re not valuing what God does.
One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford. He said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Our thoughts are so powerful that they literally control our ability to accomplish things. It doesn’t matter if everyone tells you that you can’t do it, if your mind says you can, you’ll do it. Conversely, if everyone tells you that you can, but you don’t think you can, you never will. It’s not what others think that makes us believe. It’s what we think.
Solomon understood this principle. In Proverbs 4:23 he wrote, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (GNT). You and I can control what thoughts we entertain, and what thoughts we dismiss. The ones we replay over and over in our heads and become our reality. They determine whether or not we apply for that job, write that proposal, take that class, put on those running shoes, or you fill in the blank. Think about that for a minute and replay the voices in your head when you tried to do whatever you filled in the blank.
If your whole life is shaped by what you think, wouldn’t it be important to you to think the right things? Changing your thought cycle is difficult, but not impossible. In most cases, you’ve told yourself a certain thing so many times that you actually believe it to be true without question. You say, “I can’t do that because that just who I am.” When you say that, you’re proving Henry Ford right. You don’t think you can, so you don’t. You rationaLIES that it’s just who you are. Yes, I spelled that with “lies” because that’s what those thoughts are.
In order to change the lies, you have to challenge them just like you would challenge anyone else telling you lies. You ask, “Where’s the proof?” When there is no proof (“because I said so” isn’t proof), you then insert what the truth is. You begin to think the new thought over and over (remember “The Little Engine That Could”) until it is true. This is hard work, but you can reshape your life and what you do by what you think. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (AMP). It’s time we quit believing the lies. Whatever you think in your heart and mind is who you will become. Be someone awesome since you get to choose.