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.
Hurricane Harvey took out around 500 homes in my neighborhood. While we had warnings of its potential, the waters rose faster than anyone anticipated. Many of the people in my neighborhood and surrounding areas fled at the last minute leaving behind their valuables. That became attractive to looters. They began to break into houses and steal what little these people had left. The police were preoccupied with keeping the city moving during the disaster, so our neighborhood organized a group of people on golf cars to guard the houses. I don’t remember how many they caught, but I do remember them holding looters at gun point. They put up a sign at the entrance saying the houses were being guarded, and the looting stopped.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our enemy, Satan, roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Jesus said in John 10:10 that he also comes to steal, kill and destroy. I heard it said that he wants to steal your joy, kill your joy and destroy your destiny. Knowing he’s out there trying to loot you of what’s valuable to you, it’s important that we are on guard against him. We must protect our mind, our heart and our words. James tells us that if we resist him (think of someone resisting arrest), he will flee. Our enemy is not passive, therefore we can’t afford to be.
Here are some Bible verses on guarding what’s important.
1. Guard your words and you’ll guard your life, but if you don’t control your tongue, it will ruin everything.
Proverbs 13:3 TPT
2. Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison.
Hebrews 12:15 GNT
3. So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.
Acts of the Apostles 20:28 NLT
4. When a strong man, with all his weapons ready, guards his own house, all his belongings are safe.
Luke 11:21 GNT
5. 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 Bible talks a lot about what we think because God understands the power of our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts determine who we are and how we act. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (GNB)” Another version wrote that same verse, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind. (CEB)” Solomon understood the importance of our thoughts and wanted those who read his writings to understand it as well.
Brian Tracy’s Law of Concentration states that whatever you dwell upon grows. If you worry a lot, then those thoughts will snowball and continue to grow. The things you think the most about take the center stage in your life. They control your schedule, your mood, your attitude, your actions and so much more. We often let our minds dwell on something for so long that it grows into an obsession. There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of the news. At home, I had my 24 hour news channel on and in my car, I had new radio. When I realized it was controlling my actions and mood, I had to break free.
Brian Tracy also teaches the Law of Substitution that says, “The conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time.” It can be a positive thought or a negative thought. I am the one who chooses what I think about. I am the gatekeeper. As Solomon said, I have to be careful of how I think. I cannot allow thoughts of worry overrun my mind. I cannot permit thoughts that are detrimental to my faith and family to stay in my mind. I cannot entertain thoughts and ideas that are contrary to God’s Word. I must consciously substitute those thoughts for the thoughts that lead me down God’s paths.
Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Fill your mind with things that are good and deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable. (GNB)” The way I fill my mind with those things is to force myself to think about them when the other thoughts come in. I must protect my mind if I’m going to protect my actions. I have to constantly watch each and every thought that enters my mind and learn how to push out the thoughts that are detrimental to who I am in Christ and to replace them with the thoughts that feed who I am in Him. According to that first scripture I shared, I become what I think about.
Food for thought: Who do you want to be? What thoughts are detrimental to being that person? What thoughts can you replace them with? You can change who you are by changing what you think.