We find a command in Prov. 4:23 to guard our hearts because it is the wellspring, or abundant supply, of life. In the CEV, it says that we should guard our thoughts because they are the source of true life. Indeed, when we take the time to meditate on God’s Word, it gives life to our spirit. In the negative, when we think upon negative things, it can zap us of any positive outlook, causing us to be negative. We will wind up in a bad mood, and our spirit will reek of a terrible stench to all who have the sad misfortune of meeting us on those days.
In Mt. 12:34, Jesus tells us that it’s from the abundance in our heart that our mouth will speak. What kind of abundance is in your heart? In verse 35, Jesus tells us that a good man will bring up good from the treasure stored within him, but an evil man will bring up the evil that is stored within him. If we are honest, we will admit that we all have times when evil comes out of us. But, how did it get there when we are Christians? Eph. 4:26-27 tells us that one way we let evil in is by letting the sun go down on our wrath. The next verse tells us that we shouldn’t give the devil a foothold.
Any soldier who has been in Iraq could tell you that in guard duty, you have to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Mt. 10:16. The soldiers are in areas where there are many civilians. They want to be harmless where innocent civilians are concerned, but they know that there are enemies lurking among the civilians. As Christians, we need to be on active guard duty. Even among people whom we consider friends, there can be an enemy lurking. That is why Paul addressed the issue of factions and discord within the church in Gal. 5:20. James was speaking to the church when he mentioned the quarrels and fights that were taking place in James 4:2. I find it interesting to note that just a a few verses later, in verse seven, he mentions resisting the devil. It looks to me like the Christians went AWOL from guard duty, only to give Satan a foothold through their bickering. Have any of us gone AWOL?
Here are some keys to avoid going AWOL from spiritual guard duty:
Col. 4:2 Be watchful and thankful. Pay attention to areas of your life where you are growing lax. Learn to cultivate a thankful attitude. When we give in to complaining and murmuring, we open ourselves up to the enemy’s attacks. Just look at what the Israelites faced when they grumbled in the wilderness.
I Tim. 4:16 admonishes us to watch our life and doctrine closely. To do this, we must be diligent to be in the Word, absorbing it so that we aren’t carried away by every wind of doctrine. Eph. 4:14. Even on Christian TV, there are times where things are spoken that aren’t scriptural. If we don’t get ourselves filled with the Word, we won’t be able to discern the difference. We should be like the Bereans in Acts 17, who searched the scriptures, looking to make sure that what Paul said was true.
Phil. 4:7 tells us to pray with thanksgiving, giving all of our requests to God, then He will guard our hearts and minds.
Ps. 141:3 Ask the Lord to set a guard over your mouth.
Mk. 13:33; I Cor. 16:13 Be on guard, standing firm in your faith.
Lk. 12:37 tells us that it’s good for the servant whom Christ finds watching when He returns. This isn’t a passive watching, but it’s very active. Thinking again to soldiers who are on guard duty, they use surveillance, and they are vigilant and aware. Being on guard duty means to attend to or to concentrate. They are active in watching out for any attacks of the enemy. These are all active words, rather than passive.
May our Lord Jesus find each one of us active in watching and awaiting His soon return.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller