On Guard

Throughout the Bible, we are instructed to be on guard, or, to guard various area of our lives.  Our hearts and minds are also to be guarded. If God’s word tells us not once, but several times, to be on guard, then it is important that we pay attention.

Guard Your Heart

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Proverbs 4:23 (CSB) states the following:  “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”  The word guard comes from the Hebrew word natsar meaning to observe, keep close, or serve as a watchman.  The only way to successfully guard your heart (spiritually speaking), which is said to be the source of life, is through checking everything that tries to enter.

At important events, particularly those involving government officials, a security guard is often posted at the entrance to check the guests for identification.  It is vital that the guards know who is entering the building because someone who wants to bring harm to a government official could be entering.

It is the same way with your heart.  As tedious as it may seem, you must check everything that comes to your mind because it will eventually make its way to your heart.  The thought must be identified by being lined up with what God’s word has to say about it.  If what is about to enter does not line up, it must be turned away.

Guard Your Mind

In order for the aforementioned security guard to prevent someone from harming a government official, the potential perpetrator must be stopped from entering the building.  Once he has entered, it is more difficult to stop him from doing harm.  It can be done, but often it is not without a cost.

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If you want to keep poison from entering your heart, you must guard what enters your mind.  Of course, you must set an extra guard at the door of your heart, but, if you watch what enters your mind first, entrance to your heart is highly unlikely.  Philippians 4:7 states that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

The key word is peace. If I am listening to the Holy Spirit, I will not have peace about something that is harmful. Neither will  you.  If a thought lines up with the word of God, peace will follow.  The peace God gives is not like anything else.  This peace will warn or confirm ahead of time before it is too late.  This type of peace does not make sense to others.  The only way to have the peace that guards is to sit at the feet of Jesus, so to speak, through prayer and study of the Word.  If you have no intimate relationship with Him, there is no true peace.

Guarding your heart and mind is just the beginning.  We have to guard our words, our relationships, and so much more.  This is a job for the Holy Spirit.  He is the look-out, but we must keep our focus on Jesus so we can know when we need to pay heed to a warning, or proceed on the path.

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I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for God’s ways that direct and guide.  If we listen, they will keep us from unnecessary trials.

 

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, there is no time like the present.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.

It’s All in Your Mind

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s all in your mind”?  This can be annoying depending on the nature of your problem. Surprisingly, the fact is that in many cases, it is true.  No, that does not mean you are crazy.  It simply means that many of our battles are either won or lost in our minds.

Change Your Thinking

Change Your ThinkingOften, the changes we wish to see can only come about when we change the way we think about the situation.  If I want to change the way I feel, most likely, I need to change the way I think.  Many of you reading this post might ask me if that is truly possible. According to the Bible, it is totally possible.  In fact, we are commanded to do just that when our thinking patterns do not line up with the Word of God.

Romans 12:2 states that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can live out God’s will in our lives.  I find it interesting and not at all a coincidence that we are instructed in verse 2 to renew our minds after being told in verse 1 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.  Such a feat could only be accomplished through changing your thinking.

What Needs to Change in Your Life?

Everyone has weaknesses and faults that they have to address in some way.  Everyone has situations they would love to be able to handle in a more effective way.  It will not happen until you change the way you think about the given situation.  For example, if I am angry at a co-worker, yet I know I need to forgive this person, I will be unable to do so until I change the way I think about the situation.  In order to make this change, I need to know what God’s word says about forgiveness.  Once I am familiar with scriptures concerning forgiveness, I put those into my mind and allow the transformation process to work.   God’s word says that I must forgive as Christ forgave me.  I would remind myself that Christ forgave me for so much more than what I must forgive my co-worker.  Next, I would repeat the process with other scriptures until my thinking is changed.Change Your Thinking! 3

Taking time to journal through the process helps in two ways.  It helps the process as I am going through it, and it serves as a good reference should I face the problem again.  Barb Raveling has a process that she calls Truth Journaling.  It works very well.  Visit her website for further details.

I realize that this sounds like a great deal of work.  Truthfully, it is, but if you desire the change strongly enough, you will be willing to do the work.  True change comes from within, within your mind, that is.  Being transformed by the renewing of your mind will not happen overnight or through trying the process once.  It is a process that is ongoing, and it will take time as well as patience.  However, it is worth all the work.  Most of all, it is worth giving God the praise when the work is done.

Disclaimer:  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your mind cannot be renewed until you come into a relationship with Him.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.

 

Erratic Emotions

Emotions are a natural part of our human makeup.  People, particularly women, can experience a variety of emotions in one day.  From elation to depression, our emotions can take us on a wild roller coaster ride through life if we do not find ways to manage them.

Types of Emotions

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Although human beings can experience a wide variety of feelings, some of the most basic types of emotions are happiness, sadness, pride, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, excitement, shame, and embarrassment.  The Bible even speaks of people’s various feelings.  Scripture never promotes suppressing emotions and refusing to deal with them, but we must learn to control them with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is seen as a positive emotion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being happy.  The problem comes when I expect other people to do for me what only God can do.  What I am about to state is certainly not popular, but the Lord never promised that we would always be happy.  He did, however, promise that we could have joy.

What is the difference between joy and happiness?  Although the two words are used interchangeably, happiness often depends upon circumstances while joy goes much deeper.  The joy we experience from God is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  In other words, joy is the result of having the Holy Spirit (given to us at salvation).  Happiness can only take me so far, but joy gets me through all circumstances, good or bad.

Fear and anger are considered to be negative emotions.  A healthy fear, such as being afraid to walk out in front of a moving vehicle, is not negative.  It is needful, but a terrifying fear, such as always fearing the future, is not of God.  In fact, His word teaches us to overcome such fears (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18).  Anger is not always negative. There are times when we need to have anger in order to act; however, anger that is not dealt with properly is dangerous and leads to other sins.  Anger is another emotion that the Bible teaches us to control (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26-27, and Proverbs 29:11)

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Emotions Out of Control

I must admit that I have days when I am easily angered, or, my feelings are hurt very easily.  Sometimes, there can be physical explanations such as lack of sleep or hormonal imbalance.  Other times, out-of-control emotions can be a symptom of something that is lacking spiritually.

Earlier, I stated that people often expect others in their lives to make them happy.  I have made the mistake of placing responsibility for my emotional well-being in the hands of my husband, children, friends, or family.  I am certainly not saying that the people in my life do not want me to be happy, but I am saying that it is not their responsibility to manage my emotions.  The responsibility is mine, and the only way I can assume it is to go to God for emotional healing when my feelings seem to be wreaking havoc.

Once you let others off the hook for your emotional stability, and you give this to the Lord, you will begin to see more balanced emotions displayed.  The things that used to irritate you or hurt your feelings will not have as much power over you.

Godly Response

When negative emotions arise, as they often do, you should not suppress them; however, you should not give full vent to them either.  First, go to the Lord in prayer about them.  He is neither surprised nor perplexed by your emotions. Next, find a trusted friend with which to speak.  Ask other believers for prayer.

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Most of all, you need to spend time with God on a daily basis, both in prayer and in His word.  I realize I sound bossy, but, trust me, I have had loads of experience in the emotional realm.  Unfortunately, I have given full vent to my emotions which have never brought about good results.  Thankfully, there are also times I take them to God and ask for His intervention.  The latter choice is always best.

As I mentioned earlier, happiness is a wonderful emotion, but if I believe I must always be on an emotional high, I will eventually bottom out to depression.  Emotions must be stabilized and balanced so as to avoid either extreme on the pendulum swing.  I am not suggesting that managing emotions is an easy feat.  I know better, but I also know that nothing is impossible with God.  He gives us grace for all areas of our lives, including our feelings.

What Does the Bible Say About Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply being aware of something.  This could consist of a great variety of issues or situations.  One could mindful of eating.  Another could be mindful of words spoken.  Someone else could be mindful of friendships.  The list could go on.

The Word Speaks of Being Mindful

Only you can change your thinking.Although mindfulness has been attributed to aspects of Buddhism, God’s Word has plenty to say on the subject.  For example, Psalm 19:14 (MEV) states the following: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  If a thought has been meditated upon in the heart, it had to pass through the mind first.  God is concerned with what we think about and our awareness concerning various areas of our lives.

In Psalm 8:4, David asks, “Who is man that You are mindful of him?”  This indicates that God was mindful of us.  In other words, He had a strong awareness of us.  His focus was on us.  If God is mindful of us, shouldn’t we be mindful of Him?  Isaiah 26:3 states that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are on Him.

Mindfulness that is achieved God’s way brings peace and joy.  If the mind is not focused on what it ought to be, we lose peace, and we tend to wander from the Lord.  Being mindful of the things we focus on raises awareness which can bring the change we need if we allow it.

How to be Mindful

Now that the meaning of mindfulness is understood, the next step is to figure out how to be mindful.  Being mindful is a choice.  It is simple, yet, not easy.  Colossians 3:2 states that we are to set our minds on things above.  If I set an object somewhere, it means I need to pick it up from one place to set it at the desired destination.  To set your mind means you might have to move your thinking from one direction to another.  Mindfulness is work.  To begin with, your thoughts will try to drift back to the place from which you brought them.  After consistent renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), you will find that the process becomes simpler.  We can never stop renewing our minds, or being mindful, but the battle is not as intense the more we practice the process.Mind

Consider your thoughts and ways.  Ask the Lord to direct you to the areas of your life in which you need to be more mindful.  This will look different for everyone because our struggles are not all the same.  Once He reveals an area in which you need to be more mindful, surrender that area to Him, and allow Him to help you redirect your thinking.

 

What about you?  What does mindfulness mean to you?  Are there areas of you life in which you need to be more mindful?