In March I had the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to Guatemala. I was with a group but hoped to get out and discover some things about the country on my own. I was disappointed to learn that would not happen. We were staying in a gated community and were not allowed to leave on our own. I was told, “Guatemala City is a dangerous place.”
It didn’t take long for that reality to sink in. Everywhere we went we had a police escort. On our first day at a public park I was amazed to see armed guards with shotguns every hundred yards or so patrolling the park.
I was told that thirty years before bandits roamed freely, robbing and kidnapping people. The security measures the government put into place worked, and crime is way down. But they have to be diligent.
Can you imagine armed guards with shotguns patrolling the park where you play with your kids or grandkids? The need for armed guards in quiet public parks seems unthinkable.
For many people something else that’s unthinkable is the thought of spiritual forces attacking your heart and mind to harm you. The scriptures say otherwise. We’re in a spiritual war with enemies looking for opportunities to attack Ephesians 4:26-27; Galatians 5:13. How do we know we are being attacked spiritually? How do we protect ourselves? Chapter Four of Proverbs gives this advice:
The word heart here refers to both your mind and your emotions. It is what you think and feel. We need to actively and intentionally protect our minds. Here are three key ways to watch or guard our hearts.
3 ways to Guard Your Heart
- Think: Be alert and of sober mind 1 Peter 5:8. Many automobile accidents happen because people use their mobile phones instead of giving full attention to driving. Are you paying attention to what is going on in your mind? What thoughts are you allowing? Desires for the wrong things? Rehashed angry conversations? Is worry and anxiety consuming you? These don’t belong there! If they are, then
- Pray: Take those wrong thoughts captive to Christ! 2 Corinthians 10:5. Seek God’s help. Be intentional in sorting out everything you are thinking with the Father. Pray for wisdom James 1:5. Pray for protection Matthew 6:13. If you have guilt in your heart because of sin, confess it 1 John 1:9. Then
- Act: Take action steps! Philippians 4:9. When you realize you are not thinking right, you have a choice, continue the same path or choose another. When you walk by the Spirit you will choose peace instead of anxiety, self-control instead of anger, love instead of hatred Galatians 5:16, 22-24.
What choices are you making today? Choose to guard your heart. When an attacking thought arrives fight the good fight. Stand firm in your faith.
What do you do to guard your heart? Please leave a comment below.