BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives, but whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined” (Proverbs 13:3 NCV).
We live in a dangerous time and it could even get more dangerous as we approach the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:1 that in the last days, perilous times shall come. Perilous times means difficult times, times of trouble, or grievous times.
God created all lives; the devil didn’t create any. Everyone’s life is precious to God but the devil and his servants value no life. There are physical protective measures, but the safety and protection of your life go beyond that. From the Word of God, we learn some things that we can do to protect our lives. We must not do everything to protect our lives but neglect these things.
We may take physical protective measures but we must remember, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31 King James Version). The psalmist says in Psalm 33:16-17, “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (NKJV).
The Word of God has prescribed some things that we could do to protect our lives. I want to discuss some of these things in this message.
1. Give your life to Jesus Christ. It is wise for anyone to give his life to Jesus who can keep it safe. If you want to protect your life, give it to Jesus. Be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour is the beginning of protecting your life. God is able to keep whatever is committed unto Him (2 Timothy 1:12).
Jesus says whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses (gives up) his life will preserve it (Luke 17:33). Also, in John 12:25, Jesus says he who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world (makes his life of no account or gives it up) will keep it for eternal life (NKJV).
Give your life to Jesus and live for Him. Life without Jesus is a waste, no matter what anyone thinks he has gained. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ” (Mark 8:36-37 New King James Version). Give your life to Jesus and it will be protected.
2. Obey the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and the instructions through other channels of divine communication. Obedience will protect your life; disobedience will endanger it. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22). Lot’s wife lost her life; she became a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the instruction of the angels sent to preserve their lives (Genesis 19:26). The lives of other members of her family who obeyed were protected.
Obey the Word of God. There is safety in obedience. “He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13 NKJV). In Deuteronomy 28, God told the Israelites the blessings associated with diligent obedience and observation of His Commandments. One of the blessings was that the LORD would cause their enemies to be defeated before their face and they would flee before them seven ways (verse 7).
In addition, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Some people have lost their lives because they disobeyed the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit warned them of impending danger and against doing certain things or going on certain missions but they disregarded His warning. Romans 8:14 says as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. The LORD says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV). His Word and the Holy Spirit play a key role in this. Obey the Word of God and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
God may also decide to communicate with you through other means like dreams, visions and trances. Don’t neglect them. But don’t promote them above the Word of God. God spoke to Ananias in a vision (Acts 9:10-16). He spoke to Paul in a vision and a trance (Acts 16:9-10; 22:17-21). He also spoke to Daniel in a dream and visions (Daniel 7-12). Furthermore, God spoke to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:18-24, 2:19-21). Joseph’s obedience to the instruction of the angel in a dream preserved the life of Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13-15).
Godly counsel is another means God communicates with His children. Proverbs 13:14 says the instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death. What will protect your life could be a godly counsel. But note that godly counsel never contradicts the Word of God. Proverbs 24:6 also says you shouldn’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. Obviously, these many advisers must be godly advisers who would help your plans to succeed (Proverbs 20:18).
3. Trust in the Lord. David says, “In the LORD I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’?” (Psalm 11:1 NKJV). To protect your life, trust in the Lord, not in your intelligence or security gadgets or personnel. These could fail at any time. Psalm 118:8-9 says it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Don’t replace trust in the Lord with trust in your ‘chariot’ and ‘horses’ (Psalm 20:7). Proverbs 3:5-6 says you should trust in the LORD with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all your ways for direction.
The psalmist says those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever (Psalm 125:1). If you trust in the Lord, He will be your shield (Psalm 115:9-10). Trust in the Lord as your place of safety and protection. Make Him your refuge and fortress. “Those who go to God the Most High for safety will be protected by the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1 NCV).
The LORD said to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, through the prophet Jeremiah, “‘Because you trusted me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe.’ I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 39:18 NLT). Trust in the Lord. He will protect your life.
4. Guard your heart with all diligence. Be careful what goes into your heart such as what you read, watch, listen to, say and where you go. Your eyes, mind, ears, mouth, and legs could be described as the gates to your heart. These can expose your heart to the right or wrong pieces of information. The latter will endanger your life.
Proverbs 4:23-27 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil” (NKJV). To keep your heart means to guard or protect it. Your heart is very important because “it affects everything you do” (verse 18 NLT).
Evil can proceed from the heart which can destroy one’s life. Jesus says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matthew 15:19-20 NIV). Guard your heart with all diligence.
5. Watch your tongue. This is connected with the last point but I will like to treat it separately. As I’ve said, your mouth is one of the gates to your heart. Evil words that come out of someone’s mouth go to his heart. They can also become evil thoughts that will give birth to other sins. Murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies listed in Matthew 15:19-20 first start as evil thoughts and defile a human being. Just as your mouth affects your heart, your heart also affects your mouth. Jesus says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). He also says by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned (verse 37). Proverbs 13:3 says, “Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives, but whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined” (NCV).
Be careful about how you use your tongue. James 3:6 calls the tongue a fire, a world of iniquity. It says the tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature. The tongue itself is set on fire by hell. Don’t let your tongue set your life on fire. Proverbs 18:21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Your tongue can protect your life or destroy it. It is the mouth that people use to make confession unto salvation (Romans 10:10). It is also the mouth that some people use to reject Jesus.
Don’t use your tongue to sow seeds that will endanger your life and ultimately take you to hellfire. Proverbs 18:7 says a fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. Some people’s real enemy is their tongues. They speak or invite evil into their lives. “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23 NKJV). 1 Peter 3:10 says he who would love life and see good days should refrain his tongue from evil.
6. Associate with the right people, not the wrong people. Avoid the counsel of the ungodly, the path of sinners and the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1). Proverbs 13:20 says he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. Many people have suffered irreparable losses, including losing their lives, because of wrong associations. Proverbs 13:14 says, “The teaching of a wise person gives life. It is like a fountain that can save people from death” (NCV). Compare that to the destruction that befalls people who associate with fools.
7. Do good, not evil. Doing good or doing evil is a seed and whatever a man sows, he shall reap (Galatians 6:7). If you want to protect your life, do good. David says, “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper” (Psalm 37:3 NLT). He further tells us in verse 27 to turn from evil and do good, and we shall live in the land forever.
The Bible says those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8b). They should learn to maintain good works (verse 14). In fact, the command of Jesus is that His followers should let their light so shine before men, that they might see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Learn to do good (Isaiah 1:17a).
Those who do evil will reap evil. The Bible says evil shall slay the wicked (Psalm 34:21a). The wicked shall perish (Psalm 37:20a). God destroyed the earth with the flood because of the evil of the people (Genesis 6:5-7, 11-17). He also destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the outcry against the evil of the people (Genesis 18:20-21; 19:13; 27-29). Do good; don’t do evil. And your life shall be protected.
8. Be vigilant and resist the devil. The devil is the enemy of human beings, especially the children of God. Satan goes about looking for lives to destroy. Disobedience to the Word of God will open the door for Him. Not living a holy life, will give Satan access. Be holy, for the Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44; 19:2; 20:7). Give Satan no place in your life.
Be vigilant in prayer and be obedient. Resist him (1 Peter 5:8-9). Put on the whole armour of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Avoid spiritual slumber (Matthew 13:25). Watch and pray (Mark 14:38a). Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Conclusion: Paul says, “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24a NLT). He was a preacher and he devoted his life to preaching the Good News. Discover God’s purpose for your life and fulfil it. God will protect your life when you invest it in doing His will. He who keeps Israel never tires and never sleeps (Psalm 121:4). He will also watch over you. He will keep you as the apple of His eye and hide you under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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