The year was 1983. A young woman of 20 in her second year of bible college, kneels, while the men of God lay their hands gently on her head in a church service. Through prayer, they speak words of promise, hope and declarations of spiritual potential in her life. With anointing, they install a teaching mantle* along with… a warning. “You will protect yourself…”
That 20-year-old is now 58, that was me 38 years ago, (Gasp!) A lot has transpired in these many, many years. There have been (will be) hours and hours of study – preparation is positioning for the potential. There have also been stupid mistakes, which held hands with frequent lapses of judgment. There were attempts: some quiet, and some blatant, attempts to destroy me. Destroy what God wanted to do in and through me. I see the ever-increasing need to – protect.
What am I protecting? I am guarding the God in me. Guarding what He entrusted to me, and in me and what He will do through me.
Danger, in the spiritual realm, does not generally stand up and yell, while waving its arms, “Over here. Yep, HERE! I saved you a seat!” It is subtle. Evil watches for an opportunity to ensnare with no written invitation. Peter knew this: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Paul too strongly urges, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).
In our guarding we are to be shrewd. Acute in our awareness and preparedness. “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3, NLT). Other translations say when danger or evil is seen, the prudent person “hides”. In the original Hebrew, hide is repeated, emphasizing the action. Using the context, a prudent man sees the evil and “in hiding, he will hide.” Meaning it is active and progressive. You do, so you stay … doing.
Our hiding ourselves is not a game of “peek-a-boo”. Immature, “nothing can hurt me” games. Thinking we are hiding by merely covering our eyes and peeking out through our fingers. It is a case of running AWAY (run FAST). A running from – to. To God. Hiding in His presence. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Protection. We do this by staying daily in His word. Staying in fellowship with strong believers and staying under good biblical teaching. Precautions, positioning, boundaries and accountability. (You do, so you stay … doing).
Solomon also wrote, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, AMP). One resource explains it: Guard the affections of your heart; the emotional attachments you make determine the course of your life. Those things and people I attach myself to – determine which way I go. (See Psalm 1:1). Which way do I want to go? God’s way. Oswald Chambers strongly adds: “Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt God. For you to be free of it, God must be allowed to hurt whatever it may be.”
Where do you need to become more vigilant? Guarding the God in you! Others are counting on it!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).
*In Bible days, a Mantle (as mentioned above) was an outer cloak used for additional covering and warmth, especially at night, like that of a blanket. From the idea of something that “covers” in the natural, a mantle represents spiritual covering as well. It usually refers to spiritual authority and anointing, we can see this in the story of Elijah & Elisha found in 2 Kings 2. A spiritual mantle can be wrapped as a scriptural metaphor (symbol) in a calling, gift, ability, anointing, skill set, or level of authority that God has given a specific person. God determines the mantle – we do not select it! It is established, designed and imparted by God. It is an anointing, to serve God in the capacity of our spiritual DNA, destiny and calling of God. It always has a cost. It always demands great responsibility.