September 25, 2013

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”  Psalm 141:3

A guard tower at Eastern State Penitentiary.A state penitentiary lights the night sky along the horizon of my little valley.  I have several friends who work as correctional officers in this penitentiary.  Their days begin and end with one primary purpose – to keep the bad guys in.  As they have explained, the activities within a prison are governed by routine.  Policies and procedures dictate almost every interaction of the residents.  Everyone follows a rigid schedule from the moment the inmates rise until they fall back to sleep.

The work of correctional officers is complicated by the fact that there are many people who daily pass in and out of a penitentiary.  There are the correctional officers that come and go at shift changes but there also administration, medical, and maintenance staff that work at the facility.  In addition, there are visitors and suppliers that come and go every day.

English: Prison guard at Parramatta Correction...

It is the correctional officer’s job to make sure that the bad does not get blended in with the good as all these people pass through the doors of the penitentiary.

The correctional officers are especially alert during times of heightened tensions.  They will even close the doors of the prison during those periods.  However, only a foolish inmate will try to escape during a lock-down.  A clever inmate will seek his freedom in the routine, when the correctional officers are numbed by the sameness of everyday.  If the correctional officers are not continually vigil,  an inmate could easily slip through with the routine.

Therefore, a guard is necessary to check the door of the prison at all times.

In comparison to some people, I do not speak a lot of words during a day.  However, there still is a lot that passes the door of my lips.  Most of what I have to say is mind numbingly routine.  I rarely say anything profound and the vast majority of my words are to my family, friends, and colleagues.

I have gotten in trouble with my words more in the routine than any other time.  The bad has easily slipped in with the good as I have mind numbingly spewed forth the mundane.

When I speak with someone I don’t know; I am very aware of what is passing from my mouth.
When I speak to a client, I am very deliberate with my words.
When I am in a conflict, I try to be careful about what I say.
When tensions are high, I try to pick my words with intention.

I try to increase the number of guards over the doors of my mouth when tensions are high.  Sometimes, I have even gone on full mouth lock-down when my guard could not discern good words from bad.


prison (Photo credit: kIM DARam)

I realize that there are some who allow anger to kill the guards of their mouths and let all of the bad flow out in their rage.  Their worlds are always impacted just as if the local penitentiary were to release a bus load of criminals into my small town.  It can take years to clean up the mess of the unrestrained release of unkind and hurtful words into a person’s life.

However, a person with the self-control to guard his mouth in times of tension is not free from a life of vigilance.  The bad is still trying to get out.  We are all susceptible to being distracted by the routine of life.

I have spoken the most unloving words to those I love the most.
I have been misunderstood more often by those who understand me the best.

We always need a guard over our mouths.  We need someone to inspect every word that is sent through the doors of our lips.  Our problem is that our word generator is broken.  The words of our mouth reflect our heart, which is broken.  That is why God gave us His Spirit.

One of the functions of the Spirit is to guard our mouths. 

It is not a surprise that our words get us into trouble when we are not walking in the Spirit.  We are relying upon our self-will to guard our mouths when we are not living within the power of the Spirit.  That will never work out well since our self-will is a co-conspirator with our fallen heart.

If you want to double the guards of your mouth, then set your mind on the Spirit.  Everyone will benefit from that.

PRAYER: Lord, protect me from myself.  Guard my words.  Give me self-control and wisdom in all that I say.  Help me to speak words of reconciliation.  Fill my mouth with words of kindness and love.  Lord, I know what is in my heart; set a guard over that brokeness.  Fill me with your Spirit and help me to bear the fruit of your Spirit, particularly in what I say.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. As i teach children, I learn from their actions how important it is to train them up in the ways of the lord.. The world is so ready to jump in and steal their attention. Instill the love of God at an early age…..

    • Amen! – It is so important.
      God Bless!

  2. Reblogged this on tina7serrano's Blog and commented:
    How hard is it for us to guard our words?
    Reading and living God’s Holy Word is the way to allowing only that which is edifying come out of our mouths….

    • Thanks for the reblog. I appreciate it very much.
      God Bless!

  3. Reblogged this on Special Creation Woman.

  4. Reblogged this on ezrascrollofscribes and commented:
    The Power of the Tongue. Awesome blog!

  5. This has been the story of my life and these past few days I have been attacked by the lack of words of my life. People been telling me I don’t talk or speak to people enough. It has been a constant attack on my character through words because people are not in the Spirit of God when they talk to you or talking to you. I am a quiet person by nature but slow to speak or talk alot. I carefully guard my words because like you said and still get misunderstood by people who are suppose to understand me the most. I want to sometimes express my feelings but don’t want to say anything that may cause anger, offense, or ridicule. I just recently got a text from someone that hurt me so bad that I needed prayer just to get the negative words off and it was written on a phone. Someone recently told me I didn’t speak to her and I remember she didn’t speak when she came in at all. I was quiet and listening then began to speak. Another incident, someone got offended at something I did and said all these hurtful things to me being a person that is suppose to know me the best. People need to make sure what they are saying is truly inspired by God because I can discern when folks are talking out of their frustrations, hurt, anger, discouragement, pain, offense and flesh hurling all this through words at another person. Psychology terms called it displacement when you react to something but targeted to someone or something else who isn’t the blame. This was a blessing blog.

  6. […] "WORD GUARDING" – Sept 25. […]

  7. Great analogy! I never really pondered the fact that it is when I am with people I trust most that I tend to let the ‘guards’ have the day off. Wonderful post–thank you for reminding me to be vigilant and set my mind on the Spirit. Grace and peace to you today.

  8. May I have your permission to reblog this next week on specialcreationwoman.wordpress.com on Tuesday? Tuesdays are the days I like to post “Recipes for Health and Happiness” and this is an especially good one.

    • I would be very honored if you would reblog the post. Thank you very much.
      God Bless!

      • Thank you so much!

  9. Thank you so much for this timely word. I plan to put it in a special e-mail folder where I can read it often.

    This was a great blessing to read. Keep up the good work!

  10. What a picture! Taming the tongue is a continual lesson for me. Thank you for this post!

  11. Another great inspiring post, JD.

  12. Amen! And your wrong, you do say things that are profound. This post was such an example. Thanks for sharing your words.

  13. Wow what a vivid analogy, I like it! I like how you make a point of not only guarding what bad comes out, but also what good goes in

  14. […] “WORD GUARDING” – Sept 25 […]

  15. I loved your analogy. It’s so true that some of the worst things I have ever said have not been in a conflict, but in the routine day-to-day interactions I’ve had. Thank you for this reminder to guard my words! Also, to look deeper, to where the words are coming from: my heart. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” -Psalm 19:14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: