It means to take measures to prevent the occurrence of something; to hinder something; to keep something from happening. It might include avoiding or deterring or prohibiting.
Examples of prevention:
Prevention Magazine—a publication that focuses on ways to prevent some illnesses and disease.
“Only you can prevent forest fires”—a well known campaign in which Smoky the Bear warned that we as individuals should make every effort to prevent starting a forest fire.
Prevent defense—a defensive action in football used to try to stop the offense from scoring.
Preventative dental/health care—steps that are taken proactively to maintain good oral and physical health.
Preventative maintenance—doing the prescribed maintenance on a vehicle or equipment in an effort to reduce breakdowns.
Crime prevention—steps and methods used to stop crime or criminal activity.
We are surrounded by opportunities that we can take to keep or slow down things from happening. We may not always succeed but the chances of success are greater if we follow certain procedures or guidelines.
When you try to prevent something you are taking steps to guard against something—usually something bad.
As you read through the Bible you quickly realize that God would have us prevent certain things in our lives by setting up guards. For instance:
Guard Your Heart
This is what you already know:
- Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
John Gill commented (almost 270 years ago)…
"The mind from vanity, the understanding from error, the will from perverseness, the conscience clear of guilt, the affections from being inordinate and set on evil objects, the thoughts from being employed on bad subjects; and the whole from falling into the hands of the enemy, or being the possession of Satan: great diligence had need be used in keeping it, since it is naturally so deceitful and treacherous; a strict eye is to be kept upon it; all the avenues to it to be watched, that nothing hurtful enters, or evil comes out; it is to be kept by all manner of means that can be thought of, by prayer, hearing, reading, meditation; and, above all, by applying to Christ for his grace and Spirit to sanctify, preserve, and keep it."
Guard Your Eyes
- Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
- Job 31:1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
Guard Your Mind
- Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Guard Your Good Name
- Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Guard Your Speech
- Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Guard Your Friendships
- Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
- 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Guard Your Word
- James 5:12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
- Psalm 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change.
Guard Your Testimony
- Philippians 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.
- 2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.
- 1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Guard Your Emotions
- Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- Galatians 5:22 -23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
A study of these passages is a reminder that there are specific actions that we can take to prevent the occurrence of some things in our lives. Our problem is often that we let our guard down. We choose to indulge self. We allow the opportunity for sin in our lives.
I would encourage you to consider what you can do to live and act in a proactive way and prevent sin and wrong doing in your life.