'Guard it with your life' is used when you want to impress or imply the importance of keeping something safe, such as 'He was given the only copy of the sales figures for the meeting and told to guard them with his life.
It does not literally mean to sacrifice your life but to take great care as if your life depended on it.
Of course a bodyguard to a head of state might be required to lay down his life to protect him from assasination (and often does)
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