What’s Your Attitude Toward Boundaries?
When you hear the word boundary, how do you react? Do you think in negative terms and believe that boundaries are restrictive toward your freedom and happiness? A lot of people think that way. They hate road signs and speed limits, they despise rules and regulations, and they pretty much rebel at being under any kind of authority.
What a sad way to look at life! What a tragic way to think about God and the fact that He has established boundaries for our good, not our harm. A frequently quoted scripture and one of my personal favorites is Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Look what God says about Himself. He’s got plans for you—good plans with hope and a future. Not plans to harm you! The boundaries He sets for you are for your good! Understanding God’s boundaries and following those boundaries are key to you living a full and abundant life.
Boundaries Serve Many Useful Purposes
In preparing to write this article, Judy and I took just a few minutes to consider a few of the positive impacts of having boundaries in our lives— God’s boundaries, that is.
Guide in your search for truth:
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:5)
Establish the clear path to eternal life:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (John 5:11,12)
Leads you toward understanding who you are and your purpose in life:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Helps to define your roles and responsibilities:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col 3:23,24)
Prevents you from becoming over-committed:
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. (Psalm 16:6)
Keeps you from dangerous places:
The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Improves focus and reduces the likelihood of unneeded distractions:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Promotes right thinking versus going to bad places in your thoughts:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8)
Increases productivity while reducing inefficiency:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16)
Reduces stress by helping you to prioritize:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33)
Boundaries Are Essential: Practical Examples
Let’s bring this discussion about boundaries to life by citing examples, some of which may hit very close to home. We can do this easily by looking at consequences, the outcomes which occur when God’s boundaries are not followed.
Your Purpose - God’s Will for Your Life:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Our Creator is amazing. Even though there are an estimated 7.9 billion people on the planet, He knows each one of us by name and even the number of hairs on our head. He created you with a purpose and He certainly doesn’t want to keep that purpose from you. Sadly, many folks (even some Christians) don’t believe this. They wander through life like ships without rudders. How sad, and how unnecessary!
Maybe this describes you. If so, things don’t need to remain this way. You can know your purpose. You can know what the Lord wants you to do with your life. I recommend that you begin by searching the Bible for and passages that speak to His revealed will for mankind. For example, God wants all people to be saved.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3,4)
In addition to verses like this, the Lord speaks a great deal about how we are to live as Christians. As a matter of fact, God’s guidance is so massive that none of us will ever do everything right in this life. It’s a process, but it’s a rewarding process when we know that God is transforming our lives in the image of His Son.
As you learn more about God’s revealed will for our lives, the Holy Spirit will begin to speak in more specific terms. He, the Holy Spirit, will guide your path and provide you with an inner witness that you are doing what you’re supposed to do. There’s nothing more joyous and fulfilling than knowing your purpose and doing it.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Obviously, we’re struggling to stay in bounds regarding marriage. The divorce rate in the US remains steady at between 40-50%. The causes for failed marriages range from adultery to poor communication, finances, unmet expectations, and many more. The collateral damage to individuals and families is devastating and the negative effects cascade from one generation to the next. Few families are untouched by divorce. Beyond this, many couples are opting not to marry. God established marriage as the foundational building block of society, but people are choosing to ignore it.
Judy and I know many married couples who are thriving in their marriages. Why? They are adhering to the boundaries that the Lord has established for marriage. How about you?
My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. (Proverbs 4:20-22)
The health of the average American is in decline. The military reports that their recruiting efforts are hindered by the small pool of young men and women who are both interested in the military and could meet the basic fitness standards. Obesity in America and around the world is approximately 40%. Hospitals and other medical facilities are overwhelmed by the plethora of health issues- physical, mental, and emotional. Efforts to exercise more, eat better, and monitor general health seem to be on the back burner for many. They simply want a quick fix.
Your life and service to God are important. Therefore, it only makes sense to take care of your body, mind, soul, and spirit to the very best you can. Please make that choice today. After all, you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He redeemed you at great price—His life!