What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘boundaries’?
I almost think it has the same impact on me as the word ‘discipline’. They both sound like something that is set to spoil things and stop me from doing certain things!
I looked up the definition of ‘boundary’ and it is a line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
In Geography, a boundary is that which marks the end of one property and the beginning of another.
Throughout the Scriptures we see God has set certain boundaries.
In marriage there are certain boundaries which God expects us not to cross; for example, adultery.
Why is this? Because it brings devastation within a marriage, causing breakdown of relationships, causing hurt and a lack of trust.
God has placed boundaries for us for a reason and if we step over these, we are responsible for the hurt that can be caused and the lack of trust that can result.
We need to set up boundaries in our work and ministry for the Lord. We need to take care not to cross the boundary of overwork and burnout and learn to say “no” without feeling guilty or that we have let people down.
Life is filled with boundaries.
How often do we overstep the boundaries in our eating habits, for example? We know the devastating consequences on our health when we do, but we can still overstep those boundaries.
Parenting! This is a difficult one. When children are growing up they need boundaries. Most of these are for their own good and their safety. Children do not understand why parents set certain boundaries. Their reaction can be one of rebellion, because they do not see the reason behind the boundary.
Two and half years ago I was delighted with the news that my first grandchild was on the way.
When Hannah arrived in the world she was a beautiful, innocent baby and the joy I felt for her was indescribable. She is adorable. But, she needed certain boundaries to keep her safe and it soon became evident to me that even at a very early age Hannah rebelled against these.
Quite early on in her life she became very frustrated because these boundaries prevented Hannah from doing what she wanted to do.
The problem was, she didn’t see the dangers that faced her.
She was too young to understand the dangers and didn’t grasp the reason behind the boundaries that had been set up for her protection and well being.
This reminds me of the very first boundary that God gave to Adam and Eve, way back in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
God planted a beautiful garden and placed Adam and Eve in it. They had everything they needed and a perfect relationship with God. But, within this perfection, there were boundaries.
God said in Genesis 2:17 that Adam and Eve were not to take the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and if they did, they would die. Sadly, they disobeyed and were banished from the garden.
You see, if we cross the boundary line that is set for our protection, we suffer the consequences of our actions and the impacts on others too.
Because of the sin and decision Adam and Eve made we were separated from a loving Father God relationship.
But, thankfully, this was restored through Christ’s death and resurrection.
From the very beginning we see the benefits of boundaries within nature.
Genesis 1:3-4 the separation of light and dark.
Genesis 1:6-7 the vault which separated water from water
Genesis 1:14 day and night
Every boundary that God has set is for our benefit, our safety and our well being.
So, the next time God challenges us with his boundaries let us not resist them, but welcome them, knowing that only a loving Father would do this because he loves his children.