Let’s be honest, we’ve all broken boundaries before. It’s far too easy to do. In one area or another, probably in many, we’ve stepped over the line and then most likely gone even further than that.
Well, there’s good news for us all:
‘His compassions never fail. They are new every morning’
(Lamentations 3 v 22-23.)
This means you are forgiven for whatever you’ve done, no matter how often you’ve done it. In fact, His compassion is not just new every morning, it is new every moment, every second, every single time that you need it. You don’t have to wait for a new day to begin to receive forgiveness and start again – you can receive it right now, for literally anything and everything you’ve ever done.
Looking Back or Looking Ahead?
We can often feel down when we read about how to stand firm and set great boundaries as we look back at our lives and see all the times we failed to do it. Maybe we grew up not knowing God, maybe there were many times we faced strong temptations, or maybe it was just that no-one gave us any advice about how to do things a better way.
Whatever the reason, God doesn’t look back at our sins when we come to Him. He only looks ahead and sees someone ready to honour Him and live to their full potential from this point onwards.
Be encouraged; if you’ve not had boundaries before or if you’ve had them but then crossed them more times than you can count – you’re not alone.
Ask For Forgiveness
None of us are perfect and God is with you no matter what you’ve been through before.
There may be certain things that are more tempting for you now because of the past, but that just means you can depend on God even more fully, as you establish boundaries to protect you where you are from that greater temptation.
It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness and, more importantly, to receive it… in full!
God is all about restoration and those boundaries that have been broken can be set in place once more as we ask God for strength and support in not breaking them again.
Temptations And Struggles
There is one other thing to address, however: there may be some boundaries that we frequently cross. Even if we have known God for a long time, even if we would describe ourselves as mature Christians who are close to God and who seek to do what’s right, even if we say to God that we will never do it again, even if we promise to Him we won’t go close to it any more (and when we pray it, we mean it!). Even THEN we may still struggle with a particular thing over and over again.
If that is you then, again, you’re not alone.
The reality is we are only human and we may just keep getting it wrong for a long time to come. God knows what it’s like to be tempted – He spent long enough on Earth to experience that – and though He never gave in to temptation, He understands that we will give in, and that we do give in, sometimes on many occasions in the exact same sin.
Don’t beat yourself up about it.
It’s not right to sin and God isn’t pleased when we do, but every time we turn from it and come back to his open arms, He is overjoyed and forgives us incessantly.
Heaven Is Cheering You On
There is a difference, you see, between turning your back on God’s rules and trying to keep them, but failing.
In the first instance, the boundaries have been rejected and we are living as we want to, regardless of what happens afterwards. We no longer care how God feels about it and aren’t seeking to do what is right.
That’s a problem – and a huge one to have to face one day.
In the second instance, we know full well we have crossed the line. We acknowledge we shouldn’t do it and are ashamed when we mess up. We may try our best not to sin and yet, at times of weakness, fall foul to temptation – but the key thing is, we recognise the boundary and our fault in stepping over it.
God loves it when we keep trying to do what is right even though we aren’t perfect. He is cheering us on and wants us to succeed. I believe, as long as you want to stop sinning and aim to do what is right, then that really is okay. The sin isn’t good, but the desire to stop sinning certainly is. That’s what God is looking for.
Don’t rule yourself out when you make a mistake, even the same one for the thousandth time. Don’t see yourself as unworthy or useless or ruled out of someone who God can use for amazing things. That’s not how God sees you.
Keep Going, Keep Pressing On
When God looks at you, He sees the perfection of His Son, who died for all your sins. Someone who can be used for His plans and purposes if your heart is in the right place. You may get it wrong, but if you’re facing the right way and keep looking to Jesus, then you’ll keep moving forwards.
Keep going and never give in, even when times are tough and the enemy has a go at you by reminding you how often you mess up. He only does this because he knows that someone who isn’t held back by failures is powerful in God’s Kingdom.
When the times you’ve crossed the boundaries come back to your mind, thank God for His forgiveness which wipes those sins away and keep pressing on to what God has for you instead.
It’s not the number of times you’ve sinned that makes you any better or worse in God’s eyes; it is only the state of your heart right now that matters to Him
How’s Your Heart?
Consider, have you turned towards Him with Godly boundaries in place in your heart, in your mind, and in your life? Or, are you seeking to live for yourself and making up your own rules as you go along?
Even if we decide to make up our own rules on just one issue instead of what God has clearly said, we won’t be ready to receive all He has for us, and it’s likely we will start eroding other rules in the future too. That is always the way it goes – whether we do this on a personal level or a society on the whole – and it never has positive consequences, no matter what we tell ourselves.
Instead, let’s make sure we let God’s principles determine our boundaries.
Let’s do it in advance of encountering those things that will pull us away from God, let’s set them with the right motivation and perspective and let’s not rule ourselves out of God’s plan when we get it wrong at times in any way.
Let’s embrace the forgiveness He has for us all as we move forward on the path God’s got for us, living for God’s pleasure and not for ours, and setting good, Godly and safe boundaries in place around us.
I hope this series has helped you to begin setting boundaries that are freeing rather than restrictive, protective rather than destructive, and that truly opens you up to the full potential that God has for your life, as you live it in line with His guidance, for His glory and for the extension of His Kingdom.