“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1
In the previous post I dealt with balance and why I believe the idea of living life in balance is a myth. Let’s talk boundaries.
Boundaries are crucial to an obedient and God pleasing life. They give us parameters and a guide where to go and where not to go.
We all have them. The question comes down to whether or not our boundaries are intentionally set based on God’s Word or are they there by default based on our past experiences and upbringing. Our sense of right and wrong starts with our built in conscience but is built by our experiences and background and influences in our past. This sense in part sets our boundaries. We are far better off if we can make a serious and intentional effort to set and reset our boundaries according to the Word of God led by His Spirit.
I’m not just talking rules of conduct and accountability here, though that absolutely is a part of it. Yet, boundaries are much more than these.
Boundaries coincide with our core values and motivations that move and lead and guide us. Boundaries work to keep us focused and in tune with our purpose and calling. Boundaries dictate our relationships and where they go. Boundaries affect our schedule and our free time. Boundaries actually bring freedom and not restriction because they remove they bring clarity and understanding and remove the guessing.
In my life, boundaries mean that I do not find my identity in what others say or even in what I accomplish. A very wise pastor who was a mentor and hero of mine would often say, “If you don’t get too high when they praise you, you won’t fall too hard when they criticize you.” Because both will and do happen. This helps me combat pride and depression. Both issues that have had too much control at differing times of my life.
In light of this past weekend’s event with the public confession of a pastor, it would be very easy just to focus on moral boundaries. Truth is, we know those. So did and does he. His transgression happened because of a crossing or improperly set boundaries in other areas long before it got to the point of the moral issue at hand.
Boundaries help us live with proper priorities in every area of life. To be a healthy person spiritually we must look after the physical body and keep it disciplined, we must tend to our emotional needs, relationally we must keep all things appropriate, and it is imperative that we keep our personal walk with God tight through everything.
When the boundaries begin to break down or get crossed in the little areas is when we are on the path for the “big” problems. It always starts small and seemingly innocent. I know that those who hold tight to their boundaries can appear rigid and even legalistic, but for many that very thing keeps them on track. We must learn to keep all things in proper perspective and not force our boundaries on others. The standard is God’s Word, not our thinking or opinions or ways. This doesn’t mean we can’t share with one another for the sake of growing together, but it does mean that we do so as equals moving forward together as not in judgment or self-righteous piety.
There is much more I could say on this, but I would love some feedback from you on boundaries and what you have found that works in your life.
What boundaries do you have with your time, family, work, etc. that are helping you move into a life pleasing to God?
(I’ll resume the postings on follow-thru with my next post.)