The Great Tool of Wise Boundaries

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Some people avoid boundaries because they suppose such restraints restrict their personal liberty. But we ignore wise boundaries to our own peril. Everyone follows them to a certain extent. For example, unless we want to spend the better part of our life in prison, we better obey the laws of the land. We will not go far if we ignore certain behavior rules at school, or in the workplace.

God gives us these limitations for our own good and to spare us much pain. In addition to biblical commands, we should set up personal boundaries. Personal boundaries keep us from falling into things that tempt us. For example, the man or woman tempted to materialism needs a spouse or friend to hold them accountable for their spending. Similarly, the person tempted to immoral behavior needs to set up strict standards of relationship behavior. Why? To avoid the pain and emotional scars that such behavior brings.

How can we set up wise boundaries?

1. By thinking through the consequences of bad behavior.
Perhaps we should follow this process first. Think through the pain and baggage caused by destructive behavior. Do we really want this? Is it worth it? If not, why wouldn’t we place proper restraints to our behavior?

2. Build your life around these boundaries.
At this point, some people balk and say, “Wow, then my life would be lived in a straight jacket.” But such reasoning misses Jesus’ point when He says those who sin become enslaved to it:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin’ ” (John 8:34).

Everyone lives within some boundaries. Those who claim to live in complete freedom are actually in bondage to sin:

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).

Once we get used to following healthy boundaries, they become as normal to us as putting on a pair of shoes. We as Christians should live differently. As we do, God will bless our pilgrimage to His heavenly kingdom.

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