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Boundaries That Define Us

From the very beginning of time, boundaries have been set.

In creation, God set everything in place… The waters of the seas had boundaries so that the boundary of land could be set. He separated the light from the darkness to set the boundaries of day and night…the sun, the moon, and the stars were set in place as signs to mark seasons, days, and years.  Boundaries helped define each part of creation. And it was all good (Genesis 1:18b).

Adam and Eve were created and placed in the Garden of Eden and given responsibilities. Basically, God showed them what they were responsible for…they were given boundaries.

  • Here’s what you can do…work the garden and take care of it. Name the animals and have dominion over them. 

  • Here’s what you can’t do…eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…or die.

Now we all know what choice they made. But did you ever wonder why God set these boundaries in place? Was it just to arbitrarily give them a test to see if they would be obedient? Was it to test their love for their creator God?

I’m just speculating here, but maybe it was to define them as set apart from the rest of creation. Created in the image of God, yet not in place of God. 

Maybe God was saying, “This is who you are. This is what defines you. What makes you…you. And what sets Me apart…what makes Me…God. I can handle the knowledge of good and evil and remain who I AM. But if you eat it, it will bring about change that will redefine your spirit and soul.” 

So how do we look at boundaries in our world today? Boundaries in the physical world are easy to see. They are marked by lines, signs, fences, hedges, and more. They tell us where someone’s property begins and ends. We are not responsible for that property, but the owner is responsible. It can be easy to see boundaries such as physical property lines. But the boundaries that define our soul, the spiritual boundaries can be harder to discern. 

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend talk about this in their book titled, yep, you guessed it…Boundaries: When To Say Yes How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life. Here are a few gems from the second chapter:

“... boundaries define your soul, and they help you guard it and maintain it (Prov. 4:23).” 

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.”  

So in relationships, our boundaries tell us what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for. For instance, the Bible tells us we are to have self-control.  Townsend and Cloud make the argument that “We are not…responsible for other people. Nowhere are we commanded to have “other-control,” although we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get it!”  He goes on to make the point that, “we are responsible to others and for ourselves.” This responsibility to one another is commanded of us in Galatians 6:2

 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” 

Sometimes our burdens are just too heavy to carry and we need help and support from others. Christ, in dying on the cross for our sins, carried the burden of our sins to the cross in an amazing demonstration of sacrificial love. Doing for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. The light of his sacrificial love shines from within us when we give of ourselves to help someone who does not have the strength or resources to carry the load of their own personal burden.  

So where am I going with all of this? This is such a huge topic we could write an entire book about it…or maybe a series of books. But wait…that’s been done. 

I guess, in my mind, the bottom line is that boundaries give us the freedom to be who we were created to be. If you want to understand how to attain that freedom, go to God’s Word. Dig in deep and uncover the truths of Who He is and who you are. Know the boundaries that God has set for you in His Word. They will help you in setting your own boundaries in your relationships, in knowing who you are and who you are not. 

When we know the truth of God’s Word, we know the truth of who we truly are in relation to who He truly is. Instead of feeling limited by His Word, you will find true freedom and peace in a world filled with the confusion of so many souls striving to live without boundaries.

Who are you allowing to fill your cup? Who is setting your boundaries? Who is redefining your spirit and soul? 

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

  you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

    even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.

    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 16:5-8.

 I pray for you that your boundary lines will fall in pleasant places!


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