Welcome to Day 14 of #write31days!
For more information check out the series’ page.
We have talked about boundaries found in nature and in ourselves, but there’s one more source to look for boundary foundations: the Bible speaks a lot about freedom and grace and love for each other – this does not exclude boundaries, however. It actually recommends them.
God and Boundaries
Something that many people really have a hard time wrapping their mind around is God as trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are one, and yet they are three. Each of them has unique characteristics and features. The Father as creator and provider. The Son as savior and friend. The Spirit as counselor and encourager. They are all one, and yet there are clear boundaries. Weird concept, I know, but it shows that boundaries are not unfamilar in the spiritual realm.
In fact, God himself has set boundaries in nature. We find it in the creation stories and verses such as these:
Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. Jeremiah 5:22
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. Job 26:10
We need boundaries in nature, otherwise we would constantly live in darkness (and who wouldn’t want to have these breathtaking sunrises and sunsets!). The land we live on would be swamp and our houses would sit on very shaky ground.
Certain boundaries secure and enable a safe life.
Whenever God sets boundaries he has good intentions for this place. A set apart place is where inheritance falls and prospers.
Thus says the Lord God: “This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:13
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
We will only see inheritance prosper if we set good boundaries. Not to close others off, but to protect our treasures. The treasures God has given us as our inheritance.
We often consider ‘inheritance’ a physical thing – a piece of land, money etc. But especially the New Testament uses ‘inheritance’ in a different context. We as believers are promised eternal life with Christ, and parts of it are available now. Life with Christ is a life of abundance, of peace, of joy.
Faith is a gift, new abundant life is a gift. But we still need to use all our awareness and effort to protect it. Take care of that new life that’s been planted inside you.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Taking care of our hearts, guarding our minds is not just an option – the bible tells us it’s essential. Keeping the life – the abundance – alive in us will revive everything else; letting it flow out will eventually dry up our strength, our energy, our motivation, our joy, our sense of self.
Take (No) Responsibility
This might sound awfully selfish in some people’s ears – isn’t the main message of Christianity to love others?
Yes, we have been loved from the very beginning, through all our failures, and until the very end. Because of this love we’re called to love others, especially when it’s hard. How does that look like in practice?
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
We can show love very practically by carrying each other. Being there for each other, listening to someone’s stories. Crying with the sad, celebrating with the happy. Lifting each other up in prayer when you’re too weak to pray.
We can help each other out, cooking dinner when someone’s busy working. Moving boxes all around town when you have to change houses. Driving cross-country because someone just needs a friend.
We can only make it all the way if we walk together.
For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:5
Carrying each other doesn’t mean to simply drop off all our cares with someone else. I can’t just let go because someone else will do everything for me. I can’t take all the blame because a friend refuses to take responsibility for him/herself.
Growing up ultimately is about taking responsibility for yourself and forcing others to do the same. Finding the balance between persevering to the end and allowing others to help might be one of the hardest exercises in the course of life.
Take some time to re-read these pieces of scripture in their contexts. Thank God for setting boundaries in nature and in your life. Allow him to show you where you still need to take care and responsibility of yourself and less of others.