Confronting the Boundaries in Our Lives

Sorry for the missed post. For the month of February, I’ve decided that I would be focusing on God’s love for us as human beings and as His children over the next couple posts. For this blog post, I couldn’t help but turn to one particular passage of scripture that I kept thinking about in Luke 18:22. In that verse, Jesus was trying to tell the rich young ruler that what he lacked was his inability to give all that he had to the poor and follow after Christ.

In my Bible, there is a notation at the bottom of my Bible that made me stop and think about what Christ is trying to reveal to us that may be hindering us from God’s blessing.

In my NKJV Study Bible, the notation said,

“Jesus was examining the ruler’s orientation to God by directly confronting him with the very thing that was hindering him…”

Luke 18:22

22. So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. See all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.

I like this verse because it reminds me that Jesus will oftentimes tell us what we lack in order to get us to get us to understand that sometimes; God will place boundaries in our lives not to hinder us from our blessing but to help us confront whatever it is that is keeping us from the blessing God has for us.

Sometimes, however, it may feel that God is just restricting us but He is the God who puts boundaries in place for a reason and though we may not always see it; God’s love for us is enough to keep us from endangering ourselves or those around us.

God’s love for us is enough to keep us from endangering ourselves and those around us.

One story in the Bible that reminds me of us as human beings confronting the boundaries in our lives in the very first story of God placing boundaries in the Garden of Eden in Genesis. In Genesis 2:16-17, God is commanding Adam that he can eat of any tree in the Garden except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil saying, “16. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may eat; 17. but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

In these two verses, you and I can clearly see that God has placed boundaries on what Adam and later Eve could eat in the garden because He loved them enough that He gave them every other tree in the Garden to eat from.

I feel that this is just what God does today in our lives through His Word and through people He uses in our lives. Occasionally, it may feel that God is saying, “You can’t do this” or “You can’t go there. It’s dangerous for you” but in reality; that is just God trying to protect you and I from the dangers that going down the other path may bring. Even in the book of Exodus when Moses was given the Ten Commandments, God wasn’t just creating a “list” of commandments the people of Israel were to follow, but a covenant with His chosen people.

In Exodus 20:1-17, Moses was given the Ten Commandments so that the people of Israel would know that God had set terms and boundaries of His covenant with them. This reminds of a blog post by Efua of Grace over Pain called, “Have You Overstepped Your Boundary?” and in the blog post, she said, “God never gives a blessing without a restriction tied to it. This He does to avoid that blessing from being abused.

I like this quote because it should be a reminder to us as Christians and people that God will almost always have a restriction go with the blessing He is giving you. Because we have the blessing before us, we may sometimes forget about where the source of the blessing came from and abuse the blessing for our own gain instead of using it for God glory. That is why He gives us the blessing and a restriction.

In the blog post, Efua also makes several quotes that I think should become a reminder for us as Christians about the need for the boundaries in our lives.

  • Anything God gives us is to be used for His glory. Boundaries helps us to achieve this. But what do we do sometimes… We overstep our boundaries.”
  • “Have you overstepped your boundary in any way?”
    • There is a spiritual order God has put in place for us to be able to function effectively. And when this order is disrupted, we can’t fully enjoy the blessings assigned to that call.”
  • “When we remain within the boundaries God has provided, we harvest so much that we are able to enjoy peacefully.”
    • “However, when we step out of it, we harvest nothing.”

Efua said, “God never gives a blessing without a restriction tied to it. This He does to avoid that blessing from being abused.

God’s love for us is more than we can imagine and we should all be blessed to know that there is a God who is willing to love us despite our mistakes in life. Another point I want to make is that because of our unbelief in who Jesus Christ is, that could also be a factor into why we as Christians and as people don’t want to stay in the boundaries that God has set before us.

It’s because of our unbelief in who Jesus Christ is as the Son of God and the One who set us free from sin that in Matthew 12:38-39, the Pharisees and scribes demand a sign from Jesus to see if He is who He already said that He was. However, Jesus recognizes their unbelief in their hearts which is their boundary keeping them from seeing Christ as the Son of God.

In verses 38-39, Jesus says, “38. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from you’ 39. But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given…” I feel that here, Jesus was trying to tell the tell the Pharisees that because of their unbelief, there wouldn’t be a sign given to them because of this.

Sometimes, it may not be a straight-forward boundary that keeps us from God’s blessing. It may just be because of our unbelief in who Jesus Christ is in our lives that is hindering us.

This also reminds me of a sermon that I previously mentioned by Pastor Robert Madu entitled, “I Have Issues – Part 2” that talks about our pride, but also in the sermon he talks about our boundaries and the adversary Satan as well. In the sermon, he said, “… he’s trying to get them to forget God’s blessing by focusing on God’s boundary” referring to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

I like this quote because it should be a reminder to us as Christians that just like God knows our boundaries, so does our enemy; Satan who will try and get us to focus on the boundaries God has set before us to try and get us to overstep our boundaries and into sin. In the sermon, Pastor Madu makes several quotes about our boundaries and I like this because it can be a reminder for us as Christians today.

  • “… the enemy has narrowed their focus on the one tree that they cannot touch.”
  • “… Everything God creates, He creates boundaries.”
    • “boundaries are not to prohibit you but to protect you.”
    • “boundaries are needed.”
  • “… the only one that question God’s boundary was us.”
  • “We are the only created entity that questions God’s boundary.”

God’s boundaries over our lives isn’t a limitation but a way to keep us from forsaking Him and falling into sin, but we oftentimes are like our parents Adam and Eve and we disregard God’s blessing and decide to focus on the boundary or boundaries that He has placed in our lives.

Instead of focusing on the boundaries in our lives, we as Christians and as people should be more concerned with our obedience to the Father despite the boundaries in our lives. This is something I struggle with from time to time because despite knowing the boundaries in my life, I still want to overstep my boundaries because I am just curious of what is on the other side and more times than not; it’s led to consequences because of me overstepping my boundaries.

Pastor Robert Madu said, “God is more concerned with your obedience than He is concerned with your opinion.

Jesus’s interactions with the scribes and Pharisees are good examples of some of the boundaries in our lives that aren’t so noticeable. In Matthew 15:1-3, Jesus and the Pharisees have a discussion over tradition and it says, “1. Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2. ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they did not wash their hands when they eat bread. 3. He answered and said to them. “Why do you also transgress the commandments of God because of your tradition.”

Jesus was trying to get the scribes and Pharisees to understand that their concern for tradition outweighed their love for God and it was due to the Pharisees hardened hearts that was hindering them from accepting Christ as the Son of God.

Sometimes when we are confronted with the very thing that is hindering us, it may just be the fact that our hearts are hardened. In Psalms 95:8, the author (presumably David) said, “8. Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion. As in the day of trail in the wilderness.” And what I think the author was trying to convey was that we as people and as Christians shouldn’t harden our hearts, because it was the Israelites hardening of their hearts that lead to their rebellion of Moses and having to wander the desert for 40 years.

Our sin and disobedience is another boundary that can separate us from the blessings God has in store for us. Whenever we fall into sin, we are furthering ourselves from God, but God’s love is never-ending and He still loves us despite our sin and we can’t thank Him enough for it.

Because of our sin, we don’t deserve His love but because of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, we are forgiven. God’s boundaries in our lives are a necessity that we as Christians and as people need in order to keep us from giving into temptation.

In the end, though, God places boundaries in our lives, to harm us or restrict us, but to make sure that we don’t fall into temptation and sin. However, when we choose to stay within God’s boundaries, we will be able to receive the blessings that God has in store for our lives. Confronting the boundaries in our lives just might be the thing that God uses to test us and see if we will decide to trust in His timing or overstep our boundaries.

So, what will you do the next time you are confronted with a boundary in your life?

Will you decide to stay within God’s boundaries?

Will you trust that God has your best interests at heart when you confront the boundaries in your life?

Or, Will you overstep your boundaries and face the consequences?

 

God’s blessings,

Joshua Reid

 

References

Efua. “Have You Overstepped Your Boundary?” 13 Sep 2017, graceoverpain.com, https://graceoverpain.com/2017/09/13/have-you-overstepped-your-boundary/ . Accessed 02 Feb 2018.

“Robert Madu 2016 – I Have Issues Part 2”, YouTube, uploaded by Awakening Conference 2017, 1 year ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeDHaIZ9eQw . Accessed 08 Feb 2018.

 

Picture References

Author Unknown. “Luke 18:22”, http://biblepic.com/luke/18-22.htm#.Wn8hUqinHIW . Accessed 07 Feb 2018.

Author Unknown. “Psalms 95:8”, http://biblepic.com/53/psalms_95-8.htm#.Wn8i_ainHIV . Accessed 10 Feb 2018.

Author Unknown. “The Ten Commandments”, http://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/the_ten_commandments.htm . Accessed 09 Feb 2018.

Patterson, Joseph. “Old Testament Torah”, modified over 4 years ago, http://slideplayer.com/slide/262674/ . Accessed 08 Feb 2018.

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash .

Sherman, Antonia. “Matthew 12”, modified over 2 years ago, http://slideplayer.com/slide/7627796/ . Accessed 09 Feb 2018.

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Confronting the Boundaries in Our Lives

  1. I love the perspective shift that you encourage us to adopt… to focus not on the boundaries but on the blessings and to see how obedient we can be to our heavenly Father. This is so very wise, Joshua, as well as encouraging. Your post is superb! Thank you for this wonderfully Biblical challenge. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Lynn, for the comment. I like when you said, “… to focus not on the boundaries but on the blessings and to see how obedient we can be to our heavenly Father.” because that is exactly what we as Christians should be doing; focusing on the blessings of God instead of focusing on the boundaries He has placed on us.

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    • Thank you for the comment, T.R. it’s greatly appreciated. Sometimes, we as Christians often focus on the boundaries God has placed in our lives but we often forget about the blessing that came with that boundary.

      God’s love for us is enough that He gave Adam and Eve and us Christians today; boundaries in order to keep us from falling into sin. But like our parents Adam and Eve, we oftentimes choose to overstep our boundaries and because of it, we face the consequences of our decisions. Have their been times where you have been forced to confront a boundary in your life?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good stuff right here! I really like this quote “he’s trying to get them to forget God’s blessing by focusing on God’s boundary”. Very true. We focus so much on what we can’t do. We often times complain of the many “thou shall nots” that we forget about the many many blessings and freedom we have access to. As always, whatever we focus on magnifies. So the more we focus on the boundaries, the more they become a big of a deal to us. And the result of this is that we become curious and inquisitive. This pushes us to overstep our boundary. Thanks for this reminder Joshua. It’s always humbling to see you refer to my blog. God bless you my bro.

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words Efua; they are really encouraging. I really love when you summarized it right here: “We focus so much on what we can’t do. We often times complain of the many “thou shall nots” that we forget about the many many blessings and freedom we have access to. As always, whatever we focus on magnifies. So the more we focus on the boundaries, the more they become a big of a deal to us. And the result of this is that we become curious and inquisitive. This pushes us to overstep our boundary.”

      Because we are inquisitive and want to know what’s on the side of the boundary, we oftentimes overstep our boundaries. I enjoy referring to your posts Efua because they are truly encouraging to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice post Joshua. The reason Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had then have the earnings to be distributed to the poor was that those things became his god. Jesus wanted all of his heart not part of it. So for that young man to come to Christ he needed to decide who he wanted more.

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    • Thank you SpaniardVIII for the comment. I really enjoyed the story of the rich young ruler because it very much characterizes us and where our hearts truly lie. I like what you said, “Jesus wanted all of his heart not part of it. So for that young man to come to Christ he needed to decide who he wanted more.” and I believe that is an issue for us today as Christians.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Insightful and thought-provoking post—thank you! Definitely a heart issue we as Christians are challenged to delve into more deeply, both personally and, I bet, collectively.

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    • Thank you so much Mia for the comment.

      I like when you said, “… we as Christians are challenged to delve into more deeply, both personally and… collectively. ”

      I also wanted to thank you for following my blog. I don’t know what it was that drew you in, but I am humbled to see what God is doing through this blog around the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Although this was a very long post, I always enjoy God’s Word presented and discussed in ways that encourage us as Christians to explore His Word and our hearts more deeply. From the few posts I’ve read so far, you seem like you’re doing that really well, which challenges me to grow and learn (and that’s a good thing😉).

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