Friday, January 3, 2014
Boundaries and Borders
Driven by my personality I am always striving and wanting to push past my limitations. This has served me well many times in life but I am realizing that limits and boundaries are at times created by God to teach us virtue. They are healthy and grow us closer to God.
Sometimes we are setting things for ourselves to do that are out of our God given sphere. God gives us each a sphere of influence, a sphere of life. Can any of us reasonably travel the world over, go to every store, join every social media site, be pinterest worthy, seek perfection--- do everything well, or can we do a few things well? Can we minister to a few well? Sometimes we set the goals so high they will exhaust us or push us further away from God. Sometimes the goals are simply not what God has set before us.
If we minister to a few well, and they minister to a few well, and so on---the influence God gives us is extended. Yet so often we focus on "the large, the big, the many" of life instead of the small things we are given to do well.
God designed our limits this way and yet we push and push and strive to exhaustion to get past our healthy limits. Boundaries teach us lessons-virtue--and they teach us to do well at the few things we are given.
Numerous times in the Bible when God gives His people land He speaks of the borders of the land. He knows human limitations. We are meant to live where God puts us so He will bless us and make us thrive. We are blessed and thrive as we recognize these limits but don't see them as a curse but rather a blessing.
"You have increased the nation, O Lord, You have increased the nation; You are glorified; You have expanded all the borders of the land." Isaiah 26:15
When we are given more, unlimited opportunities we take them. More food? I'll eat it. Free internet? I'll use it. Unlimited channels on your cable? Sure I"ll watch it! An unlimited shopping spree? I'll shop until I drop! It's on clearance? I"ll buy 10! Is having everything all without limits spiritually healthy? It is not God's way. His ways are not our ways. He sets limits so we grow, learn, thrive and get to know Him in a new way. He sets limits so we take the time to sit at His feet. Without limits we become gluttons, slothful and lacking self control.
There is a critical discipline many miss- self governance. Governing the self and being disciplined enough to know what is for us and what is not. What to participate in and what to walk away from and leave behind. Without self governance given by the grace of God we will indulge ourselves into a spiritual sickness of more. And that more will never be enough. There will be another more and another and another. God knows this about sin, so He sets His holy borders, His limits so we will thrive.
Our example---Jesus--- He was not able to travel to every country during His ministry, He wasn't able to heal every person He came in contact with or every person that He heard was sick. He couldn't, it wasn't possible. He followed God's leading and stayed within the boundaries God had set for His ministry straight to the cross. Yet His ministry and His life have now traveled across all nations and all time periods because He obeyed God and where God asked Him to go. He didn't run off and say, "but God, there is this town here and there and there and I must go to this latest market to buy the newest garment even if I can't afford it because it's offered! I must have it!" Put it that way and it sounds unreasonable and silly doesn't it? We'd say to Jesus "but you are doing such great work where God has you! Don't disobey!" Jesus would have worked Himself into a frenzy trying to see and accomplish much but in the end not accomplishing much that was worthy.
We say and do this often ourselves. "It's not enough." "My world is so small." "I need more." "I need to participate in everything to feel accomplished and important." We work ourselves into a frazzle--- in the end not doing the few things God has put on our plate well and for His glory.
If you are in a situation of borders right now and it seems you can't get past them, pray and ask God what He is teaching and revealing about His character and what He is molding in yours. He makes peace within our borders and He fills us. Overflowing, running over, joy bursting forth. They are there for our benefit and because God loves us.