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The Beauty of Boundaries 1: Introduction to Our Study

The Beauty of Boundaries Day 1 – Introduction to our Study

Limits. As empowered, self-sufficient, stubbornly independent humans, we don’t like them! We bristle as we rub up against anything that hems us in, hinders our progress, denies us access, or nips our ambitions in the bud. We want to run free! We so easily chase after  the illusion that our truest joys are found in unfettered, reckless abandon.

But does living without boundaries always lead to our good? Might there be boundaries we are truly thankful for?  

No analogy is perfect, but indulge me for a moment. Imagine yourself on a trip to the zoo. You have the rare opportunity to walk right up to the edge of an enclosure and look into the face of a lion or tiger or elephant. In the wild, any one of those massive animals would pose a grave danger to your well-being. Instead, you can stand within feet, maybe even inches, of that magnificent creature, marvel at its strength or the uniqueness of its design, and possibly interact.  

What makes the difference? In most cases, it is heavy-duty, nearly impenetrable impact glass! There is a barrier in place to protect you and that animal, to preserve its home, and to enable you to experience the full beauty of that moment without any fear of harm.

When we stand on the shore, gazing out at the vast ocean, we also marvel—at the enormity of the volume of water, the sun dancing off the surface in a million sparkles, the gentle lapping at our feet, the fun we have riding the waves. But the scene changes dramatically and our fears ramp up into a furor when storms come and those waters crest and rush like a torrent beyond their bounds.  

On most days, we are truly grateful to the Lord that He has set a boundary for the oceans and sovereignly works to protect the land we call home (Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22). It delights His heart to watch us enjoy the full beauty of the ocean on our coastal visits without fear of harm.

Could we say the same for other boundaries we encounter? Can we see them as protection instead of hindrance? Might they be the Lord’s way of positioning us to experience the full beauty of His plans for us without fear?

Returning to our zoo analogy for a minute, it is good to think about the one who set the boundary between the animals and the visitors. It is the zookeeper who makes that decision and plans accordingly for the best of both parties. The zookeeper works behind the scenes to ensure protection for all concerned.  

As we contemplate boundaries, it is important to remember the One who is our ultimate Authority, Provider, and Protector. What does the Lord have to say about boundaries? Which ones are healthy and God-honoring? Conversely, which ones are panicked, self-protecting attempts to control our circumstances in ways that might bring harm to others and ourselves?

As we take the time to consider the concept of boundaries over the next few weeks, let’s continue to ask good questions, sincerely desiring to understand how to guard and nurture healthy relationships. Let’s encourage one another to seek God’s heart, His voice and His perspective as we grow in relationship with Him and with others. Let us look for His Spirit to show us which limits He sets for our good and which ones He calls us to set with the self-discipline He supplies.

While gaining a new appreciation for the beauty of boundaries, how wonderful it is to rejoice in a few truly limitless realities: God’s love for us is boundless and free! His salvation is available to all, without limit, without cost to us, without qualification! The fruit of His Spirit in our lives knows no bounds!  

Maybe, when we embrace His limits on our hearts and lives and implement the boundaries He directs, we increase our capacity to enjoy the full beauty of Who He is and the bounty He generously bestows upon us—all without an ounce of doubt or fear!

LORD, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
The land You have given me is a pleasant land.
  (in ESV: “the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”)
What a wonderful inheritance!
I will bless the LORD who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety. …
You will show me the way of life, 
granting me the joy of Your presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.

Psalm 16:5-11, NLT

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