When God created you, He did not create you with boundless energy and open-ended freedom so you could run here and there, keeping yourself busy all the time. He created you with purpose and part of that purpose has to do with boundaries. I love the quote: “God doesn’t have to abuse you to use you.” He’s not looking for workers; He’s looking for sons and daughters. God Himself understands limits and boundaries because He created them and works within them Himself. Let’s take a look at some of the boundaries God created, and the limits He operates within.
In Revelation 3:20 God is speaking and He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” God is standing at the door of our hearts and is knocking. We see that He is pursuing and initiating here but then we see our part in the next line: “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door….” This is our part. It is our job to hear the knock and open the door. God does not force His way in. He doesn’t plow down the door to get into our hearts and minds to make Him Lord. He simply knocks and waits. This is called a boundary.
We see in the next phrase, He says, “I will come in and dine with him.” We see again that open invitation, God walks through the door and sits and eats with us. God is showing us boundaries. He’s expressing limits. He is saying this is where you begin and I end, or, this is where I begin and you end. It is a dance of boundaries, limits, invitations, yeses and no’s. God has no interest in violating our boundaries.
We see Jesus tells the young ruler in Mark 10:17-27 the hard truth and sets a firm boundary. He says, “Sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in Heaven.” He makes a boundary; making it exceedingly clear that the man has to do this in order to have that. The rich young ruler then rejects the invitation, “…he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
You see, many of us expect God to interrupt His commands to keep us happy. But when we read this story in the Bible, it does not offend us. We clearly see Jesus was setting a limit on what He could provide for the man. The rich young ruler had the power to make his own decision. Jesus set a boundary. He will always set limits on what He will do and what we need to do. Was the man powerless? Absolutely not! He had every right to make any decision he chose, but he likewise had to accept what Jesus said. Jesus was not going to break His limits in order to keep the man happy.
We see this throughout the entire Bible. God never invades our personal choice or will. He initiates. He knocks. He speaks the truth, and then He leaves it up to us to make a decision. Even the people of Israel were given a free will and choice that dictated their path.
Lastly, think about the story in Genesis about Adam and Eve. This is a clear story of how God used boundaries and limits without control. When God finally found them hiding in the garden, He asked them questions that revealed their heart. Even though they were afraid and ashamed, He continued with His boundary. He cast them out of the garden and gave them each consequences for their sin. He was a good father. A good father follows through with what He says. So when He speaks, we trust Him. If He doesn’t follow through, we wouldn’t trust Him. God, even though it was excruciating, followed through with what He had said. He understood boundaries and limits, establishing a very clear “yes” and “no.”
So today, you need to see God as a good Father, not a controlling master; to understand He has boundaries and limits and they are part of His commitment to keep us safe. If He allowed everything, all of the time, and never followed through with what He said, we would be in big trouble. It is His kindness and love that sets boundaries.