DAY 11: Understanding Boundaries

DAY 11: Understanding Boundaries

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 doesnt 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.


  1. Denise 4 years ago

    Came at a good time for me to read about boundaries.
    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  2. Kandee Mamula 4 years ago

    Great encouragements today about the importance of boundaries, especially for us “driven” types. 🙂 Thanks Havilah!

  3. Josh 4 years ago

    God is the HEALTHIEST parent. 🙂 Great word, Havilah.

  4. Jennifer 4 years ago

    God has no interest in violating our boundaries. This is good and I need the reminder often. It is us as humans who violate one another Insted of letting each other be in their own process. This is the part I need help with. I do not always make good choices. I often choose to trust the wrong people who end up violating me. Psychology would blame the individual for not maintaining clear boundaries by compromising and letting others violate us. Never mind the human tendency to be self serving and to push their ideals.
    If we could be more like God and let the yeses be yes and the nos be no in the lives of the people around us and not push it when we do not like the answer the world would would be a much kinder, gentler, and beautiful place to be. True that! I pray for that if it is posable.

  5. Samuel mwangi 4 years ago

    Great word there! Thank you so much, very timely

  6. Carrie Kibler 4 years ago

    you are a phenomenal blessing to the church and the world!

  7. Kristy 4 years ago

    I needed to read this today!!! I have to set boundaries, no matter what…

  8. Diana 4 years ago

    ❤️ Yes yes yes oh how I love boundaries and any discussion that has to do with boundaries. God is soo good. Thank you beautiful!

  9. Amelia Gaillard 4 years ago

    ” many of us expect God to interrupt His commands to keep us happy.” selah

  10. Lisa J Wood 4 years ago

    Playing catch up on this one…and I find myself sending each video out to my family and friends. These messages are powerful. I’ve seen so many people in my family struggle with boundaries. I love that you said, “God is a healthy parent.” That sums up his word. Teaching, loving, admonishing, correcting, encouraging, faithful, trusted, committed…that is what I want to be…a healthy parent to my 3.
    Beautiful! Thank you.

  11. ashley 4 years ago

    can you leave these videos up for a while?? I’d like to watch them again next month or sometime.

  12. Monique 4 years ago

    I have always had a question about this. Can you expound on this please: I always assumed that if I did something wrong and repented that I was safe from consequences but then I read about David and Bathsheba. Even though he repented, his child still died. So are there situations where there aren’t any consequences and God deviates from what he says are there always going to be consequences for our actions: premeditated or not?

  13. Angela 4 years ago

    I agree with setting boundaries for ourselves, because you’re right, we were not made to be limitless. Only God is limitless. I think its important to point out that although God typically does operate within certain boundaries, that He himself is not confined to those boundaries. In other words, there are also occasions where he pushes through those boundaries in order to accomplish His purposes. A biblical example would be when Peter stepped out of the boundary of his boat to walk on the water toward Jesus. An example in nature would be that God designed the oceans and seas to only come so far onto land, but we’ve all seen the devastation of hurricanes and typhoons that break those boundaries.

    Also, I’m hesitant about the key phrase for today, “God will not abuse you to use you”.
    This begs the question, “why does God allow suffering in our lives?”
    While Joseph’s abuse that led him in a downward spiral was not directly from God, what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. And while the abuse that Jesus suffered on the cross was inflicted primarily by the hands of men, it was certainly ordained by God.

    For people like myself and others who have a tendency to overbook ourselves and not utilize boundaries well, thereby putting ourselves in a situation where we’re forced to “do hard things” simply because we’re overwhelmed, I think two things come into play:
    1) This may be an opportunity for God to stretch us. While we are not limitless, God is and He has a limitless supply of everything we need. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
    2) If our lack of boundaries has gotten us into a situational overload, whatever other people are involved may not be full of grace and understanding when we can’t meet the expectations, but God is full of mercy and grace to meet us where we fail. Havilah has some great things to say about failure on Day 7.