How important are boundaries!
When I was at uni we had a field trip. With my 3 friends we were set down in the countryside for the day to map several kilometres of a creek, documenting its shape, sediment load and flow patterns. All well and good but our waders and instruments were of little use with the dangerous raging torrent before us. Our little brook was in a 1 in 100 year flood!
It’s not my intention here to confess how we managed to collect our data, but rather to highlight that a river undisciplined by banks is like a city without walls which is like a person who has no personal boundaries.
“A city broken down without walls, is a man without restraint over his spirit!” (Prov. 25:28 Young's Literal Translation). Personal boundaries set the basic rules and limits of how you want to be treated so that relationships are healthy, mutually respectful, safe, appropriate, and caring.
If we know what our limits are, then we are in the position to manage ourselves and say NO to things and to not accept everything that comes our way, whether that be requests to do something or to betreated poorly. Personal boundaries define your identity rather like the river banks define where the river should flow. They say what is you and what is not you. They say what you are good at, what you believe, what you need and what you think.
How did Jesus establish boundaries?
He knew His purpose and He knew His limits and He wasn’t afraid to state them. He didn’t over-extend Himself but withdrew when He needed time alone with God (Luke 5:15-16). He didn’t allow His mother and brothers to push Him around when He was busy ministering to people (Matt. 12:46-50). He refused to answer Herod when Herod contemptuously asked for proof that He was the Son of God (Luke 23:8-9). Jesus actually offended people when He spoke the truth, such as the Pharisees (Matt. 15:12) and even His disciples who stopped following Him (John 6:61-66).
From Jesus, then, we learn to be confident of who we are in Him and to “’Just say a simple, “Yes, I will,” or “No, I won’t.” Anything beyond this is from the evil one’”(Matthew 5:37 NIV). Walk within your boundaries and you will have control of your spirit.