Boundaries and the Christ-Controlled Life

I woke up at 6am today, with the pulse-oximeter alarm going off in our special needs son David’s room. He has drops in his oxygen level and changes in heart rate that require monitoring using an oximeter, and when his numbers go outside the pre-set boundaries an alarm sounds. It doesn’t mean he is in grave danger, but it is an indication he needs to be checked and possibly some treatment done. This morning he simply needed some oral suctioning – he was sound asleep with his mouth open and saliva was blocking his airway.

After taking care of this routine care of our son, something I’m well acquainted with during the hours when he doesn’t have nursing care, I sensed God speaking to my spirit. “Setting boundaries is necessary for David’s physical health and for your spiritual health.”

I have heard of the concept of establishing boundaries in Christian circles for many years, but during the last year it has become a daily part of my life through Taste For Truth, a Christian weight loss program I’ve been following. This program does not recommend a specific diet to follow, that is between you and God. Instead, it has two main emphases, renewing your mind to replace the lies you are believing with the truth of God’s Word, and prayerfully setting boundaries concerning eating and exercise. Through these two principles, an area of my life that has been a lifelong struggle is coming under God’s control.

But boundaries are needed in more than just eating. Any area that needs to come under God’s control in our lives requires these same two steps of renewing our mind and setting boundaries. This applies to our thoughts, words, actions, relationships, how we use our time and how we spend our money. Without renewing our minds to know what God says in His Word about each of these areas and then setting boundaries we will follow, change won’t consistently happen. These two principles are our part in being conformed to the image of Christ.

Boundaries alone do not result in change, but when we renew our minds according to the Word of God and yield our lives to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who lives within every person who has acknowledged Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, transformation will come. It may not be overnight, but if we do our part in the transformation process it will result in change.

So what exactly are boundaries, and how do we set them? A boundary is something that indicates a border or a limit. With property, it may be marked by a fence that indicates the end of one piece of property and the beginning of another. Biblically speaking, boundaries are related to self-control. For example, as I set my boundaries in Taste For Truth, they limited how many calories I would eat per day and how many days per week I would exercise. With managing money, a budget sets boundaries concerning how we will spend our income. Relationship boundaries might include separating yourself from people who pull you down or ridicule your faith.

So how do we go about setting and keeping within wise boundaries? First, seek God’s will by praying about the area where you recognize a need to set boundaries. See what God has to say about the issue in His Word. Consider the consequences of failing to set boundaries in this area, and make a decision. Trust God to lead you and empower you to change this area of your life. For me concerning weight loss, having an accountability partner was also helpful, someone I could contact for encouragement when I was struggling.

Boundaries have been a part of life on earth since shortly after creation. The first boundary given to man mentioned in Scripture is in the second chapter of Genesis. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’ ” (Genesis‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭NIV). ‬‬Living within this boundary would have brought Adam and Eve and their descendants blessing, but unfortunately they chose instead to overstep the one boundary God had given and as a result sin entered this world. Boundaries are an effective way to limit destructive behaviors and take personal responsibility for our lives. They are a key to overcoming besetting sins and learning to walk in freedom from bondage. Are there some boundaries God is calling you to set?

8 thoughts on “Boundaries and the Christ-Controlled Life

  1. Thank you for sharing this message. God has been speaking to me a lot about boundaries for the past month or so. I know I need them, especially with trying to lose weight, knowing my limitations as to what I can and cannot do, etc. God spoke to me again through your post. I pray God will bless you abundantly as you continue to serve him and live within the boundaries you have set for yourself. Prayers for you and your beautiful family xx

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    • Tanya, God has been speaking to my heart that I needed to share from the overflow of what God is doing in my life. And boundaries are a definite area where He has been working. I would recommend the Christian weight loss group I mentioned in the article if this is an area you’re needing to work on. It’s a Facebook Group, similar to God-Living Girls, but focused on bringing our eating under God’s control. It’s set up in a way that gives daily accountability. We are on our last week of the current Bible study, but it woud be a good time to check it out and read some posts to see if it would be helpful. The lady who leads the group lives in London and she’s my accountability partner and a dear friend. Thanks for your prayers.

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  2. Thanks Barbara. I’m learning to set boundaries on my spending on books. I have been accountable by setting limits and keeping records of my spending. It has helped and it has also shown me how easy it is to spend more than I realise. Setting boundaries has really opened my eyes. We did a Bible study on boundary setting several years ago which was very helpful. Hugs and prayers from Down Under.

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  3. Boundaries are so important and I love how you point out that it’s not just about changing our behaviour but renewing our minds. I have been working on setting boundaries about time lately and learning when to say no.

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  4. Leslie, that’s one of the most important truths about setting boundaries. If our boundaries don’t line up with the truths of God’s Word, setting them will be a useless activity as far as boundaries being a means of spiritual growth. Managing my time has also been one of my biggest challenges.

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