What if we've missed the true point and focus of boundaries?
As Christians, or even those of us who just want to be "a good, moral person", we like to put boundaries on everything, right? Don’t watch R-rated movies… Don’t log on to this website… Don’t hang out with those people… Your clothing needs to at least cover this much… we can only spend x amount of time on social media. We could keep going and going and going.
We love to ask, “What?” What’s the boundary? What’s the furthest I can I go? What’s the line between good and bad?
We’re really focused on WHAT IS THE LINE??! Typically we stop there. But, when a Biblical boundary line is drawn, God never gives a WHAT without a WHY.
Here's what I mean…
We're going to read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. But, before we get there, we need to take a quick scan of the whole area around that verse. The whole first half of 1 Corinthians 6 is about refraining from sexual immorality. Many of us have heard that message preached before. “Boundary– refrain from sexual immorality.” We get it. I don’t need to give you that speech today. But, to set this up… we are hearing the author of this book, the apostle Paul, talk about the importance of our bodies and the boundaries God wants us to have with them.
Let’s just get this out there. Many of us have crossed boundaries, whether in this area or any other. We’ve broken rules. We are human and we’ve made mistakes. Our version of boundary setting can often make us feel like a total failure. We cross the line somewhere in life and we carry the heavy weight of guilt and shame as a result. However, God doesn’t look at the line and declare us good or bad because of where we stand.
Remember, God never gives a WHAT without a WHY. He doesn’t just want to tell us WHAT the boundary is. He wants us deeply to know WHY it exists. So, back to our point to unpack what it looks like to set boundaries God’s way in real time..
WHAT is the boundary line? Refrain from sexual immorality.
1 Cor. 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
WHY??? Our bodies are "temples of the Holy Spirit..” Y’all this is wild! Do you know what that says? Do you know what that means?
Check out this photo:
I'm not going to break this all down because it would be a novel in itself. We are smart Hermanas and I trust we can do our own research. To keep it short, this is a mock up of the temple where God’s people used to worship. I just want us right now to zoom in on the Holy of Holies. Yes, that little back room. That was the singular place God's presence would dwell and could only be entered into by the high priest.
You know what that means? You and I were out. We didn't get to experience God's presence like we do today. We couldn't just walk right into a church or turn worship music up in the car or start praying at night in our room and feel the very presence of God.
BUT JESUS did something wild. When he died on the cross, the curtain that guarded the Holy of Holies tore in two from top to bottom, exposing God's presence to the entire earth. Now, we get to walk right into the very throne room of God.
This is taken even a step further by Paul declaring our bodies as temples. Our very soul can now contain the Holy Spirit. Our hands and feet can do the work of God. THIS IS WHY!
We refrain from sexual immorality and care for our bodies because they are temples of the Holy Spirit. God's presence in us can perform miracles, change the atmosphere in a room, soften a heart, heal the hurting...
Isn't this so much different than the "just don't have sex before you're married" talk???
You see, we surrender our version of boundary setting for God’s because it takes us out of this mindset that says we need to play it safe or do x, y, and z to be a good person or Christian. When we look at this God’s way, we see that we have boundaries with our bodies because WE MATTER. Our bodies are temples. The Holy spirit dwells in us.
Let’s look at it this way and then we’re moving on. Let’s just keep it awkward and keep using physical boundaries as an example. If you’re trying to set boundaries in relationships your way, you might be phrasing the question like this, “How far is too far?” “Do I just need to leave room for Jesus?” “Maybe I just don’t kiss in the dark?” “Just no sex before marriage right?” When your emphasis is all on the boundary line, the main question you’re actually always asking is: “How close to the line can I get?” Here’s what happens. You actually gravitate toward that boundary line. You walk all the way up to it, getting as close as you can get. Then, what happens when you get one little shove? You cross it, right? It’s a bad tactic. Let it go. Try this instead.
Think about boundaries God’s way. We have to stop standing, staring at Biblically-based or personal boundaries declaring ourselves good or bad depending on what side of the line we’re standing on. Just take your stand somewhere, anywhere really, and start looking at Jesus.
Instead of wondering how close you can get to the line and get focused on how close you can get to Jesus.
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.