As children we hate boundaries. We want to do all the things that our parents tell us not to do. It is in our nature to rebel. We are born with the need to go our own way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change much as we age and don’t have those parental rules to follow. We are on our own, or so we think. We often ignore our conscience–that still, small voice that tells us when we have stepped over the boundaries God has placed. According to most of society, there is no right or wrong, no black or white, only grey areas with no real reason to feel guilt or remorse but as Christ followers we know that this is untrue.
Recently I stood on the beach in North Carolina, marveling at the vastness of the sea, hearing the calling of the birds and watching the waves roll in over the sand.
God’s mighty power was evident, his creation so beautiful that I had to twirl around in joy. My daughter and granddaughter joined me, and we laughed like little girls. It was glorious!
God was responding to Job’s questions in Chapter 38:10-11 when he spoke of the boundaries he placed on the sea: “When I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt,” I was filled with awe knowing those waves go on and on, day after day, year after year, yet the water stops at the shoreline. Well, most of the time. Just a week before we were in North Carolina, Hurricane Ian had passed through on the east coast. Sunset Beach wasn’t affected much but other parts of the Carolinas, and especially Florida, were devastated by the storm. Lives were lost and billions in property destroyed. The boundary God placed on the ocean was pushed away by the wind and waves.
Some would say that God caused it or at least allowed it to happen. I don’t have the answer but prefer to think that this fallen world, and its turmoil, causes these things to happen. The Earth is out of sync and groans for God to put things right.
It is very similar for us. We live in a fallen world that ignores the boundaries set up by God. Boundaries that are good and just. Boundaries that are for our benefit. When we don’t adhere to them, like a hurricane, we wreak havoc on our lives and on those who love us.
We were made to live inside the will of God, yet we continually push against him in our need to go our own way. Foolishly, we think we know better than the one who created us. They may not come as swiftly as the waves crashing over the shoreline, but anytime we walk in rebellion of God’s laws there are repercussions.
During the years of our addictions, my husband Mike and I, though we knew Jesus and had been saved by his work on the cross, we still pushed against the life he had for us and decided to go our own way–almost destroying our lives and our family in the process. Until our arrest and my husband’s incarceration, we were traveling down a path of destruction.
Our lives revolved around finding drugs and using drugs. Getting arrested was the worst thing that ever happened to us, yet it was what saved us. I know God intervened. He drew us back to him in that terrible time and began to rebuild our lives.
A lot like the victims of the hurricane, we cleaned up, rebuilt, and lived life again. God did that for us, restoring what the enemy had stolen. I think back on that time with such a feeling of gratitude. God is so faithful even when we aren’t. It wasn’t an easy process. Because we crossed the boundaries God set, we had to face the consequences. Legal problems, years of probation for me and loss of freedom for Mike. He faced a very long sentence in prison but by God’s grace, spent less than a year in D.O.C. custody. That separation seemed like forever to us. (Especially to Mike.) It was painful for our whole family. Our children missed their dad and I know Mike’s mom and dad suffered knowing their baby boy was locked up. Stepping out of God’s will hurt us all.
God’s laws are for our own good–everything he asks of us is for our good. He is our Father, loving us through our rebellion, welcoming us back when we return, yet that doesn’t negate the consequences we face, be it physical, spiritual, financial, or legal.
God also sets boundaries for our thought life. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”
Although there are consequences we may face, God does not want us to dwell on our past mistakes. His mercy is new every morning. His love never wavers. When we allow regret and guilt to fill our thoughts, it only serves the enemy. He is the accuser. He is the one who condemns, not God. I wallowed around in my guilt and regret for years. What a waste of time! My past is covered. I finally let it go. I hope and pray that you will let your past go as well. Let’s think about God’s faithfulness and grace. His goodness and mercy. His forgiveness in our weakness. Let’s be thankful for his boundaries. God set them in place, not to hold us back, but because of his great love for us. God is good and his laws are perfect. Let’s think on these things.