It seems boundaries can often be thought of with a negative connotation especially by kids, not to mention, adult children! Boundaries can be seen as restricting us, keeping us from whatever we might want to do. That is often because what is outside the boundary may be fun or pleasurable, especially as defined by the world or the culture. Researchers have found that on playgrounds without fences, the children tended to gather around the teacher, and were reluctant to stray far from her view. The researchers concluded that with a boundary, in this case a fence, children felt more at ease to explore the space. (Maya King).

Jesus loves to take what the world thinks and turn it upside down. In reality, whether we realize it or not, we love boundaries! They make us safe, give us joy, and allow things, short or long term, to go well with us. God’s commands in the Bible lovingly give boundaries for what is best for our joy, happiness and goodness. Many times, the Bible says that God gives us these commands so that it will go well with us. And in the Bible, eight times, including Jesus, himself, says that God gave these commands so that we may have joy. As in John 15:11, Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” In John 15:10, Jesus says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” God says, if we have the boundary of following God’s commands, we will have joy and love.

Instead of restricting us (as we might think) boundaries actually set us free. Free from consequences, free by preventing lifelong tragedy, free in spirit. As Psalm 119:32 says “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Jesus says at the start of his ministry in Luke 4:18 that he came to release the prisoners from sin. We are set free. In my NIV Bible entitled Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit (Advocate), Jesus says,  “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—” John 14:15-16.

Notice how keeping the commands allows the Holy Spirit in. Sin (or disobeying) blocks God in areas of your life, so keeping that boundary to follow God’s commands opens up the way for the Holy Spirit to come in. The Holy Spirit brings the fruit of “love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. This is the fruit needed for every situation that sets our heart free!

Enjoying the boundaries with you,

Natalie Jones

Founder & President

Parent Compass