Kate Motoung, our #FiveMinuteFriday community host, recently wrote about the limitations God allows in our lives for our own good in How to See God’s Power When You are So Weak . In reflecting on what I could write about receiving God’s selfless (non-self-seeking) Love, I felt my heart return to the Scriptures Kate quoted from Job, about God placing “fixed limits” upon creation, giving each element its “fixed” boundary within which to operate.
And I felt God impress upon my heart, that He, just as parents do, places boundaries around His children to protect them and prepare and grow them for living bold lives of faith. But just like parents increasingly do with their children, He also allows us to cross these boundary lines, so that we can experience the consequences of stepping outside of His Protection. This then helps us better understand why the boundary lines have been fixed in the first place.
God’s Love, you see, is not “self-seeking”, precisely because He gives us the free will to discover life for ourselves. If He was “self-seeking”, He’d hide us away to stop us from getting hurt because just like a loving Mum and Dad, His heart breaks every time He watches us fall and get hurt.
So, how can we then receive this selfless Love of Christ? We can receive it just as little children do: by letting Him teach us where He has placed the boundary lines and by allowing the consequences of crossing these lines to open our eyes to our great need for His protective Love.
The Spirit and Word of God are our guide. They help us to discover the boundary lines for our lives and help us understand why God has set them around us in the first place. Some of the many boundary lines God has been opening my eyes to are the need:
- for regular rest, prescribed in His call to honour the Sabbath: for me this encompasses setting aside quiet time to pray, read the Bible, run in the forest, to slow throughout my day to listen for His voice, and to attend church on Sunday;
- to follow the leading of the Spirit in deciding what “good works” to do, rather than doing what I feel I “should” do, “want” to do (often to protect or even “fix” others) or “need” to do;
- to seek His face, rather than the love and approval of those around me, by resting in His adoption of me as His beloved daughter and the assurance of my righteousness through the sacrifice of Christ;
- to look His Truth in the eyes, a truth that says that I am weak – hurting, grieving, fearful, anxious and sinful – and He is strong and that I am in desperate need of His Love, Grace, Hope and Comfort;
- to confess my weaknesses and transgressions before Him, seeking His forgiveness, healing and restoration, by letting Him and His Body into my life, to carry the burdens I am not called to carry;
- to claim His Power to take captive the thoughts that are not of Him (throughts which belittle, cripple, frighten, steal hope etc.) and bend them to His Will;
- to keep seeking His Presence throughout my day, recognizing that as I draw close to Him, He promises to draw close to me. He has shown me that we can draw close to Him in worship (singing His Praises and thanking Him for the gifts He gives us), confessing our sins and weaknesses, accepting His invitations to commune with Him, by playing with my children, listening intently to my husband, following His nudges to pursue those He places around me in loving kindness…
- to place down stones of remembrance upon my path (in my writing and Scripture verses I place on my fridge), and revisit them, like the Israelites did, to stop me from leaning on my own understanding and weaknesses, and remind me of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.
I have often crossed or ignored these boundary lines to my own detriment. But each time, God has used both the consequences of this disobedience and His Word to teach me to lean more heavily into His Loving Embrace. Just recently, in following His nudges to prepare a book for publication, I leant into my own human weakness of fear and worshipping human approval, disobeying His call to confess it before Him. However, through Scripture, He drew me unto Himself in my overwhelmed state. He helped me to stand before Him as myself, to confess my weakness and my sin, and reminded me that He is in control. He turned me to a passage in Isaiah about His works not needing to be franchised, reminding me that the book I had written was His good work, not my own, and that He was already busily setting up support for its publication and promotion: He was just waiting for me to listen to His whispered instructions.
I’d love to hear about the boundary lines God has been opening your eyes and heart to and how the consequences of crossing them have impacted your life for the better.