If God is for us, who can be against us?
- Romans 8:31
I’ve seen and read this verse probably thousands of times, but as I opened my Bible app to find the verse image of the day, this verse grew new, deep roots into my soul. My husband and I started a Bible study together a few weeks ago. The objective of the study is to find a deeper meaning through God’s I Am statements. In the first video, Lysa TerKeurst says, “It’s no coincidence that you chose this study at this exact time.” Little did I know what God had in store…
Regardless of the fact the past 10 months have felt like a entire decade, the family medical issues we are facing have us feeling like this season of life is non-stop and never-ending. My husband and I both have past traumas that provoked us to set boundaries to ensure proper mental health maintenance. I’ve personally seen several psychiatrists and counselors over the past 7 years, all of whom told me healthy boundaries would be beneficial for me and my family. By creating healthy boundaries to protect myself, I protect my family from dealing with an unhealthy, worn out wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc.
While establishing healthy boundaries, sometimes it’s difficult to decipher between healthy and unhealthy. The line we draw in the sand that says, “I will stop here” can be washed away by the tide and we just keep building walls higher and higher. Then our healthy boundary turns into division. We start by protecting ourselves from an abusive relationship but end up spewing hate to everyone around us. The boundary we built to protect our own mental and/or physical health, has now resulted in no one wanting to be around us because we are always negative and anxiety ridden.
These instances don’t end with intentional boundaries though. We allow many things to build walls in our lives, whether its between ourselves and others or ourselves and God. Social media, political views, family disagreements, pride, anger, resentment… they all establish barriers that can go unrecognized, and, most of the time, are hard to tear down.
In one of my favorite worship songs, the Director of Ministries (and soon to be Senior Pastor) at my home church, Central Christian Church in Mt. Vernon, IL, Jon Henninger boldly pleads for God to destroy the barriers we build that divide and destroy our relationships.
The thing is, we need to be mindful of every boundary we build, especially the ones that divide us from others. God commands us to love and bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2-3). Meaning we shouldn’t purposefully divide ourselves from anyone else. Does that mean we should let people abuse us? No, it’s ok to cut ties with toxic people. But cutting ties with someone doesn’t mean you should run their name into the ground. That’s when a healthy boundary can go too far.
In one of the most well known passages of scripture, Paul writes “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV) In a recent sermon, our pastor’s message detailed how we should be loving because God first loved us… because God IS Love! If we go back and replace the word love with God in the passage above, we see this scripture in a much different aspect than what the world teaches us. This scripture has been read at nearly every wedding I’ve attended and is always taken in the context of a marriage, but Paul intends for us to apply it toward all relationships, not just our marriage. He says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV We are nothing without love, and since God is love, we are nothing without God.
All too often we blame others for causing havoc in our lives. We point fingers and demean and degrade to find satisfaction in retaliation, but our efforts are short lived because we can’t draw true satisfaction from anything earthly. So, in reality, by using boundaries to divide, we are defeating ourselves. We can’t build deep, meaningful relationships if we never allow anyone in. By allowing God to tear down these barriers of division, we aren’t destroying healthy boundaries, we are replacing them with God Himself. Opening up to God and trusting Him to be our boundary. We are making a conscious choice to set aside our own pride and trust that His provisions are best.
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 1:6 NIV
God is for you, so don’t stand against the plans and blessings He has in store for you. Surrender to His will and allow Him to tear down those walls so you can be love.
– Walking in Love by Faith & Finding the Blessings, Renee