We, by design of our Creator, are built to function with parameters.
Think about it. Everything created is given borders, and when those boundaries are breached, there is devastation. The sea has its limits; outside these limits is a potential tsunami. Countries about the world are maintained using borders, and breaching them is an invasion that can lead to war. Our very own skin is a frame of containment. Like everything else in this world, we function best within our God-directed boundaries.
Count your personal restrictions. Are they the very things you resist and struggle against? Oddly enough, my most restrictive limits have released the most fragrant life. Included in my list are being an only child and my call to singleness. My level of opposition to these has been huge. It took years of surrender and yielding to get to the place where I had simple concession. But I have not only embraced them with a wholehearted yes, they now make me rich.
I have a hero of the faith who, with his whole being, seized his God-given boundaries. Other than Christ Himself, John the Baptist exemplifies this the most to me. He was a rarity who knew his limits and somehow made friends with them.
John’s embrace of God’s constrictions didn’t confine him
but instead catapulted him into the heavenlies.
He might have felt like a prisoner in the wilderness, an incomplete man without family or home. He was abused by the questioning religious authorities, who probably served as priests with his father, Zachariah (Luke 1:5-25). His very own friends and disciples left him for another; “He must be greater, I must be lesser.” His clothes, his food, his daily activity – all were confined within limits that some of us would feel were abusive. However his God narrowed his path and John shone as a result.
Jesus said of him, “I assure you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.” He was the pinnacle of the Old Testament prophet and a pivot into a new era. And without the full embrace of his God-imposed restrictions, he would have been just another voice in the wilderness. Instead John was The Voice of One Calling in the Wilderness, making straight the way for the Eternal Bridegroom.
If I view my life through my restrictive walls, limiting confinements and controlling borders, I will see it as a punitive demand. But as I embrace them, they will become the focusing Force to hone, refine, define and liberate me from the superfluous actions that will amount to nothing.
Are my limits simply here to save me from wasting what I was given? Is it a directing nudge to keep me from making mounds of wood, hay and stubble? Is it the very saving of my destiny for the day of God’s accounting? God will have to be the judge. But I will defend against myself that I am not imprisoned by boundaries. I am empowered by them!
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.