Open Life/Setting Boundaries

Over the past few weeks in our Sunday morning Home Fellowship we’ve been looking at the early church in Acts 2 and how that impacts the way we “do church” now.  One of the defining characteristics of the early Jesus movement is they were committed to sharing their lives with each other- eating together, praying for each other, sacrificially serving one another.  SO a very counterintuitive, paradoxical principle came up in our discussion: to effectively open your life to others, you must also learn to effectively set boundaries. With seemingly limitless needs in the community, opportunities to serve, and potential relationships to invest in, this has proven a timely reminder.

I admit this principle sounds extremely contradictory, because isn’t creating boundaries the opposite of opening up and sharing your life? Not necessarily.  Let me put in another way.  To develop deep meaningful relationships with some people, you cannot possibly develop deep meaningful relationships with all people.  None of us have the time, energy, or relational capacity to do that.  Just take a look at Jesus.

As we read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we can see that multitudes (literally thousands) of people would gather to watch and listen to Jesus.  We can also see that out of these multitudes Jesus had a band of 70-120 people he referred to as disciples with whom He had a more committed relationship. Jesus had a closer knit familial relationship with His twelve apostles and some other close friends such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  Still even within that group, Jesus would often pull aside Peter, James, and John, who became His inner circle.  For some reason, Jesus made a deeper investment and had a qualitatively different relationship with those three guys.  Most importantly, Jesus made a habit of withdrawing from all these people to spend time with the Father.

In my own life I see this at work.  To say yes to personal time with God through the scriptures and prayer, I have to say no to other things- that’s creating a healthy boundary.  To say yes to spending time with my wife and son (and soon arriving daughter), I have to say no to spending time with other people.  To say yes to mentoring potential leaders, I cannot say yes to making that time for everyone.  To say yes to sacrificially serving some new friends God has placed in my life, I have to actually say no to other opportunities.  These are all healthy boundaries- not boundaries to limit God’s activity but to focus the time, energy, and resources He has entrusted to me.


3 thoughts on “Open Life/Setting Boundaries

  1. Kevin- you are speaking Truth. Gary and I just completed a study/book called “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
    A great study or stand alone book for all to read. Thank you for this reminder.
    God Bless You,Christin, Jude and arriving daughter abundantly more than you can think or imagine to the Glory of God.
    Please give of love and blessings to your family.
    Deneen, Gary, Kristin and Justin.


  2. Kevin

    Thank you again for such wonderful insight. Jesus, being temporal as a man/ human being did have boundaries – intentionally. The boundaries are a part of life to offer testimony and define. How do you spend your time? How you spend your time defines you. Who you spend your time with defines you.

    How would Christ like us to best spend our time? Jesus is a personality you’ll not encounter very often – or ever. He is very “matter-of-fact”, which is indicative of the Truth of the Gospel of Christ. In His “matter-of-fact{ness}” He is very defined and focused, and His focus speaks volumes about His character. He has indeed set boundaries while among us, in fact His very Word is about those same boundaries.

    Here’s a nice quite (a little off topic) I found that I kinda like:

    “Things you don’t get and will never get from an abuser: Love, respect, cooperation, compromise, dignity, peace, trust, honesty, and closure.” *

    It smacks of Truth.



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