“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT)
In yesterday’s post we looked at some boundaries we need to set in terms of the people with whom we have contact whose negativity or gossip or other inappropriate comments about us or others drain and defile us and/or the Lord.
Today I’d like for us to look at the boundaries we put in place to protect ourselves physically, whether from a dating situation, extramarital relationship, or general safety as we face the potential for problems every day in the world in which we live.
The purpose of setting boundaries isn’t to be prudish or project a “holier than thou” kind of attitude, but to heighten our awareness that we must honor the Lord in EVERY area of our life. In a conversation I had with a young man who is in his late 30’s, he mentioned to me that he’d developed a relationship with a young woman online, that seemed to be going well. But when they met in person, she wanted to have sex with him, but he refused. His conviction as a believer demanded he wait until marriage to have sex, but that was so offensive to his “Christian” girlfriend, that she ended the relationship.
I applaud his conviction and wish it was shared more widely among believers, but the sad reality is, not having sex before marriage seems archaic in many people’s minds, and seems to be something “outdated” even among professing Christians. But the Bible leaves no doubt as to God’s view of sex, as illustrated by the verses above.
One problem seems to be a confusion between virginity and purity. As I’ve stated many times in these posts, virginity doesn’t equal purity, and vice versa. It’s God’s plan that we wait until marriage to have sex, but many haven’t followed that plan and find themselves in a difficult spot when they find out after the fact that they didn’t follow God’s desire in maintaining their virginity until marriage.
As a result, many assume since they’ve already lost their virginity, then it must be okay to continue to have sex outside of marriage. That’s where an understanding of purity comes in. Purity speaks, not only to our physical restraint from sex outside of marriage, it speaks to our heart’s desire to maintain purity of heart, mind, soul, and body.
How we behave (i.e. whether we have sex outside of marriage) issues from how we think. If we see no reason not to violate God’s will to engage in any behavior unbecoming to a person of God, we obviously see no reason to set boundaries in those areas. But if my heart beats with desire and determination to walk in holiness and purity before the Lord, then ANYTHING in my life that’s offensive to Jesus needs to become offensive to me.
That’s why we need to set boundaries in terms of what we view, what we listen to, and how we conduct our lives, inside and outside of marriage. Does what I allow my eyes to see cause me to desire closeness to the Lord, or does it lead my heart and mind away from Him? Similarly, does what I listen to (i.e. radio, internet, conversations, etc) lift my thoughts heavenward or shift them to darkness and wrong desires?
Every action we take is motivated by a thought or desire created by what we see or hear. Our eyes and ears are windows and doors to our mind, which governs every avenue of our behavior. What you think about comes about, so if you want your life to reflect the majesty and beauty of Jesus, you have to set boundaries on that to which you allow your eyes and ears to be exposed. That’s why reading and memorizing God’s Word, listening to godly music and teaching, and engaging regularly in conversations with godly people are invaluable in becoming more like Jesus.
Our boundaries shouldn’t be designed to make us unapproachable, but enable us to calculate the degree of exposure we allow in “dangerous” circumstances.
Blessings, Ed 😊